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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What is the teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter of "Physician assisted suicide."

A. 1. The Catholic Church condemns all forms of suicide assistance. Such is viewed as murder.

Physicians and caregivers have an obligation (i) to maintain life and (ii) to relieve pain.

Many of those who support physician assisted suicide, it is because they fear a long painful dying process. For this reason, health-care providers are obligated to make every effort to ensure that the available medications to eliminate or control pain are provided to a patient. If the dying can die in peace, they will not seek assisted suicide.

In the administration of pain controlling or relieving drugs, sometimes such drugs may hasten death. In such cases, the intention of the physician is not to kill the patient, but rather to relieve the pain effectively with whatever medicine may be available at the time. In such a situation, the actions of the physician cannot be viewed as "physician assisted suicide."

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