Vatican and Israeli Chief Rabbinate preparing joint statement against euthanasia
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Vatican and Israeli Chief Rabbinate preparing joint statement against euthanasia

Representatives gather for 16th Bilateral Commission to discuss matters of human dignity ‘with special reference to the child’ in Jewish and Catholic teaching

Pope Francis celebrates a mass in St. Peter basilica at the Vatican, November 18, 2018. (Andrew Medichini/AP)
Pope Francis celebrates a mass in St. Peter basilica at the Vatican, November 18, 2018. (Andrew Medichini/AP)

ROME, Italy – The Vatican and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate are preparing a joint statement against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The issue was discussed at a meeting at the Vatican of the Bilateral Commission joining delegations from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism.

The meeting on November 16-18 was the 16th meeting of the Bilateral Commission. Its main theme was “human dignity with special reference to the child” in Jewish and Catholic teaching.

Members of the Bilateral Commission had a private audience with Pope Francis, according to a joint statement issued Thursday.

“At this meeting, the Pope welcomed the information provided to him regarding a draft interreligious position-paper on end-of-life matters with particular reference to the dangers of legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide instead of providing palliative care and maximal respect for God-given life,” the statement said.

This subject has been a topic of discussion by the Bilateral Commission for years. At a Commission meeting in 2006, participants specifically condemned euthanasia, calling it an “illegitimate human arrogation of an exclusive divine authority to determine the time of a person’s death.”

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