Comfort and Consolation: Care of the Sick and Dying

Pastoral Letter on End-of-Life Care from the Bishops of Maryland

Newly Released for November 2014

Whether death comes unexpectedly or at the end of a long and full life, it is important for us to consider not only the spiritual dimension of death, but to think in a very practical way about how we would want the circumstances of our death to reflect our deepest beliefs. 

Given the extraordinary advances in modern medicine, not only do we live longer, but even at the end stages of life, we often have available the means to prolong life far beyond what would have been possible in past generations.  What should we do?  When do we let go?

The Bishops of Maryland have revised and reissued their seminal 2007 pastoral letter, Comfort and Consolation – Care of the Sick and Dying, to help parishioners begin conversations with loved ones on end-of-life issues and to re-focus attention on foundational principles of the Church’s approach to the care of the sick and dying.

This booklet helps Catholics think through the often difficult questions that arise in times of grave illness and impending death. Developed in light of Catholic teachings and in accord with Maryland law on advance directives, Comfort and Consolation includes a practical advance directive form, the Catholic Declaration on Health Care Decision Making, that Catholics can use to tell health care providers how they wish to direct their care. It covers spiritual support, nutrition and hydration, pain-relieving medication, terminal illness and pregnancy.

In addition to the booklet, two new supplementary brochures have been developed:

  • A Summary Q&A - outlines the main points of Comfort and Consolation
  • A Legal Guide - provides practical advices for completing an advance directive that properly reflects Catholic principles and that also includes the Catholic Declaration on Health Care Decision Making

Order your copies today

Here is an order form for the Comfort and Consolation booklet and for the two brochures.  Print and fill this out or share the order form with your parish, law firm or organization.

Legislative Overview

A booklet describing Maryland Catholic Conference's public policy advocacy and its 2016 legislative agenda.

Maryland Catholic Conference Legislative Overview 2016

Legislative Handbook

A handbook providing contact information for Maryland's lawmakers and their committee assignments and identifying different ways to make your voices heard in the public square.

Maryland Catholic Conference 2016 Legislative Handbook (coming soon)

The Most Sacred of All Property

Religious Freedom and the People of Maryland

A Statement from the Catholic Bishops of Maryland

The work of the Maryland Catholic Conference to advance the public policy interests of the Catholic Church in Maryland is made possible by the foundation laid by our Catholic forebears as early as the 16th century. We are indebted to them for their efforts, so often frustrated, to secure religious and political freedom for Catholics in Maryland.

Click here for an interactive PDF of Religious Freedom and the People of Maryland: A Statement from the Catholic Bishops of Maryland. This 12-page statement is signed by Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop O'Brien and Bishop Malooly. Read the full text of the statement here in a static PDF and in Spanish.

Because We Are Catholic

The Catholic Church in Maryland serves and advocates for the poor, vulnerable and those in need not because they are Catholic, but because we are Catholic.

During the General Assembly's legislative session, the Conference sends regular messages on the good works of the Church, its ministries and everyday Catholics.