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End of Life Issues

Euthanasia or "Physician Assisted Suicide" threatens the dignity of many of the poor elderly, the disabled and those without adequate health insurance. Catholic social teaching affirms the right of persons not to use extraordinary means to prolong life and, at the same time, rejects active, intentional taking of human life.

Embracing Our Dying: The Theological Vision of Life & Death

"The Catholic health care ministry faces the reality of death with the confidence of faith. In the face of death—for many, a time when hope seems lost—the church witnesses to her belief that God has created each person for eternal life... The truth that life is a precious gift from God has profound implications for the question of stewardship over human life. We are not the owners of our lives and, hence, do not have absolute power over life. We have a duty to preserve our life and to use for the glory of God, but the duty to preserve our life and to use it for the glory of God, but the duty to preserve life is not absolute..."
ERD Part Five, Introduction

"All human beings must live their lives in accordance with God's plan. Life is given to them as a possession which must bear fruit here on earth but which must wait for eternal life to achieve its full and absolute perfection."
Euthanasia, CDF, 1980.

If those who are dying are embraced by their family and their community, they will not seek death, but will live their last days well, and then accept death when it comes.


Advance Health Care Directive (English)
Advance Health Care Directive (Spanish) - Information purposes only; signed copy must be in English


Protecting Yourself Against California's Assisted Suicide Law - Catholic San Francisco
Assisted Suicide: A Catholic Perspective - Catholic San Francisco
The Good and Bad in End-of-Life Planning - Catholic San Francisco
End-of-Life Decisions - Catholic San Francisco


Catholic End-of-Life Teaching - California Catholic Conference of Bishops
End-of-Life: Legal and Policy Issues - California Catholic Conference of Bishops
End-of-Life Resource List - US Conference of Catholic Bishops
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