Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Euthanasia Vacation?

Yesterday , I was speaking to a patient's power of attorney, the person they designated to make health care decisions for them. I was explaining how his aunt was starting to decline due to kidney failure, dementia and several other conditions. She has no pain or discomfort, but is losing weight and not eating well. I just wanted to clarify how aggressive he wished we be with her medical treatments and diagnostics. He then expressed a desire to take her to Oregon where "euthanasia is legal." I carefully explained that it actually is not legal there or in any other state and how he could be assured I would provide as much pain medication to his aunt, IF, and WHEN, she needed it, but would not do so now with no clear indication. Nor would I give her enough medication to "hurry it up."

When I got off the phone, I scratched my head and wondered, how as a society we could possibly have gotten so unhinged? This is not the first time I have had patient's family express these thoughts. I can appreciate their desire to not see their loved one suffer but our society has lost the concept that there is indeed value in suffering and it can't be completely eliminated. It is not, nor ever will be morally acceptable to kill the patient to cure their suffering.

"Life is a gift of God, and on the other hand death is unavoidable; it is necessary, therefore, that we, without in any way hastening the hour of death, should be able to accept it with full responsibility and dignity. It is true that death marks the end of our earthly existence, but at the same time it opens the door to immortal life. Therefore, all must prepare themselves for this event in the light of human values, and Christians even more so in the light of faith. As for those who work in the medical profession, they ought to neglect no means of making all their skill available to the sick and dying; but they should also remember how much more necessary it is to provide them with the comfort of boundless kindness and heartfelt charity. Such service to people is also service to Christ the Lord, who said: "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt. 25:40).(Vatican Statement, 1980)

Here's a link to the entire Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith's statement regarding Euthanasia approved by Blessed JP2


Anonymous Mrk said...

I hear stories of places like the Netherlands, where the elderly are terrified to go to the hospital, for fear their "loved ones" will order euthenasia--more to ease THEIR burden. From what I understand, over there, it's easy to get a power of attorney over another, so even the patient is left out of the decision It's a slippery slope. And it's tragic and barbaric.

July 29, 2011 9:22 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey Pinyan said...

There are two words or phrases that are bandied about when euthanasia is brought up in a positive light: "compassion" and "putting someone out of his/her misery". One is wrong (and dreadfully so) and one is correct (and dreadfully so).

It is not "compassionate" to euthanize someone; at least, not according to what "compassion" means. It comes from the Latin com- ("with") passio -> patior ("suffer, endure"). To be compassionate toward someone is to suffer with them, not to remove their suffering (and their life along with it). Euthanasia is utterly anti-compassionate.

But euthanizing someone certainly does "put him out of his misery." Again, we must consider what "misery" and "miserable" really mean. The Latin root is miser ("pitiable"): misereo means "to show pity" and miserabilis means "worthy of pity." To show pity to someone means to show mercy to them. Indeed, the word "mercy" comes from the Latin misericors (misereo + cor "heart"), essentially meaning "a heart that shows pity". So yes, euthanizing a man puts him out of his misery! It removes from him the need to be shown mercy to; it removes from him that which compels another who has a heart to show him mercy.

July 29, 2011 9:24 AM  
Blogger Shirley said...

How chilling that the first thing out of the mouth of the person in charge of the affairs of this elderly woman was the desire to euthanise her.

July 29, 2011 9:57 AM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

Abortion pretty much makes anything else possible.

July 29, 2011 2:25 PM  
Anonymous russ said...

thanks for the comments

July 29, 2011 8:40 PM  

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