Health Care Directive
Who will speak for me when I cannot speak for myself?
How do I ensure that the decisions made about my health care are morally correct?
Making sound moral decisions in the face of serious illness is difficult, especially if you are in the midst of suffering. It may be even more difficult for your family and friends who want to act in your best interests and cannot clearly see what that may be.
Learn what Catholic teaching says about moral obligations related to end-of-life decisions. Take the time to fill out an advance health care directive for yourself and your loved ones.
Minnesota Catholic Health Care Directive
MCC has prepared the document, “Health Care Directives: A Catholic Perspective.” This document is a guide that answers basic questions about law, Church teaching, and completing a health care directive. Within the booklet, you will find a Minnesota Catholic Health Care Directive that meets our state’s legal requirements and reflects our Catholic teaching. Linked below is also a one-page version of the directive without the guide.
Guide To End-Of-Life Care Decisions
Additionally, MCC has prepared a guide to end-of-life care decisions. This is a brief ethical primer on medical decisions regarding life-sustaining treatments in the Catholic Tradition. It is a supplement to “Health Care Directives: A Catholic Perspective.”
How to complete your Catholic Health Care Directive
You can download and print individual copies (large print or booklet editions) of the Catholic Health Care Directive and the End-of-Life Care Decisions Guide by clicking the links below.
- Health Care Directives: A Catholic Perspective (Background Information + Directive) – Revised December 2022
- MN Catholic Health Care Directive – Single Page Front & Back (Signature block updated October 2022)
- Guide to End-of-Life Care Decisions (Revised December 2022)
- Directivas Anticipadas para el Cuidado de Salud
- Una sola página - Directivas Anticipadas para el Cuidado de Salud
- Una guía para decisiones sobre los cuidados al final de la vida
Visit www.myorderdesk.com/mncc to order bulk or individual copies through Allegra Printing.
If I have an advance directive, will it be recognized if I have COVID-19?
Persons with an advance directive should provide a copy of that document to their physician so that it can be entered into the medical record and honored. It is important to remember that the purpose of an advance directive is to express your wishes to reject or accept medical treatment if you are unable to speak for yourself. It does not mean that one can insist on receiving medical treatment if it is scarce, unavailable, or futile.
Parishes and organizations doing presentations on the two guides do not need permission to do so and can bring in their own speakers. That being said, listed below are the speakers approved by each diocese to give presentations on the guides and end-of-life matters generally. It is custom to provide speakers with honoraria for their time and any associated expenses with their presentation.
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis
- Deacon Stephen M. Najarian – [email protected] 612-787-1184
Diocese of Winona:
Diocese of St. Cloud:
- Fr. Thomas Knoblach – [email protected] 320-251-3764
Diocese of New Ulm:
- Dr. Francille (Frani) Knowles – [email protected] 507-276-3070
Pre-planning is making your cemetery and funeral arrangements prior to your death. This allows your wishes to be known, thus eliminating an incredible burden on your loved ones during the very stressful and painful hours after your death. Pre-planning is a concrete sign of your love for surviving family members. Catholic Cemeteries family services counselors are trained to assist you in this important task.
For more information on pre-planning your cemetery and funeral options visit The Catholic Cemeteries website.
For consultation requests, questions regarding the Church’s teaching on bioethical issues, guidance in moral decision-making, or for other matters to be directed to an NCBC ethicist, email [email protected]. In emergency situations, an NCBC ethicist is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 215-877-2660. NCBC ethicists do not provide legal or medical advice.
We recommend the Minnesota Catholic Health Care Directive as a meaningful alternative to POLST forms. POLST forms (in Minnesota, “Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment”) are becoming increasingly discussed in our state and nationwide, particularly for patients in long-term care settings or with terminal illnesses. While we understand the rationale for POLST, and though the Minnesota form is preferable to that in some other states, we believe that there are sufficient and significant ethical concerns that argue against its use for advance care planning. View the following links for more information on these concerns.