An essay in the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica, giving cautious support to a bill that would decriminalize assisted suicide in Italy, has drawn a rebuke from a coalition of pro-life organizations.
The essay, by Father Carlo Casalone, SJ, a theologian at the Gregorian University, argues that pending legislation, “albeit imperfect and itself problematic,” would be preferable to a proposed referendum that would allow assisted suicide without safeguards to protect the vulnerable. The bill currently being debated, which could come to a vote next month, would retain some provisions against euthanasia in cases involving young people or others who could not give informed consent.
The pro-life groups observed that it is “surprising” to find any argument for assisted-suicide legislation in an authoritative Catholic journal. “The protection of life and the support of those who suffer is a battle of reason and civilization,” they argued.
Civilta Cattolica is widely regarded as a semi-official Vatican publication, since its articles are approved in advance by the Secretariat of State.