Reading newspapers or surfing the web in the days after a recent intervention by Pope Francis on end-of-life issues, one would have found it difficult to get a clear idea of the actual content of his message. The various headlines, often on the front page, spanned a wide range from “Living Will, the Change of Francis” to “Euthanasia, No Change by the Pope” with many more formulations in between. Readers who went beyond the headlines would certainly have been able to encounter individual elements from the pope’s text, but rarely would they have been able to acquire a full picture of the argument, its internal dynamics and its historical perspective.
The debate developed over the following days with longer and more balanced contributions. But aspects remain that need to be examined more closely. We will take a closer look at the pontiff’s message to identify the principal points, paying attention to how they are articulated. In this way we will show how Pope Francis makes innovative clarifications, basing his argument on some of the most important teachings of the Magisterium.