22 December 2008, 15:42
Metropolitan Kirill backs Grand Duke of Luxembourg in opposing euthanasia
Moscow, December 22, Interfax - Locum tenens Metropolitan Kirill has supported Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, who refused to sign into law a bill legalizing euthanasia in his country, referring to the fact that it contradicts traditional Christian values.
"Your decision is an example of courage and loyalty to beliefs which inspire the majority of European residents. I believe that the protection of traditional values of peoples on the European continent will help maintain the basement of our common house," Metropolitan Kirill's letter to Grand Duke Henri posted on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate on Monday reads.
The locum tenens pointed out that the Russian Orthodox Church supports maintaining traditional moral values all over Europe. Late Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia stated the need to protect traditional moral values in European countries for the sake of the future from the PACE rostrum last year. And this June, the Russian Orthodox Church's Archbishop Council adopted the basics of teachings of human dignity, his freedoms and rights, which deal with the fact that it is unacceptable to introduce norms "eroding or canceling both the evangelic and natural morals" to the human rights sphere.
"The legal provision of the right to euthanasia is an example of how traditional morals are destroyed," Metropolitan Kirill said.
"The legalization of euthanasia encroaches on the sacred gift of life, reverent attitude to which was nurtured in Europe's Christian culture for years," he said.
"The Russian Orthodox Church, as well as other religious communities in Europe, opposes the recognition of the right to euthanasia, which humiliates human dignity and perverts the professional duty of doctors, who are called to save not end life," the metropolitan said.
"Christians know about sufferings of those terminally ill. They prey that their sufferings are soothed and give them assistance and help. It is absolutely unacceptable to kill the afflicted and help them commit suicide," the letter reads.
According to earlier reports, Grand Duke Henri refused to sign into law a bill allowing euthanasia in Luxembourg on December 1. According to Luxembourgian laws, the grand duke can shelf bills approved by the parliament for three months but cannot veto them.
Luxembourgian MPs then almost unanimously passed a bill limiting the powers of the grand dukes and again passed the euthanasia bill, with 31 backing, 26 opposing it and three abstaining. Controversies over this bill led Luxembourg to a crisis of authorities, and this confrontation could downgrade the Luxembourgian constitutional monarchy to a mere formality. If the bill takes effect, Luxembourg could become the third EU country with legalized euthanasia after the Netherlands and Belgium.