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Vatican Hails European Council's "No" to Euthanasia
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican expressed agreement with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's recent move to reject, by a large majority, a draft measure to legalize euthanasia.

"It has been a positive sign," Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said on Vatican Radio. "It means that there are still forces in Europe that respect and want the life of the seriously ill patient respected, in the final stage."

The vote Monday took place after a long debate during which 71 amendments were added. The text was ultimately rejected by a vote of 138 to 26, with five abstentions.

Swiss parliamentarian Dick Marty, of the Liberal, Democratic and Reformers' Group, proposed the resolution, which had been removed from the assembly's agenda in September 2003 and January 2004.

Marty, who also wrote the resolution, voted against the amended draft resolution. Afterward, he expressed the hope that the assembly would return to the issue in the future.

Bishop Sgreccia commented: "We must expect that pressure in favor of euthanasia will attack again with similar proposals, given that, in Europe, some countries have approved euthanasia."

"I think that, at present, the task of Catholics, of believers, and of all those who want respect for human life in its full sense, consists in clarifying, at the doctrinal level, that no one owns his own life, that no one is authorized to do away with his own life or that of others," said the bishop.

"At the practical level," he added, "it is necessary to give much love and attention to alleviate pain, with palliative therapies, the development of a health system that respects the patient, the one dying, with treatments and care owed to all living beings."