Pope: Euthanasia is triumph of selfishness, not act of compassion

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Growing
acceptance of euthanasia does not indicate increased compassion, but highlights
the rise of a selfish “throwaway culture” that casts aside the sick,
the dying and those who do not satisfy the perceived requirements of a healthy
life, Pope Francis said.

In
a culture that is increasingly “technological and individualistic,” some
tend to “hide behind alleged compassion to justify killing a patient,”
the pope told health professionals from Spain and Latin America June 9.

“True
compassion does not marginalize, humiliate or exclude, much less celebrate a
patient passing away,”
the pope said. “You know well that would mean the triumph of
selfishness, of that ‘throwaway culture’ that rejects and despises people who
do not meet certain standards of health, beauty or usefulness.”

Thanking doctors who care
for “those who suffer in body and spirit,” Pope Francis insisted physicians’ identity as doctors
does not depend solely on their knowledge or competence, but mainly on their
compassion and mercy toward the sick.

“Compassion does not mean pity, it means
‘suffering with,'” the pope said. When physicians share in the suffering of their
patients, he added, the “sacred value of the life of the patient does not
disappear or become obscured.”

Pope Francis reminded the medical professionals
of the biblical tradition of health care, citing the example of the good
Samaritan “who does not pass by the injured person at the roadside, but
rather moved by compassion, cures and attends to him.”

“The Christian medical tradition has always
been inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan, the pope said. It is about identifying with
the love of the son
of God, who ‘went
about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was
with him.'”

However, he said, care for the sick requires
patience, and doctors must not give in to “the functionalist
temptation” of applying quick solutions that are motivated by “false
compassion” or cost-efficiency.

“The dignity of human life is at stake; the
dignity of the medical vocation is at stake,” the pope said. “Nothing
must prevent you from ‘putting more heart into your hands.'”

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Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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