Vatican and Israeli Chief Rabbinate preparing joint statement against euthanasia and physician-assisted death

ROME (JTA) – The Vatican and the Israeli Chief Rabbinate are preparing a joint position statement against euthanasia and physician-assisted death.

The issue was discussed at a meeting at the Vatican of the Bilateral Commission joining delegations from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Judaism.

The meeting on November 16-18 was the 16th meeting of the Bilateral Commission. Its main theme was “human dignity with special reference to the child” in Jewish and Catholic teaching.

Members of the Bilateral Commission had a private audience with Pope Francis, according to a joint statement issued Thursday.

“At this meeting, the Pope welcomed the information provided to him regarding a draft interreligious position-paper on end-of-life matters with particular reference to the dangers of legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide instead of providing palliative care and maximal respect for God-given life,” the statement said.

This subject has been a topic of discussion by the Bilateral Commission for years. At a Commission meeting in 2006, participants specifically condemned euthanasia, calling it an “illegitimate human arrogation of an exclusive divine authority to determine the time of a person’s death.”

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