11 July 2019
Euthanasia

A concrete proposal

Statement of the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life in relation to the Vincent Lambert affair

Vincent Lambert has died. It is time, more than ever, to pray. He was deprived of any human chance of survival when he could have been supported. As we read in the Holy Father's tweet on Wednesday 10 July, when we have a patient who is not dying but who is sick and in a stable clinical condition, medicine would, by definition, be required to serve life, not take it away. However, following this latest dramatic episode in which the world has once again been stunned by the inexplicably relentless suppression of innocent and fragile human life, praying is not the only thing we can do. There is another aspect on which we urgently need to seriously and responsibly reflect. Behind these senseless events there is not only the inability to discern the true human good, but there is a consistent demand for public legitimisation of choices made against life which are implemented through ad hoc laws and judicial decisions. They introduce an ever-increasing number of exceptions to the fundamental legal principle of the protection of human life. Grave, dangerous and repeated exceptions, which rapidly become normal and definitively distort the sense of justice and the function of law.

The law serves to safeguard human co-existence, our being in the world side by side, whatever our condition, in health or illness, frailty or incapacity. In any society, law is designed to protect life and not to deny or violate it. That is why it is never lawful to induce death. For this reason, the inviolability of every human life is a universal, secular, objective juridical principle, an insuppressible good that no one must think of violating. It is now urgent, at an international level, to launch a serious and authoritative reflection on what is happening in the name of a right that distorts the inter-relational dimension of human beings. We must commit ourselves to making it a just right again. An authentic right. And we must do so immediately.