ROME, Italy - Christian, Jewish and Muslim envoys signed Monday and submitted to Pope Francis a joint document that denounced euthanasia and assisted suicide as "inherently" wrong acts that should be forbidden.
"The three Abrahamic monotheistic religions share common goals and are in complete agreement in their approach to end-of-life situations," the document said.
"Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are inherently and consequentially morally and religiously wrong and should be forbidden with no exceptions.
"Any pressure upon dying patients to end their lives by active and deliberate actions is categorically rejected," it added.
It was signed at the Vatican by David Rosen for the American Jewish Committee, Vincenzo Paglia for the Vatican, a representative for the Orthodox Church, and Samsul Anwar from the Indonesian Muhammadiyah, an Islamic social and cultural association.
The idea came from Avraham Steinberg, co-president of the Israeli National Council on Bioethics.
"I think it’s by itself an historic event that the three major religions come together, talk to each other, agree on something and even sign on it," Steinberg told a press conference
Paglia, who is president of of the Pontifical Academy for Life, added that while death could not always be avoided, "we don’t want to help it on its dirty job."
Finally, Marsudi Syuhud, secretary general of the influential Islamic association Nahdlatul Ulama, said: "Protecting life is one of the purposes of Islamic law, that’s why we don’t stop protecting life until the end of our life."
The document urged medical personnel to listen to their conscience, saying: "No health care provider should be coerced or pressured to either directly or indirectly assist in the deliberate and intentional death of a patient through assisted suicide or any form of euthanasia, especially when it is against the religious beliefs of the provider."
"Moral objections regarding issues of life and death certainly fall into the category of conscientious objection that should be universally respected," it added.
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