Tuesday 17th October 2017

Home » blogger » Currently Reading:

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

June 10, 2016 blogger No Comments

By BRIAN CLOWES

Part 2

(Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.)

+ + +

We have covered the definitions of the varieties of euthanasia (active and passive, voluntary, non-voluntary, and involuntary), the types of suicide, and the scientific definition of death. It is important to know terms relating to the natural end of a human life, and we should also be familiar with the soothing and deceptive terms often used by pro-euthanasia groups.
Natural death means allowing a person to die in comfort and peace by withholding excessive or heroic treatment that would only cause pain and lengthen the person’s lifespan by a modest or insignificant amount. Note that if medical professionals withheld the same treatment from a person in the same circumstances whose lifespan would be significantly lengthened by it, they would be instead committing passive euthanasia. Food, water, and oxygen must be provided during the person’s progression to natural death, because they are the right of every human being.
Letting a person die a natural death is not passive euthanasia. As Bishop René Gracida has defined it: “If the removal of a life-sustaining procedure is intended to avoid an unreasonable burden of the procedure, so that a quicker death is only an unintended side-effect of the decision, it is not a case of euthanasia.”
An associated term is palliative care, which is treatment provided in order to alleviate pain and other discomfort that accompany a terminal illness without treating the illness itself, because such treatment is considered to be futile and not in the best interests of the patient.

“Rights Talk” And Euthanasia

The Culture of Death has found that it can make great progress by emphasizing the “hard cases” and by framing all of its initiatives in terms of “human rights.” It is irrelevant whether or not such “rights” are moral or immoral, beneficial or terribly destructive, legal or illegal, or even if they exist; liberals believe that saying something makes it so, and they see all individuals as bundles of rights that must possess the maximum possible degree of freedom in order to be happy and fulfilled.
Of course, this is a very effective way to advance their own agendas, whether or not they are in the best interests of the people.
The right to die does not actually exist, according to either the laws of God or the laws of man. Pro-euthanasia activists cleverly fabricated a “right to die” in order to appeal to people who have become conditioned into unthinkingly accepting new and dangerous “rights.”
The “rights” formulated under the umbrella “right to privacy” include contraception, abortion, direct and indirect infanticide, various homosexual activities, pornography, and euthanasia. Courts have used the so-called “right to privacy” repeatedly to legitimize behavior that many people find abhorrent or immoral — quite simply because there is no possible legitimate justification for them.
Fundamentally, the “right to die” is not a right — it is the forfeiture of all possible rights, and, as in the Netherlands, Belgium, and the People’s Republic of China, will inevitably become for many people the duty to die.
As former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm asserted: “. . . We have a duty to die. It’s like leaves falling off a tree forming the humus for the other plants to grow up. We’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way with all of our machines and artificial hearts and everything else like that and let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.”
Other pro-euthanasiasts have gone so far as to allege that living a long and healthy life is actually an immoral act! John Hardwig, retired professor of medical ethics and social philosophy at East Tennessee State University, has claimed:
“There may be a fairly common responsibility to end one’s life in the absence of any terminal illness….There can be a duty to die even when one would prefer to live. To have reached the age of, say, 75 or 80 years without being ready to die is itself a moral failing, the sign of a life out of touch with life’s basic realities.”
Death with dignity is a difficult term to address, because it is so slippery and hard to define. This failing, of course, makes it a perfect tool for the euthanasia pushers.
All people, whether they support or oppose euthanasia, desire a dignified death for themselves and for their loved ones. But the primary conflict arises over the definition of “dignity.”
Pro-euthanasia activists perceive a loss of physical or intellectual dignity when a person becomes incontinent, incoherent, and confused, suffers intractable pain, or feels that he has lost control of his destiny.
Anti-euthanasia activists perceive a loss of spiritual dignity when a person loses his focus on God and instead desires only a release from an existence that he or others may find pointless and wasteful.
The terminally ill person’s state of mind highlights the difference in viewpoints.
When a person’s fear of death is exceeded only by his fear of pain or loss of control, he is in a state of mortal terror and may see death as only a blessed release from his current situation. He may indeed fear what happens after death, but primarily focuses only on his present circumstances. Such a person necessarily defines his degree of dignity by purely physical or emotional criteria.
However, when a person overcomes his fear of both death and pain, and accepts and transcends them with a deep peace at the end of his life, he realizes that purely physical measures of “dignity” are inappropriate because they are incomplete.
True compassion demands that all of us love and support one another regardless of our functional capacity or appearance, and prepare the dying for their ultimate meeting with God. This is the true definition of living with dignity, even when in the last stages of dying.
Mercy killing is an act of direct euthanasia usually committed for the alleged purpose of ending the suffering of an unproductive or terminally ill person. In reality, healthy people usually commit “mercy killings” in order to relieve themselves of the inconvenience and expense of caring for those who have (or will) become an emotional or financial burden on them. “Mercy killing” usually takes place without the express request of the victim, and is carried out in the belief that it is the most compassionate course of action.
Over the past few decades, society has defined two classes of born human beings who are not suffering, but who are nonetheless candidates for “mercy killings” — handicapped newborns who could otherwise live long lives, and people in an extended comatose state. Pro-euthanasia groups are now attempting to extend this lethal “privilege” to terminal patients and nursing home residents, regardless of their emotional state or level of pain.
It is inevitable that the number of people eligible for “mercy killings” will expand rapidly and uncontrollably, just as it did in Nazi Germany, and just as it is doing in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium today.
“Mercy killing” of both infants and adults is a logical extension of the practice of elective abortion committed to eliminate handicapped preborn babies. If healthy preborn babies can be killed up until the moment of birth because the mother perceives her health or well-being is threatened, then why can they not be killed shortly after birth, especially if they have a serious chromosomal defect such as Down syndrome?
Down syndrome children are among the happiest and most contented human beings in existence, often living well into adulthood and giving great joy to others. In fact, surveys have shown that people with Down syndrome are by far the happiest group of people on Earth, with an incredible 99 percent saying that they are satisfied and happy with their lives. Yet 90 percent of them are killed in utero, not because they will suffer, but because their parents perceive that they will suffer.
If a person accepts death on God’s terms, it is a mercy. However, if others force it on us, or if we strive for it due to the dictates of our misguided consciences, it is a dreadful burden, seemingly acceptable only because it appears to be less terrible than the pain.

