Campobasso, April 21 - The parish priests of five Molise dioceses on Thursday sounded their church bells in mourning at the passage from the Lower House to the Senate of a bill on living wills. The priests in Carovilli, Castropignano, Duronia, Pietrabbondante, and Salcito sounded their bells against the approval of the living will which allows people to say in advance how they want to be treated at the end of their lives, refusing some useless and excessive treatment. Carovilli parish priest Father Mario Fangio told reporters about the initiative. "I wanted to highlight this criminal event by a State that instead of helping people live helps them to die," he told ANSA. A death-notice-style statement said "(the priests) decided to call the attention of their communities the grim legislative event, which will create a great deal of problems, and will undermine at its very root the certainty of the indispensability of human life. "They also urge everyone to make a serious reflection, and to substantially amend the norm in the Senate, and to sink it as useless, given the current rules on 'dogged overtreatment' and palliative treatment. The death notice concluded: "the bells are sounding in mourning because Life is the victim of death, from abortion to euthanasia to living wills. "With these, Italy has chosen to 'let die' rather than let live. So be it". There has been resistance by Catholics to the living-will bill, and Catholic Mps managed to insert a clause allowing doctors to refuse to comply with patients' requests out of conscientious objection. The bill passed from the Lower House to the Senate Thursday evening by 324 votes to 37. A living will, also called a directive to physicians or advance directive, is a document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions. According to the bill, there is a ban on excessive and unnecessary end-of-life treatment and a recognition of the patient's right to refuse treatment, also in Catholic clinics. But the doctor may refuse to pull the plug because of conscientious objection. Then it is up to the hospital, clinic or hospice to see that the patient's wishes are met, the bill says.
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