ROME: The Vatican waded into a euthanasia debate flaying Italy for the second time in days on uesday, as a top health official judged “abominable” a decision to transfer a comatose woman to a hospital to die.
“Stop this murder!” Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the Vatican’s health minister, told La Repubblica daily in an interview.
His remarks coincided with reports that 37-year-old Eluana Englaro had been transferred early Tuesday to a hospital in the northeastern town of Udine, where she can die peacefully.
Her feeding tubes are to be removed in three days, according to doctors cited by the Italian media.
Englaro, who has been kept in a vegetative state since a car accident 17 years ago, has become a symbol for Italy’s right-to-die movement — and for the Roman Catholic Church’s impassioned argument for the sanctity of life.
“To stop giving food and liquids to Eluana is equivalent to abominable murder and the Church will not cease to proclaim this loud and clear,” Barragan said.
In remarks following his regular Angelus blessing Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI also rejected euthanasia as a “false” answer to suffering, saying those in pain should instead be helped to confront it.
Barragan has spoken out before on Englaro, rejecting in November an appeals court ruling allowing doctors to remove her feeding tube.
He reiterated his opposition in the newspaper interview, saying: “the position of the Church, which defends life, remains the same and cannot be changed because of a verdict delivered by judges.”
Englaro’s plight has been the subject of intense debate over the past decade and despite pressure from the government, Italy’s Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican to keep her alive, a geriatric clinic in Udine said it was prepared to oversee the mercy killing.
Source: Times of India