...By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
In a general audience on December 28, 2022, Pope Francis expressed his sadness regarding the recent legalization of euthanasia in Portugal.
This decision, which permits medically-assisted suicide in certain circumstances, deeply troubled the pope.
His remarks were made on May 13, 2023, coinciding with the commemoration of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to the shepherd children of Fatima.
The pope’s comments reflect his concern over the expanding list of countries embracing euthanasia.
Legalization of Euthanasia in Portugal:
Portugal’s parliament approved a law on May 12, 2023, allowing for medically-assisted suicide in limited cases.
The legislation specifies that individuals seeking assisted death should be enduring immense suffering due to a grave and incurable disease or severe and irreparable injuries.
Additionally, the law permits doctors to perform euthanasia in situations where physical disability prevents medically-assisted suicide.
This decision was reached despite previous objections from the country’s Catholic President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Pope Francis’s Reaction:
During an impromptu meeting in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall with participants from the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, Pope Francis voiced his concern about the new Portuguese legislation.
He expressed deep sadness at the fact that a law allowing for killing had been enacted in the country where the Virgin Mary appeared.
This development, according to the pope, represents another step in the increasing number of nations embracing euthanasia.
The Significance of Our Lady of Fatima:
May 13 holds a special significance in the Catholic Church as the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima.
In 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared six times to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.
During these apparitions, she conveyed messages calling for the recitation of the rosary, sacrifices on behalf of sinners, and a secret related to the destiny of the world.
The pope canonized two of the Fatima visionaries, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, in 2017, while Sister Lucia dos Santos, the eldest child witness, is in the process of beatification.
The Fatima apparitions are among the most renowned Marian apparitions worldwide.
Pope Francis’s sorrow over the legalization of euthanasia in Portugal reveals his staunch opposition to this practice.
His comments emphasize the disheartening fact that a law permitting killing has been enacted in a country with such strong religious and spiritual significance, where the Virgin Mary herself appeared.
By expressing his sadness, the pope aims to draw attention to the moral and ethical implications of euthanasia and its growing acceptance globally.
The legalization of euthanasia in Portugal, despite objections from the country’s Catholic President, highlights the clash between societal views and religious teachings.
This development poses a challenge for the Catholic Church, as it confronts the shifting moral landscape in various nations.
Pope Francis’s vocal opposition to euthanasia aligns with the Church’s longstanding position on the sanctity of life and the value of human dignity.
The connection between the pope’s comments and the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima adds weight to his statement.
By referencing the apparitions and the requests made by the Virgin Mary, the pope underscores the importance of preserving life and the need for prayer, sacrifice, and repentance.
His mention of the upcoming World Youth Day in Lisbon further emphasizes the relevance of his remarks, as he plans to visit the site of the Fatima apparitions during the event.
Pope Francis’s expression of sorrow regarding the legalization of euthanasia in Portugal serves as a reminder of the Church’s stance on the sanctity of life.