U.K. Ruling Didn´t Approve Euthanasia, Says Archbishop

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LONDON, MARCH 25, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Friday´s right-to-die ruling by a British court does not refer to euthanasia, says the Catholic Church in England and Wales.



The High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Miss B (her name has not been made public), 43, has the right to die, because she cannot endure living connected to an artificial respirator.

Commenting on the case, Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, chairman of the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Catholic Bishops´ Conference of England and Wales, said: "The circumstances in which Miss B finds herself are sad and very difficult."

"The court was asked to rule whether she was legally competent to make a decision to refuse life-prolonging treatment which had become burdensome," the archbishop continued.

"In this case the court has decided that Miss B is legally competent to make such a decision," he stressed. "The right of a patient to refuse such treatment has long been recognized as legally and morally acceptable. It is important to be clear, however, that this case did not involve questions about euthanasia or assisted suicide and has set no precedents in respect of either."