Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said he was not surprised the Queensland Government has announced a parliamentary inquiry into euthanasia. Source: The Catholic Leader.
Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk announced on November 14 that a parliamentary committee would hold hearings over the next year to determine the desirability of a voluntary assisted suicide legislation, and would report its conclusion to the legislative assembly by November 30, 2019.
The probe will also review the Victorian Government’s inquiry into the end-of-life choices, including the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act (2017).
“My hope is that this will be a genuine inquiry rather than political window-dressing,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“Like abortion, euthanasia is an area where the language is notoriously slippery, so the inquiry will need to scrutinise the language carefully.
“It will also need to consider the fateful implications of legislating in favour of assisted suicide – not least at a time when suicide rates, especially among the young, are of great concern in this country. Does it help at such a time for the law to say that assisted suicide is an acceptable option?
“We all agree that compassion for the dying is crucial and that everyone has the right to die with dignity.
“But compassion and dignity don’t mean legislating for assisted suicide. In fact they mean the opposite.”
Archbishop Coleridge said the Church would not engage the issue as a lobbyist or activist, but precisely as the Church, “armed not with an ideology but with the power of the Gospel of life”.
“And we will do so not just in defence of our massive presence in health and aged care but out of concern for society as a whole, because euthanasia, like abortion, goes to the heart of what kind of society we choose to be,” he said.
Queensland Bioethics Centre director David Kirchhoffer said the act provided Catholic health care providers with an opportunity to demonstrate why they provide excellence in end-of-life care.
“If we claim that the palliative care services that we provide are superior to opting for voluntary assisted dying then we should be able to demonstrate that,” Dr Kirchhoffer said.
Queensland government orders inquiry into end-of-life care including euthanasia (The Catholic Leader)