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Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia (CNS/Paul Haring)

The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life says public debate on end-of-life issues seems more widespread every time states and nations consider new laws dealing with bioethics and because of social media. Source: CNS.

The increased participation of individuals and groups in those debates is to be welcomed because facing the final stages of life is an important topic that affects everyone, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia has written in the introduction of a new booklet from the papal academy.

However, precisely because the debate has spread so widely, there are often errors, confusion and gaps in people’s understanding of some end-of-life terminology, which can then hamper constructive discussion and resolutions, he wrote. 

That is why the academy decided to create a short “lexicon” of important terms used in many end-of-life discussions to help Catholics better navigate an often complex debate.

Written by a group of members of the academy, the 80-page booklet homes in on 22 terms, providing: easy-to-understand, accurate definitions based on the latest science; the theology behind the Church’s position on end-to-life issues; a look at the evolution of church teaching on the matter; and current Italian law regarding end-of-life issues. 

Published only in Italian, it was released by the Vatican publishing house on Tuesday. 

The academy distributed the booklet to every bishop in Italy, telling them it was especially suited for priests, deacons, religious and those working or consulting in the healthcare field. 

The goal of the lexicon, Archbishop Paglia wrote, is to clear through “the jungle of intricate issues” and present a clear, correct usage of the terminology so that those interested in end-of-life discussions can have a common ground of shared meaning before embarking on the more difficult task of understanding others’ different positions and objectives. 


Words matter: Vatican publishes ‘lexicon’ on end-of-life issues to aid debate (CNS)