21 February, 2014

Francis on euthanasia: “Bad health is never a reason to eliminate a life” - Hey Québec Government! Are you listening?

Francis on euthanasia: “Bad health is never a reason to eliminate a life” - Vatican Insider

10 comments:

  1. The general message from Pope Francis conveyed in this article is obviously so relevant and so important. Sadly though, for him to state the claim and judgment that all those who beg to have their right to die upheld and their supporters belong to a class or category of human beings who have no respect for life, for the sick or the dying is unjust, cold and wrong. I believe that for him to do so casts a great shadow over the truth and serves ultimately to damage his own credibility.

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  2. Larry: First off, no one has a right to die. It's not a right. It's a simple fact of life that everyone is going to die. What you are speaking in favour of is a 'right' to choose the date, time, and manner of our death. I put the word in brackets because in my opinion there is no such right.

    Given that, we already possess everything we need to deal with terminal illnesses. We have the right to refuse treatment. We have access to palliative care to ensure that we do not suffer in pain. Beyond this, there are a plethora of means that we can use to terminate our lives privately if we so choose. What the Pope is speaking against is the state claiming the right to terminate us just as we oppose capital punishment on the same grounds.

    Just look at the experience in Belgium. First they stated with a right to have your life ended if you were diagnosed with a terminal illness. Then it expanded to anyone who felt they no longer wanted to live for lesser reasons. Now they've expanded that right so that parents now have the right to euthanize children if they believe that caring for them is too onerous. Add to this the fact that (by doctors own admission) up to 20% of those they euthanize are put down at the request of others without ever asking for it themselves and it becomes easy to see that your presumed right carries a price paid for with other's blood.

    It was the same when abortion was enshrined in law as a 'right'. It was supposed to be only for rare cases where the life and welfare of the mother was in danger. Now all those protections and restrictions lie in the dust. All that's required is that the babe be an inconvenience to its mother. If we enshrine another 'death right', it will evolve in a similar pattern with the 'inconvenient' being killed for the convenience of others.

    It's too dangerous. We are not capable of justly wielding such power over life and death.

    Fr. Tim

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  3. Excellent reply Father Tim! I couldn't agree more. The only thing I would add, which you know well, is that we already see family members intentionally changing deceased family members funeral plans in order to save money for themselves in the estate. Money, money and money will be a constant lure.

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  4. I did say “those who are begging to have their right to die upheld” which to a non-prejudiced mind would imply time and choosing and no need of ‘correction.’ Death is the natural and final stage of growth. There is nothing wrong with dying and we do have the right to die with dignity and with honor.
    “we already possess everything we need to deal with terminal illness.” “Ensure no one suffers in pain.” I suspect that you assert such things purely to support your claim because I happen to know that you are much too intelligent to really believe that to be the truth.
    Let’s not look at the experience in Belgium if we want only to look at what is wrong with it and manipulate the truth in order to ‘win’ a debate on whose moral quality is higher. Because while we are engaged in such superficial bull shit , the cry of those who are living through the unbearable suffering and agonizing torment, psychologically spiritually and physically every hour of their ‘precious’ life is callously and inhumanely being ignored. On a very fundamental level we all lose in such a process much more than imagined.
    There may well be and in fact are those who call for measures that go far beyond what the collective human compassion is calling for but those are not the calls that need to addressed ‘ at the same time they should not negate or deter us from responding to the real cry of real human hearts.
    There will always be those who take advantage of the vulnerable, the sick, the old, the dying etc…but they shall continue to be treated as criminals and the punishment should be directed to fit.
    Men like Socrates, Aristotle, Gandhi, Martin Luther King J.R. and Jesus Christ all agreed that life is precious and should be lived to the fullest. But not at all cost.

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    1. "Men like Socrates, Aristotle, Gandhi, Martin Luther King J.R. and Jesus Christ all agreed that life is precious and should be lived to the fullest. But not at all cost."
      I can't speak for the others but I'm pretty sure Jesus never ever justified mercy killing. If you got something to back that statement up please post it. Jesus was presented with the sick and dying constantly but his compassionate answer was never death but always healing.

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    2. He gave up His own life on the cross for a greater cause. ( For the common good of humanity) Who knows better than Jesus Christ that life is worth living and living to the fullest? But not at all cost.

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    3. Larry: Did you hear the CBC radio documentary yesterday on the Belgian experience? It was pretty chilling IMHO. For example, they put forward a case of a man living in a nursing home who is beginning to suffer from dementia. He had previously said that he wanted to be euthanized should he fall prey to this disease but when it was offered, he refused saying that he wanted to continue living. Among the panel of ethicists who commented on the case were doctors who said that the man should be euthanized despite his objections since he was no longer of sound mind! Clearly it is a dangerous thing to permit the state to have the authority to euthanize since others would presume to know whether or not a life is worth continuing even if the patient involved says that they want to continue living. Put simply, it's too much power placed in the hands of the state.

      Now, if someone received a terminal diagnosis they are well within their rights to decline treatment and to demand palliative care instead - a process that will hasten one's end on its own accord. Perhaps even there is some room (although I currently don't think so) where a person in such a situation may have the right to die as soon as possible with a doctor's assistance. But to legalize euthanasia is too blunt an instrument to meet this case since it ultimately has proven that eventually the decision is taken out of the hands of the patient themselves. It's a Pandora's Box which will let loose all types of problems which each carry lethal consequences. When the stakes are literally 'life and death', it is unwise to hand over such power to the state.

      BTW, I use this exact same argument to oppose capital punishment as well. Bottom line: the State should never wield the power of life and death over its citizens.

      Fr. Tim

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  5. If one is going to toss themselves off a high rise or off an overpass, I guess that's what they will do. To 'imstitutionalize' active euthanasia in a medical facility or anywhere else is frightening as hell. Trusting agents of the government, bureaucrats to get it right, walking around with lethal injections in hand is terrifying. As I mentioned earlier, the motives used to justify such a practice would never remain so humane. In my near 25 years of ministry, I have never walked with a terminally ill patient who had pain that was not controlled. I have been in such circumstances many many times and at all hours and in many places - being present with the patient and family every single day before death. Well trained personnel will be very proactive in counseling family and the patient that increasing medication for pain is something easily done.

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    1. Steve: My experience is exactly the same as yours. Euthanasia is a solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist!! No one dies in agony any more - at least not if they die of a terminal disease in a hospital or in their home. With proper palliative care, that boogeyman has been done away with years ago.

      Tim

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