Euthanasia 'abhorrent' to Indigenous communities

Fr Robert Greenup OSA (left)  and Deacon Ralph Madigan (The Catholic Leader)

Many Indigenous Queenslanders hold grave concerns about euthanasia, finding it frightening and at odds with their culture, according to Church leaders. Source: The Catholic Leader.

If Queensland politicians pass voluntary assisted dying laws, Townsville Bishop Harris has warned fear of euthanasia would weaken cultural ties and “lead to Indigenous people shying away from medical help when it’s needed, particularly in remote regions”.

After attending a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council meeting, Bishop Harris said he had been struck by the many cultural insensitivities and unaddressed fears being mentioned by its members.

He said it was clear these concerns had been overlooked and underestimated during consultations with Indigenous communities – where many people believe euthanasia is abhorrent, frightening and at odds with the way they culturally deal with dying.

Aboriginal Deacon Ralph Madigan, who makes pastoral visits to remote Indigenous communities in far north Queensland, confirmed Bishop Harris’ cultural concerns.

Euthanasia “is wrong”, Deacon Madigan said.

“I think people would put their views across if there was a proper meeting,” he said. “In my family circle we wouldn’t think of it. We believe in dying naturally. We’ve had family that have died from sicknesses, and much in pain, but we wouldn’t dream of having euthanasia.

“Life is important, life is precious.”

Augustinian Father Robert Greenup, parish priest at St Thomas of Villanova, Mareeba, and who visits remote communities alongside Deacon Madigan, said: “Aboriginal people would find the prospect of euthanasia ‘abhorrent’.”


Indigenous community in far north Queensland says euthanasia is against Aboriginal culture (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader

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