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The Swiss theologian Fr Hans Küng, 85, has said he may seek help to take his own life as he becomes increasingly debilitated by a degenerative illness.
In the third and last volume of his memoirs published on 1 October in German and entitled "Erlebte Menschlichkeit", Lived Humanity, Küng relates how he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease a year ago and also has macular degeneration (AMD). He will soon be blind, he says, and can hardly manage to write by hand any longer.
"I don't want to go on existing as a shadow of myself. Human beings have a right to die when they see no hope of continuing to live according to their very own understanding of how to go on living in a humane way," he says.
He cannot understand why his Church and German law deny people the right to assisted suicide, he says. In his native Switzerland suicide organisations are allowed to offer incurably ill patients lethal medication which the patients themselves can then take.
Interviewed by the German daily Die Welt shortly the book was published, Küng showed his interviewers a handwritten letter from Pope Francis in Spanish thanking him for the two books Küng had sent him.