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Pope Benedict Urges Luxembourg Not to Approve Euthanasia Law


Pope Benedict XVI has urged Luxembourg not to approve a bill legalizing euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

During a meeting Thursday with Paul Duhr, Luxembourg's new ambassador to the Vatican, the pontiff expressed his "grave concern," saying any deliberate decision to end a life is morally wrong and can never be lawful.

The Vatican opposes euthanasia and abortion, saying life must be defended from conception to natural death.

Last week, lawmakers in Luxembourg gave preliminary approval to a bill that would reduce the powers of the country's grand duke to a purely ceremonial role.

The action followed Grand Duke Henri's announcement earlier this month that he would refuse to sign a bill legalizing euthanasia if parliament approves it.

The monarch, a devout Roman Catholic, says his conscience would prevent him from signing such a measure.

Current law provides that the monarch must approve and issue legislation lawmakers adopt. But the new bill would restrict him to only issuing legislation.

The change would go into effect if lawmakers approve it on a second reading. Luxembourg's parliament has not yet acted on the euthanasia bill.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.