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Requesting suicide isn’t freedom and assisting it isn’t compassion, says pope

pope Francis
ALESSANDRA TARANTINO | POOL | AFP
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Francis again reiterates that euthanasia and assisted suicide are not health care, and fail to truly accompany the patient as a whole person

Pope Francis urged a group of doctors to “reject the temptation” of assisted suicide and euthanasia, even as certain local and state governments are pushing for it.

The pope warned that euthanizing a patient, or assisting him or her to commit suicide, are “hurried ways of dealing with choices that are not, as they might seem, an expression of the person’s freedom, when they include as a possibility the discarding of the patient, or false compassion in the face of a request to be helped to bring death ahead of time.”

Francis explained that the antidote to such temptations is a true vision of the human person.

He said we must always remember that illness “is more than a clinical fact,” something that is restricted just to medicine.

It is always the condition of a person, the sick person, and it is with this entirely human vision that doctors are called to relate to the patient: considering therefore his uniqueness as a person who has an illness, and not only a case of whatever illness that patient has.

The Holy Father said that doctors, then, must have not only technical and professional know-how, but also a code of values and principles “to give meaning to the disease and to their work, and to make each individual clinical case a human encounter.”

The pope said that in our changing society, “it is important that the doctor does not lose sight of the uniqueness of each patient, with his dignity and his fragility. A man or a woman to be accompanied with conscience, intelligence, and heart, especially in the most serious situations.”

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