BOSTON, September 20, 2011 ( – Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston condemned the efforts of a pro-euthanasia group to legalize assisted suicide in Massachusetts in his homily at the diocesan Red Mass this past Sunday, CNA reports.

Dignity 2012 obtained approval for their ballot initiative from the state’s attorney general earlier this month, and now must obtain 69,000 signatures for the question to appear on the 2012 ballot.

Addressing members of the legal profession, for whom the Mass is held every year, O’Malley called physician assisted suicide “a corruption of the medical profession,” and pointed out that it violated the Hippocratic Oath.

“We are called upon to defend the gospel of life with courage and resolve,” he told the congregation.  “Your very profession invests in all of you a great responsibility to ensure that all laws are just.”

O’Malley also expressed his hope that Massachusetts citizens would not be “seduced by language [such as] dignity and compassion, which are means to disguise the sheer brutality of helping people to kill themselves.”

He added: “Suicide is a tragedy, one that a compassionate society should work to prevent.”

Steve Crawford, a spokesman for Dignity 2012, told the Boston Globe that he respected the cardinal’s position, but added: “the people of Massachusetts are ready for the discussion, about how best to provide peace, dignity, and control for terminally ill patients in their final days of life.”

The homily represented O’Malley’s first public comments on the issue, although the Massachusetts Catholic Conference condemned the initiative in a statement earlier this month.

“The Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts stand firm in the belief that a compassionate society should work to prevent suicide, which is always a terrible tragedy, no matter what form it may take,” the statement read.


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