Catholic End-of-Life Care Decisions

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.

Online Ordering

Visit 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.


Parish Presentations

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

Diocese of Winona:

Diocese of St. Cloud:

Diocese of New Ulm:

The Knights of Columbus, Catholic United Financial, and Catholic Community Foundation are interested in sponsoring presentations on end-of-life planning with parishes and organizations. If you would like to connect with them about programming and ways in which they can help provide resources for events, please contact the following:

  • Knights of Columbus: TBD
  • Catholic United Financial:  Steve Wendorf, Director of Marketing, 651-490-0170
  • Catholic Community Foundation: TBD

Catholic Cemeteries

Cemetery and Funeral Planning

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.

National Catholic Bioethics Center

Points to Consider: Triage in the Perspective of Catholic Bioethics

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 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.