The Vatican's bioethics chief has called the assisted suicide of an American woman with terminal brain cancer "reprehensible".
Brittany Maynard's death in Oregon on Saturday, following a public declaration of her motives aimed at sparking political action on the issue, has sparked fierce debate over assisted suicide for the terminally ill.
Ms Maynard, 29, stated she wanted to die with dignity, but Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told ANSA news agency that "dignity is something other than putting an end to one's own life".
"Brittany Maynard's act is in itself reprehensible, but what happened in the consciousness we do not know," he said.
He warned that he was not judging individuals "but the gesture in and of itself should be condemned".
Rev Dr Ignacio Castuera, a board member of Oregon-based advocacy group Compassion & Choices, said Ms Maynard was not Catholic and it would be wrong to impose a set of religious beliefs on people who did not share them.