French bishops warn allowing euthanasia would upset ethical balance

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech in Les Mureaux Oct. 2, 2020, to present his strategy to fight separatism. The head of French bishops' conference testified Jan. 4 that while he understands the need to strengthen national security, a proposed law designed to rein in extremist militancy would place religions and religious believers under particular surveillance. (CNS photo/Ludovic Marin, pool via Reuters)

PARIS (CNS) – France’s Catholic bishops warned President Emmanuel Macron’s government that “immoral legislation” to allow euthanasia risked overturning the country’s “ethical equilibrium.”

“Over decades, a balance has been found in avoiding relentless treatment and promoting palliative care – this ‘French path’ has gained a following and says something about our country’s ethical heritage,” said the 10-member executive council of the bishops’ conference.

“Our caregivers, who must face so many concrete difficulties sustaining our health system, often express how much they are attached to this balance – it gives honour to their profession and meaning to their commitment,” bishops said.

“During the Covid-19 crisis, our society made weighty sacrifices to save lives, particularly of the most fragile, even over-isolating the sick or elderly to preserve their bodily health. How can it be possible, just a few months after this great national mobilisation, that society now gives the impression of seeing no other answer to life’s fragility than active help in dying and assisted suicide?” the bishops asked in a statement the weekend of September 24-25.

The French government plans to legalise euthanasia by the end of 2023.

The bishops said France’s National Consultative Ethics Council, which cleared the way for the proposed legislation, had also said palliative care should first be made available nationwide “before any reform”.

In mid-September, Macron launched a national debate on legalising euthanasia, in line with pledges before his April re-election. He hopes to draft legislation after receiving recommendations from a Citizens’ Convention next March.

Similar legislation was voted down in 2021, and French doctors can currently keep terminally ill patients sedated until death under a 2016 law, but without assisting their suicide.

If enacted, the proposed law, which has enjoyed majority support in opinion polls, would make France Europe’s sixth country to allow euthanasia and assisted dying, after the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Spain. Parallel laws are being considered in several other countries, including Germany and Portugal.

In their statement, the bishops said “authentic democratic discernment” required listening seriously and calmly to a range of opinions, including those of different religious traditions.

Photo: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech in Les Mureaux in 2020 (CNS photo/Ludovic Marin, pool via Reuters)

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  1. Hamish says

    Very sad situation for the whole of
    Europe, not just for France. It began
    with the European unions decision to
    become a supporter of abortion- to be
    a pro-choice union. By doing this the
    EU becomes a supporter of Secular
    This means all countries ultimately
    are expected to comply, eventually as
    the EU will not countenance any other
    So Poland, a Catholic country, which
    gave the church Pope saint John Paul II,
    and which suffered the Nazis (6 million Poles
    died), and then the communists (betrayed by
    Churchill into Stalin’s hands, with more
    killing,), so that abortion was made legal.
    After the Soviets left, the Polish REPEALED
    the law making abortion illegal. Then
    the EU asked for funds to support
    global initiatives in abortion, which
    Poland refused, quite naturally as it
    is pro-life. That did not stop the EU,
    which virtually demanded compliance
    with EU guidelines, which Poland
    respectfully refused to do. So Poland
    was fined one million Euros per day
    for non-compliance.
    Fair? Persecution more like it. And
    France what did Catholic France have
    to say?
    Euthanasia, abortion, drugs, porn (and
    now gay marriage) are all supported
    by the Secular Humanist, whose
    manifesto shows a denial of any
    supernatural, and its flagrant apostasy.
    Macron (Catholic) who married a divorcee
    is no role model and is pro-choice.
    But the killer is the birthrate which is 1.85
    for France, and Euthanasia adds to this
    burden. At 1.85 France will fade away
    inevitably. In four generations it will have
    a parenting population of 70% of its
    former population, unlike Afghanistan with 4.0.
    The contradiction for Secular Humanism
    is a spirit filled people of God. It is
    mysticism, i.e., listening skills.
    Global abortion per year is around
    45,000,000 unpunished deaths to the
    unborn. The burden of Euthanasia
    adds to the mess.
    The EU is applying leverage to its atheism
    it has adopted. Its aim is to make all
    member states docile. Totalitarianism
    is alive and well. The UK fortuitously
    moved out, with Brexit.

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