The head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Msgr Vincenzo Paglia, said a living-will bill before parliament should stop "excessive" treatment for the terminally ill while "helping sick people to live".
The likely approval of a living-will law comes eight years
after the issue hit headlines in 2009 when doctors removed the
feeding tubes of Eluana Englaro, a woman in a vegetative state,
in accordance with her family's wishes and a court ruling but
against the wishes of the government and the Catholic Church.
The will is now expected to include a do-not-rescuscitate
(DNR) provision and a statement against futile and obstinate
overtreatment in terminal cases.
"On the living-will bill, which has nothing to do with
euthanasia or assisted suicide, I hope there is the broadest
possible agreement in parliament," Msgr Paglia told Catholic
weekly La Famiglia Cristiana.
"While the will of the patient on access or not to therapies
must be respected, a will guaranteed by Constitutional
dictates," he went on.
"Furthermore, we must combat on the one hand all forms of
excessive treatment and on the other give ample space to
palliative treatment so as not to let patients suffer", Msgr
"It is equally urgent to help sick people live for as long as
is decently possible," said the archbishop.