Pastoral care and accompaniment for people who request euthanasia or assisted suicide
Summary: I. The refusing parish priest. II. Pastoral aspects. III. Ethical guidelines. 1. Administering the sacraments to people who intend to die by euthanasia
or assisted suicide. 2. The request for an ecclesiastical funeral or other rite for
someone who will die or has died by assisted suicide or euthanasia.
The article analyzes the genesis and application of some guidelines drafted by
several Bishops’ Conferences concerning the pastoral accompaniment of people
who request euthanasia or assisted suicide. Conversations with the patient and
his or her family, administration of the sacraments, and funeral services are some
of the topics addressed in these guidelines. The letter Samaritanus bonus from
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responds to the need to give
guidelines for those nations that do not yet have them and to unify the sometimes
discordant criteria, although it still leaves some questions open.