End of Life Concerns

man-in-wheelchair“Threats which are no less serious hang over the incurably ill and the dying.  In a social and cultural context which makes it more difficult to face and accept suffering, the temptation becomes all the greater to resolve the problem of suffering by eliminating it at the root, by hastening death so that it occurs at the moment considered most suitable.” Gospel of Life an. 15

“The word of God frequently repeats the call to show care and respect, above all where life is undermined by sickness and old age.” Gospel of Life an. 44.


The NCBC provides free consultation services to individuals facing difficult ethical decisions related to health care.In emergency situations, an NCBC ethicist is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 215-877-2660. NCBC ethicists do not provide legal or medical advice.  Click here for more information about NCBC consultation service.

Catholic Charities Senior Support Services

Church Teaching

Nutrition and Hydration

“The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life.  It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented.” – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2007)

For full text of this article, click here.


“Life is a gift of God, and on the other hand death is unavoidable; it is necessary, therefore, that we, without in any way hastening the hour of death, should be able to accept it with full responsibility and dignity.” -Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Euthanasia (1980)

For full text of the Declaration on Euthanasia, click here.


“This is the meaning of suffering, which is truly supernatural and at the same time human. It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission.” – Pope John Paul II, Salvia Dolores (1984)

For full text of this Apostolic Letter, click here.

Pain Management/Palliative Care