Image via WikipediaThis article is from the July edition of the European Bulletin, number 68. (It used to be possible to subscribe to the Bulletin from the Council for Christian Unity website - currently I have not been able to find the link. I'll look into it and post a comment when I find it.)
The Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, CPCE, has published A time to live and a time to die, an aid to orientation on questions at the end of life, and the parallel internet page. The study is the fruit of an intensive process of consultation between the 105 CPCE churches in 30 countries on the basis of a text by the CPCE special group on ethics.
The 104 page brochure asks from a theological and ethical perspective: What is human life? Where does our moral responsibility lie? How sensitive are we to the wishes of the patient? It takes up as central questions of medical ethics the termination of life-extending measures, palliative care, assisted dying and suicide assistance.
The CPCE churches support the protection of the human rights of the dying and terminally ill. These include the right to life up to the end and the right to refuse treatment. At the same time the churches oppose the setting of a principle of autonomy against solidarity, empathy and care for the sick and dying.
“It is a strength of European Protestantism that it takes differences seriously and lets them come to expression”, said CPCE President Thomas Wipf about the brochure appearing today in which the protestant churches throughout Europe speak together on the theme for the first time. “This document takes up urgent questions and encourages the churches to address the theme more intensively in their own context.”