It is common to experience some concerns or anxieties when approaching death: Will I be in pain? Who will care for me? These fears are natural. Making decisions about medical treatments at the end of life is difficult enough, and significant advances in medical technology make this process even more confusing and complex. Without adequate guidance and support, these fears can become overwhelming. They could even lead one to believe that physician assisted suicide is a legitimate solution.
Our faith addresses all these questions and offers us comfort at the end of life. Jesus’s Gospel of Life can transform our fear and bring new meaning to the mystery of sickness, suffering, and death. With this in mind, we know that our life has dignity and meaning at every stage and in every condition. Furthermore, Christ’s resurrection means that we can look toward death with the hope of eternal life rather than fear of the unknown.
The Department of Life Issues has compiled the following resources to help you understand the Church’s teachings on end of life issues, gain practical information about preparing for the end of life, and reflect on what it means to have a hopeful and holy death.
2017 Respect Life Month Bulletin Inserts
- The Sad Truth Behind “Aid in Dying” (grayscale)
- He is Always with Me (grayscale)
- Crossing the Threshold of Death with Hope (grayscale)
- Renewed by Joy (grayscale)
- Transformed by Joy (grayscale)
- Transformed by Love (grayscale)
- Transformed by the Loving Gaze of Jesus (grayscale)
- Transformed by Grace (grayscale)
Transformation Series (En Español)
- Transformados por la Alegria (grayscale)
- Transformados por el Amor (grayscale)
- Transformados por la Mirada Amorosa de Jesús (grayscale)
- Transformados por la Gracia (grayscale)
- A Pilgrim People (grayscale)
- A Life Without Regrets (grayscale)
- Life is Changed, Not Ended (grayscale)
- Final Perseverance (grayscale)
Insert from the Maryland Catholic Conference
In May 2014, the Department of Life Issues hosted an end of life workshop at St. Raphael Parish.
Click here to download a copy of the discussion guide that can be used with the videos below.
Honoring the Dignity of Life in Sickness and Death – Church Teaching
Honoring the Dignity of Life in Sickness and Death – Medical Care
Honoring the Dignity of Life in Sickness and Death – Legal Preparations
Small Group Resources
Interested in hosting a book club or small group? Below you will find two examples with accompanying discussion questions.
Advances in medicine and technology have led to more and more complex decision-making. As a Catholic, what are the key issues and facts? What questions should you ask before making any decisions or signing any documents? What is an Advanced Medical Directive and what kind is most appropriate – a Durable Power of Attorney? These easy-to-read resources will help give you the answers.
- Comfort and Consolation, a Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of Maryland
- Health Care Directives, a Supplement to the Pastoral Letter Comfort and Consolation
- Comfort and Consolation Q & A
- National Catholic Bioethics Center’s Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions
- Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health CareServices, Fifth Edition
- Resources from Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington, Inc.
- Resources from the Pontifical Academy of Life
- Resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Seek First the Kingdom blog posts by Cardinal Donald Wuerl
- World Day of the Sick in the Year of Mercy
- Every Life is Worth Living
- Seeing our Sick Brothers and Sisters with the Wisdom of the Heart
- Let Us Be Children of Light
- Preparing for the Grace of a Good Death
- “God of mercy, hear our prayers and be merciful to your child, whom you have called from this life”
- Protecting the Gift of Life until Natural Death
- What Lies Beyond
- We are Made for Life, We are Made for Love
Articles in the Catholic Standard
- Assisted suicide goes against America’s founding principles, speaker says
- Key issues in Annapolis will include assisted suicide, education credit and sick leave
- Catholic officials say Colorado proves assisted suicide bills can be halted
- Church leaders dismayed with Canadian court ruling on assisted suicide
- Editorial: No dignity, mercy or compassion in assisted suicide