Skip to comments.Pope reaffirms life amid heated right-to-die case (Eluana Englaro)
Posted on 02/07/2009 10:48:04 AM PST by wagglebee
ROME Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday that all human life must be protected, especially that of the weak and suffering, making a last-minute intervention in a right-to-die case that has convulsed Italy.
Groups of protesters both for and against keeping Eluana Englaro alive held demonstrations across the country on Saturday. Outside the clinic in the northern city of Udine where Englaro is being cared for, a few dozen people shouted "Eluana Viva!" or "Eluana Lives!"
Englaro, 38, has been in a vegetative state for 17 years after a car crash. On Friday, after a decade-long court battle, her nutrition began to be reduced in preparation for removing her feeding tubes, which her father has said was her wish.
Benedict didn't refer by name to Englaro in his message Saturday for the annual World Day of the Sick. But the pope said he wanted to reaffirm with vigor "the absolute and supreme dignity of every human being," even when "weak and shrouded in the mystery of suffering."
In a bid to keep Englaro alive, Premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right government passed an emergency decree Friday saying that feeding and hydration cannot be suspended for patients who depend on it.
But in an unusual confrontation between Italy's top officials, President Giorgio Napolitano refused to sign the decree, saying it defied court rulings that allowed Englaro's feeding tubes to be removed.
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He is exactly right.
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