PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly: Death With Dignity

Fr. Petri

Fr. Thomas Petri, O.P.

POTTER: Almost all religious groups oppose aid in dying. The Catholic Church is particularly outspoken.

REV. THOMAS PETRI (Academic Dean, Dominican House of Studies): The church’s viewpoint on assisted suicide and euthanasia is that it’s never permissible to take a life, an innocent life, for the sake of alleviating suffering; that essentially you are killing a person to remove suffering from their lives.

POTTER: Father Thomas Petri is academic dean of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC. He fears that new laws will let doctors pressure patients to end their lives.

PETRI: My bigger fear is that it’s going to become very easy for patients themselves to feel morally pressured to do this—to see themselves in those last stages of life as useless, as a burden to their family, as a burden to their loved ones, as a burden to the world, when as a man of faith I have to say, on the contrary, it’s the sick who show us what it means to suffer well, to suffer beautifully, and who give us the opportunity to care for them as we would care for a suffering Jesus Christ.

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