Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS)

The Church specifically opposes Physician-Assisted Suicide because it seeks to legalize the intentional taking of human life; this deliberate activity violates the most basic tenet of our belief in the sacredness of life, and simultaneously poses many dangers to vulnerable populations.  A truly caring community devotes more attention and support to members facing the most vulnerable times in their lives; when the sick, elderly, and vulnerable are tempted to see their lives as less valuable, they most need the love and assistance of others to assure them of their worth.

Respect for life does not demand that we attempt to prolong life by using medical treatments that are ineffective or unduly burdensome.  Nor does it mean we should deprive suffering patients of needed pain medications out of a misplaced or exaggerated fear that they might have the side effect of shortening life.  Instead, it demands that we respect life as a gift by not actively seeking an artificial means to end it.

The Maryland Catholic Conference works to oppose policies that promote or encourage euthanasia and assisted suicide, and supports efforts to provide compassionate, ethical care to the elderly and ill; to support these goals, the Maryland Catholic Conference has partnered with other concerned organizations under the Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide Coalition. 

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“As explicitly formulated, the precept “You shall not  kill” is strongly negative: it indicates the extreme limit which can never be  exceeded. Implicitly, however, it encourages a positive attitude of absolute respect for life; it leads to the promotion of life and to progress along the  way of a love which gives, receives and serves.” – The Gospel of Life

Other PAS Materials

Comfort and Consolation 

To read the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Statement To Live Each Day with Dignity, click here.

To read the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Declaration on Euthanasia, click here. In Spanish.

To read a fact sheet on Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Beyond Terminal Illness, click here.