While French society seems to be in favor of changing the legislation governing the end of life, French religious leaders are still trying to make another voice heard, each in their own way. Discreet since the launch of the Citizens’ Convention on the end of life, the representatives of religions are invited, Thursday, March 9, to the Elysée for a dinner bringing together several actors in the debate around the President of the Republic.
In the Catholic Church, we assumed throughout these months a certain withdrawal in the debate, to the benefit of the actors directly concerned. “The strategy was to highlight the caregivers more than the bishops”we say to the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF), which will be represented at the Elysée by its president, Mgr Éric de Moulins-Beaufort. “It worked because they mobilized: fifteen professional organizations expressed their opposition”notes a bishop.
No opposition in principle
Religious leaders thus recall that they are not the only ones to oppose the legalization of active assistance in dying, desired by 78% of French people (1). “We are far from the only onesinsists the Chief Rabbi of France, Haïm Korsia. The 800,000 nurses represented by the various professional organizations are not representatives of cults. However, it is as if society wanted to forget that their vocation as caregivers was directly affected by this subject. »
But today, how to weigh when a change in the law seems inevitable? The rector of the Great Mosque of Paris, Chems-eddine Hafiz, does not wish to place himself in a systematic opposition but to embody a constructive attitude. “We are not united against anything.he insists. Of course, euthanasia and assisted suicide go against the principles of a Muslim, so I oppose it. But I do it in a positive way, explaining how we approach the issue. »
The Muslim leader thus wishes to take into account the evolutions of society. “We see in the various polls that the French prefer to resort to euthanasia rather than suffer, does he recognize. Rather, we offer human support for people at the end of life, which helps to relieve them and give them a form of hope. » As for the dinner at the Élysée, Chems-eddine Hafiz is convinced of its usefulness: “We have to take part in it, not to influence positions, but so that a certain number of elements are taken into consideration. »
Promote palliative care
A vision of dialogue shared by Haïm Korsia who will defend Thursday evening the application of the Claeys-Leonetti law on palliative care in which he sees “a balance that prohibits pain”. For the chief rabbi of France, the games are not yet done. “I believe there is always a way to find an intellectual crest path” to reach a compromise. “It is very important to be present, to exchange and meet, to see where the hopes of each other are”he adds.
For Christian Krieger, president of the Protestant Federation of France (FPF), the debate on the end of life raises questions of order “philosophical, human and anthropological” to which the pastor intends to contribute in order to provide answers. “We are going to submit the idea of a multi-annual programming law concerning support for old age and the end of lifeindicates the president of the FPF. We have no opposition in principle: we have a certain number of questions about man and old age. »
Within religious institutions, particularly Catholics, some voices are more circumspect about what could come out of the meeting with Emmanuel Macron. “I don’t place high hopes in this type of meeting”, blows a Catholic official, fearing an upcoming legalization of active assistance in dying. While waiting for a legal text to see the light of day, the Citizens’ Convention on the end of life must submit its recommendations to the government on April 2.
End of life, what Emmanuel Macron said
March 26, 2017on C8 : “Me, I want to choose my end of life (…). I’m all for debating it, (…) but I will not decide and I will not make law when I come to this subject. »
March 17, 2022to the presentation of its program for the second five-year term: “On this subject, I hope that we can move forward in a peaceful way, which is why I think it is a good subject for a citizens’ convention. »
September 3, 2022awarding the Legion of Honor to Line Renaud: “Your fight for the right to die with dignity resembles you and obliges us. It is dictated by kindness, demand and this unique intuition that it is time to do it, so we will do it. »
🟠📽️#End of life : how @The cross will deal with the debate, @jchapuis
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— The Cross (@LaCroix) December 8, 2022