Bishops to prepare assisted suicide document for vote next June
Published: November 17, 2010
BALTIMORE (CNS) -- By a nearly unanimous vote, the U.S. bishops agreed to the preparation of a brief policy statement on assisted suicide, which they will debate and vote on at their spring assembly in June. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, outlined the "increasingly urgent threat" posed by the wider use of assisted suicide in the United States. He spoke Nov. 16 at the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. Although for many years, Oregon was the only state where assisted suicide was permitted, "the situation has changed in recent years, and very much for the worse," the cardinal said. He described the proponents of assisted suicide -- led by the group Compassion & Choices, formerly called the Hemlock Society -- as "more organized, better funded and more sophisticated" than ever before. Both bishops from Montana -- Bishop George Leo Thomas of Helena and Bishop Michael W. Warfel of Great Falls and Billings -- rose to speak in favor of the proposed statement. Assisted suicide has been legal in Montana since 2008 following a court decision that said to ban it violated the state constitution. Proponents of assisted suicide "make it appear as if it is the compassionate way to go," said Bishop Warfel, adding that those who oppose it need more tools and resources to combat that attitude.
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