Physician-Assisted Suicide

With regard to the topic of care for the dying, the basic principles of Catholic teaching are often misunderstood.  Because the Church opposes both euthanasia and assisted suicide, it is often said that we believe that all possible measures should be used to keep individuals alive.  This is decidedly not the case.  Individuals and caregivers have a responsibility to preserve human life through care and medical science.  However, this responsibility has moral limits.  Extraordinary means that may not alleviate the underlying condition and may excessively burden the patient are not obligatory.  Moral decisions about the extent of care should be made in terms of the benefit that may be offered and the burdens that may be imposed, assisted by the medical professional's judgments and a person's sense of what is appropriate.


Conference Legislative Action

See MCC Testimony opposing legislation to legalize physician assisted suicide (pdf), September, 2017

See MCC Testimonoy opposing Legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide, (pdf), December 2013. 

See one-page document pointing out the obvious flaws in the petition to legalize physician-assisted suicide,(pdf) May 2012.  

See MCC Testimony Opposing Legislation to Legalize Physician Assited Suicide, (pdf) March 2012. 

See Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley's Red Mass Homily (pdf) on Physician Assisted Suicide, September, 2011. 


See MCC Testimony Opposing Legislation to Legalize Physician Assisted Suicide, (pdf) February, 2010.


See Massachusetts Council of Churches Statement Against Assisted Suicide, (pdf) March, 2001. 


See Bishop O'Malley's (Fall River) Pastoral Letter, For the Love of Life (Abortion and Euthanasia), (pdf) November, 2000.


See Statement Regarding the World Conference on Assisted Dying, (pdf) September, 2000. 


See MCC Statement (pdf) on Oregon Referendum on Assisted Suicide, November, 1997.   


See Bishops' Joint Statement (pdf) on Physician Assisted Suicide Legislation, April, 1995


See MCC Testimony on "Living Will" Legislation, (pdf) March, 1982.