'The right-to-die movement is a sin against God and creation,' says Pope Francis

Pope Francis addressed about 4,000 Italian Catholic doctors in Vatican City

Lamiat Sabin
Monday 17 November 2014 10:55 GMT

Pope Francis spoke out against assisted suicide as a "false sense of compassion" for those who choose to end their lives while suffering incurable diseases and unbearable chronic pain.

The head of the Roman Catholic church said the right-to-die movement is "a sin against God and creation" in a speech in front of an audience from the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors in Vatican City on Saturday.

Pope Francis also condemned abortion, in-vitro fertilisation as "the scientific production of a child" and embryonic stem cell research as "using human beings as laboratory experiments to presumably save others."

He also urged the doctors - around 4,000 in attendance - to continue working in "courageous and against-the-grain" ways to discuss with patients how to deal with modern "throw-away culture" that he believes encourages only looking after people or objects if they are economically or visually beneficial to society.

He said, as reported by Zenit in a translation by Vatican Radio: "In many places, the quality of life is related primarily to economic means, to "well-being", to the beauty and enjoyment of the physical, forgetting other more profound dimensions of existence — interpersonal, spiritual and religious.

"In fact, in the light of faith and right reason, human life is always sacred and always "of quality". There is no human life that is more sacred than another - every human life is sacred - just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another, only by virtue of resources, rights, great social and economic opportunities."

Although Pope Francis did not mention the case specifically, the Vatican's top bioethics officials condemned the "reprehensible" assisted suicide earlier this month of American woman Brittany Maynard, who wanted to "die with dignity" while she was suffering with terminal brain cancer.

He also stated his views that creating life and giving birth to a baby is a "privilege and not a right" in defence of his comments made about abortion and IV fertilisation.

Pope Francis was elected in March last year after Pope Benedict XVI resigned the previous month after eight years in the pontiff role.

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