CV NEWS FEED // The Rev. Gerald E. Murray, a canon lawyer and the pastor of Holy Family Church in New York City, harshly criticized Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, for his recent defense of euthanasia and his follow-up attempt to argue that his position is somehow consistent with current Church doctrine.
Speaking to CatholicVote, Fr. Murray, author (with Diane Montagna) of the book “Calming the Storm: Navigating the Crises Facing the Catholic Church and Society,” took issue with Paglia claiming during a recent speech in Perugia that “above all I would like to specify that the Catholic Church does not have a ready-made, prepackaged packet of truths, as if she were a distributor of truth pills.”
“To characterize in such a mocking tone the mission and duty of the Church to teach the truths of the Faith is wrong and shocking,” said Fr. Murray. “Jesus Christ said: ‘I am the truth.’ The truth does not change over time.”
“God’s commandment to not kill cannot be set aside by a Christian, let alone a successor of the apostles, without betraying Christ. It is a tremendous scandal for a bishop to attempt to justify euthanasia,” Murray added.
Paglia recently claimed that
it is not to be ruled out that a legal mediation is feasible in our society that would allow assisted suicide under the conditions specified by Constitutional Court sentence 242/2019: the person must be being ‘kept alive by life-support treatment and suffering from an irreversible pathology, the source of physical or psychological suffering that he or she considers intolerable, but fully capable of making free and conscious decisions.
Such a position is absolutely not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church, Murray told CatholicVote. “No one is authorized by God to kill himself, with or without the help of someone else. Suicide is a mortal sin, a grave violation of God’s law,” he said.
After an uproar in the Catholic world, Paglia issued a followup “clarification” on Monday, April 21. The Pontifical Academy for Life, of which Paglia is president, explained that he is opposed to euthanasia because he personally would not apply it; but insists that the specific Italian policy solution is consistent with a “realistic” approach to Church teachings.
Murray emphatically disagree, saying “it is reprehensible for Archbishop Paglia to contradict God and His law. The only realism for a Christian is God’s realism. God said ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Living by that commandment is the only realism in a world created by God. Anything else is a descent into the unreal world of diabolical lies and death, physical and spiritual.”
The Pontifical Academy’s statement further made the case that supporting the specific law being considered in Italy is consistent with Catholic teachings because it would only depenalize but not decriminalize euthanasia, so that the practice would still be illegal in Italy, even if applicable in certain conditions.
But according to Fr. Murray, “this is a pathetic attempt at misdirection … to convince people that there is nothing wrong with his new Italian law since euthanasia would still be a crime. Yet if there is no penalty for committing this crime, then it would not be treated as a crime.”
“De-penalization is de facto decriminalization. It is not acceptable for any state to authorize the killing of innocent people,” Murray concluded:
It is stupefying to hear this line of illogical reasoning from a shepherd of Christ’s flock. Archbishop Paglia has a duty to God to recant his error and support the teaching of the Church, clearly and unambiguously.