His Eminence, Willem Cardinal Eijk

His Eminence, Willem Cardinal Eijk, The Archbishop of Utrecht, is a moral theologian, medical ethicist and physician, and provides us with a pastoral response to escalating access to euthanasia. He is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.


Speaking to the CCCB on his experience in the Netherlands;

"What can the Dutch experience teach politicians, policy-makers and people working in health care in other countries?" he asked. His answers were that first, there is no need for a "new medical ethics" other than what is provided through palliative care: "to reduce the suffering of people with incurable diseases to bearable proportions and to help them to discover or rediscover the dignity of their lives by giving loving professional care -- humane, medical, socio-psychological and pastoral; in short: it is directed to the whole person." Secondly, the Dutch experience provides empirical evidence that once the door is open a little, it easily opens wider. "Once one allows the termination of life for a certain kind of suffering, why should one not allow it for suffering that is just a little less?" The third lesson to be learned, he said, is palliative care respects how people who are suffering greatly, whether from disease or disabilities, can discover dignity in life and be enabled to continue their lives despite their circumstances.


His Eminence Willem Cardinal Ejik will give the Opening Address, “Catholic Health Professionals Can Still Deliver”, at our upcoming Rome conference. Register at: