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November 22, 1998


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, Archbishop of Philadelphia, is deeply disturbed by the decision of the CBS News Network and its local affiliate, KYW-TV, to air tonight's broadcast of a "60 Minutes" presentation featuring a videotape of Jack Kevorkian deliberately taking the life of a man disabled with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Cardinal Bevilacqua did not watch the program, but at a news conference prior to the broadcast, he issued a personal appeal to the news media for the featured segment to be withdrawn. Cardinal Bevilacqua called the broadcast a "new low in journalism." He went on to say, "the Church has made it very clear that euthanasia is always evil. Life is valuable, no matter its condition, no matter its qualities. We can not judge a person solely by their illness or their disability. As long as a person is alive, that person is a valuable person."

"We should spend our time and energy to help people live quality lives, to live in comfort and without pain," Cardinal Bevilacqua said. "Relieving pain is really an expression of human mercy. People do have a right to live without pain. But, medicines of today are so advanced that the means are available for people to live without pain."

Archdiocesan Communications Director, Cathy Rossi and Respect Life Office Director, Helen Kelleher were asked by some members of the media to review the program. On behalf of the Archdiocese, they had this reaction to the presentation: "It was appalling to see someone killed on television. The victim was never offered any spiritual comfort prior to dying. He basically signed his life away on someone else's words of hopelessness. Neither he nor his family detailed any pain or suffering, just simply a will to die. Mr. Kevorkian put himself in the place of God in taking a human life. That right does not belong to him or anyone else. Only God can choose when to take a life."

As Cardinal Bevilacqua said prior to the broadcast, "We should be helping people live without pain, not solve the problem by removing the person."

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Cathy Rossi
Communications Director

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