French bishops condemn Macron’s assisted suicide bill — By: Catholic News Agency

French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting with Governor of Spain at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris on March 21, 2022. / Credit: Victor Velter|Shutterstock

CNA Staff, Mar 15, 2024 / 13:30 pm (CNA).

Several French Catholic bishops this week roundly condemned a recently announced proposal by the country’s government to legalize the practice of assisted suicide.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that the French Parliament in May would examine a proposal to legalize “aid-in-dying” throughout the country. Macron in an interview with the Catholic newspaper La Croix described the measure as “a law of fraternity” that “reconciles the autonomy of the individual and the solidarity of the nation.”

The law “opens the possibility of asking for help in dying under certain strict conditions,” the president said. 

Reims Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort condemned the president’s proposal in an interview with La Croix.

“Calling a text that opens the door to both assisted suicide and euthanasia a ‘law of fraternity’ is a deception,” the archbishop told La Croix. “Such a law, whatever one may desire, will shift our entire health care system toward death as a solution.”

Tours Archbishop Vincent Jordy likewise criticized Macron’s description of the proposed law, arguing that fraternity “means taking care of others, it means supporting them until the end, especially when they are weak and fragile.” 

The bishop told the Catholic weekly Famille Chrétienne that “despite the use of terminology which avoids the terms euthanasia and assisted suicide,” the proposal risks bringing about those practices.

In a statement posted to X, meanwhile, Lille Archbishop Laurent Le Boulc’h warned that assisted suicide could hasten the death of individuals who see themselves as burdens upon others. 

“Does it not risk further increasing the depressed character of our society in loss of hope?” he wrote. “Does it not risk weakening so many people who see themselves as a weight that has become unbearable for those around them?”

Macron in describing the proposal said that individuals seeking assisted suicide “will have to be capable of full discernment” before being permitted to undergo it. 

Patients “with psychiatric diseases or neurodegenerative diseases that alter discernment, such as Alzheimer’s,” will not be offered help in killing themselves, he said. 

The president urged those who disagree over the proposal to nevertheless “have a debate at the right level.” 

“The nature of the subject is intimidating enough for respect to set in, even between people who are in deep disagreement,” he argued. 

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