Accompany man in every phase of his life

Meeting of Legal Advisors of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe

Luxembourg, 10-12 December 2017


The juridical questions related to the so-called "end of life" and to migration are particularly important for the Church, because they directly affect the dignity of the human person. In these two areas regarding the life of man, the Church indicates a way of "accompanying" the most vulnerable, those who suffer and are defenseless in our society.

Regulations about the so-called "end of life" and migration have been the focus of the work of the legal advisers of the Bishops’ conferences, who have met in Luxembourg from 10 to 12 December 2017, at the invitation of the local Archbishop H.E. Mons. Jean-Claude Hollerich. The works were chaired by H.E. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the CCEE. The meeting was also attended by the Apostolic Nuncio in Luxembourg, H.E. Mons. Augustine Kasujja.

Miss Sophia Kuby of ADF International introduced the debate on the current end-of-life issues.

The legal advisers have pointed out that there is great confusion around some notions and practices aimed at regulating the so-called "end of life". The Church reiterates that it is unlawful to take somebody’s life! No one can claim the right to decide about one’s death or that of others. One cannot judge whether a life is worth living because of an unclear and widespread idea of ​​a "right to die in dignity". Moreover, no one can define what is meant by a "good quality" of life, too often measured according to efficiency and full decision-making and relational autonomy, rather than according to a life lived within a network of virtuous relationships. This vision linked to the end of earthly life is typical of our Western culture, which is strongly marked by individualism mistaken for freedom, without recognizing that it inevitably leads to a tragic and desperate loneliness.

So, the legal advisers have reaffirmed the need to participate in the public debate, clearly advocating their position, rather than affirming principles and convictions. It is therefore important to give reasons and motivations using a language that is understandable to everyone.

In the twists and turns of the legal jargon, the need to focus on the limits of the law and the freedom of the individual is clear. They must be consistent with the truth and promote the dignity of the human person in their ontology.

Life that comes to an end in this world needs medical care and legal protection that aim at the true good of the person. The alternative proposal of the Church, in all situations of loneliness and suffering, is accompanying the person from the beginning, that is from conception, to the natural end of life. The Church is concerned about those laws that, instead of promoting love and solidarity towards the most vulnerable and the most suffering, encourage a culture of death.

The other topic discussed regarded European and national regulations on migration. The theme was introduced by a video of Prof. Chiara Favilli from the University of Florence.

The recent migration emergency and the considerable increase in the number of asylum seekers have highlighted the need for a review of European and national regulations. The fact that the EU does not have a common policy for migration or asylum, leaves discretionary power to the States, which results in choices and implementation measures that are too different from one another.

We have acknowledged, with a few concerns, how this "legal uncertainty" within the EU and individual member states is leading to political and social instability

European countries must make every effort to promote peace and development, as well as justice, in the countries from which so many people are fleeing. However, economic cooperation does not seem to be enough. It is necessary not only to make sure that migration and asylum-related issues become part of social policies, but also of labour and family policies. In fact, asylum is still intended as being part of the "welfare policy" of the States, i.e. social support, rather than being related to integration or movement across the Member States.

For the Church, welcoming the stranger is a commandment of God. This leads her to make every possible effort, while respecting legality, to generously welcome and adequately integrate those who reach our countries. The analysis of the situation in the various countries showed the great involvement of the Church in the management of migration, not only during the emergency, but also in urging the passing of laws and regulations, which take into account the complexity of the problems while respecting the fundamental rights of every person and community.

Finally, the participants have addressed a few issues regarding the Istanbul Convention. Stressing and appreciating the initiative of the States in recognizing the severity of the phenomenon of domestic violence, some weaknesses were highlighted, however, with respect to the use of an ideological language.

The participants have had the chance to visit the Court of Justice of the European Union, exchanging views with the President of the Court, Mr. Jaeger, and Mr. F. Biltgen, Judge at the Court. The visit ended with a dinner offered by dr. Ignacio Ulloa Rubio, a Spanish Judge of the Court of Justice, also attended by other Judges of the Court. The visit was organized with the contribution of Mr. Mauro Gatti, from the University of Strasbourg.


Information for the media are available here

The press release is available in Croatian, English, French, German and Italian.

Photos are available here