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Embracing Our Dying

Catholic End-of-Life Teaching

If those who are dying are embraced by their family and their community, they will not seek death, but will live their last days well, and then accept death when it comes.

This page contains information on Catholic teachings about the end-of-life.  For legal and policy analysis, especially about physician-assisted suicide, click here or jump to these other important resources...

   FAQ: End-of-Life CareParish ResourcesDocuments & StatementsVideos

January 20, 2016 Embracing Our Dying

Thinking about our own mortality is not easy.  It can be daunting as we consider the moral and medical discernments that often arise at the end of life.   For those very close to death, a tool is available to translate our wishes directly into orders to medical personnel.

April 13, 2015 Embracing Our Dying

Dying is just that, an art! According to leading experts in the newly formed medical specialty of palliative care, there is definitely an art to dying, a way to die well. This art, when practiced while alive and well, enables a patient to seamlessly, effortlessly, and spiritually make the transition to the next part of his or her journey.

March 9, 2015 Embracing Our Dying

A collection of material suitable for distribution in parishes as bulletin inserts available in both English and Spanish – inserts include summaries of Catholic teaching on end-of-life, a pastoral guide and information on hospice. 

March 9, 2015 Embracing Our Dying

A special series of recorded insights exploring end-of-life issues with Fr. Gerald Coleman, SS,  Daughters of Charity Health System and Adjunct Professor at Santa Clara University.

February 2, 2015 Embracing Our Dying

What are the primary differences between an Advance Directive and a POLST form? Can I alter my POLST once it is completed?  Do I also need an Advanced Directive? Examine the various questions and concerns people have about the legal ramifications of completing the medical forms that apply to end-of-life situations.

What are the primary differences between an Advance Directive and a POLST form?


Embracing Our Dying

Catholic Advance Health Care Directive FormEn Espanol (for reference only; State requires that the form be completed in English.)

Embracing Our Dying

Caring for people who are seriously ill and dying often means steering a course between two different approaches at odds with Catholic moral principles. One is subjectivism, the belief that one's primary responsibility is to oneself and one's particular values, an attitude that gives justification to physician-assisted suicide. The other inimical approach is vitalism, the belief that human life is absolute and must be preserved, at all cost.

On this page you can learn about Catholic teaching on the end of life.  For information on the current public policy debate on legalizing doctor-prescribed suicide, visit our End-of-Life issues page.