It All Comes Down To Intent

Despite the forest of confusing terms, there is one certain way to determine whether an action is licit or illicit — intent. If the intent of the action or omission is to hasten the death of a person, this is euthanasia and is never morally permissible. However, if the intention of the action or omission is simply to let nature take its course and not unnecessarily prolong the process of dying, then it is permissible to withhold or withdraw a treatment or procedure.
In summary, it is intent, not the consequences of the situation, no matter how dire, that determines the morality of a particular act.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Callista Gingrich confirmed as US Ambassador to the Vatican

Washington D.C., Oct 16, 2017 / 04:46 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Monday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Callista Gingrich, wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as the next U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. The vote was 70-23. In a…Continue Reading

Pope Francis canonizes 35 new saints

(Vatican Radio) Inviting all faithful to practice Christian love every day, Pope Francis on Sunday canonized 35 new saints, nearly all of them martyrs, holding them up as models who “point the way”. To the over 35,000 pilgrims gathered in…Continue Reading

President Trump: Our ‘religious heritage’ will be ‘cherished, protected, and defended’

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump said this morning that his administration is “stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values” in a rousing speech at the Values Voter Summit. In his first major speech to a socially conservative conference…Continue Reading

Capuchin Priest Who Ministered Under Soviet Rule Moves Closer to Sainthood

VATICAN CITY — On Monday, Pope Francis advanced nine causes for sainthood, including a Capuchin priest who ministered underground across the Soviet Union for nearly 40 years. Father Serafin Kaszuba was born June 17, 1910, in Zamarstynów, near Lviv, in…Continue Reading

Notre Dame student fears losing birth control coverage under university health plan

The Trump administration’s plan to roll back mandatory insurance coverage for birth control faces a new federal court challenge. Washington state’s attorney general sued Monday to stop the new rules from taking effect. California and Massachusetts have already filed similar complaints. Last…Continue Reading

European Nation to Unite in Prayer for Its Salvation

On Saturday, October 7, up to one million Poles are expected to line the country’s border to pray the rosary. They will be joined in prayer by many others in Poland and throughout the world. This extraordinary display of public…Continue Reading

A big-money Catholic group just said it’s yanking all of its cash out of fossil fuels

A coalition of 40 Catholic institutions on Tuesday announced a decision to pull their money from — or block future investment in — fossil fuels. The Global Catholic Climate Movement called it the biggest collective announcement of divestment by Catholic…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke Returned to Vatican Court, but not as Prefect

VATICAN CITY, September 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews): Pope Francis has reinstated Cardinal Burke as a member of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court. Cardinal Burke, dismissed as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura nearly three years ago, has been appointed to…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke to offer Mass at conference exactly 100 years after major Fatima miracle

BUCKFAST ABBEY, United Kingdom, September 29, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Exactly 100 years after the “miracle of the sun” at Fatima, Cardinal Raymond Burke will offer Mass at a Marian conference celebrating the centennial of the messages of Our Lady to…Continue Reading

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POPE AND CARDINAL A ‘CARICATURE’ SAYS BURKE, BUT CATHOLICS WANT CLEARER PRESENTATION OF DOCTRINE

‘I find universally that there’s a great deal of confusion, also people feeling that the Church is not a secure point of reference’ Cardinal Raymond Burke has told an Australian newspaper that media portrayals of his relationship with Pope Francis…Continue Reading

Chicago cardinal extends invite to Fr. Martin amid cancellations

After a series of speaking appearances were canceled in recent weeks, Jesuit Fr. James Martin received a fresh offer Friday from Cardinal Blase Cupich to address his Chicago archdiocese over two nights during the coming Lenten season. The Windy City…Continue Reading

Pope Francis, Fr. Martin, and Faith without Reason

As anyone who follows things Catholic knows, a “filial correction” of Pope Francis was made public yesterday. The document, initially signed by forty scholars, priests, and bishops, had been delivered privately to the pope in July. No response was forthcoming.…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope invites prisoners to lunch, they break free instead

Bologna, Italy, Oct 17, 2017 / 03:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- They were supposed to be having lunch with Pope Francis. During his Oct. 1 trip to Bologna, the Holy Father was scheduled to dine with 20 prisoners from a local drug rehabilitation facility, along with refugees and the poor of the area, during a “Lunch of Solidarity” at San Petronio Basilica. Instead, two of the Italian prisoners shirked their invitation for what they saw as…Continue Reading

A biblical interpretation of Fatima’s Miracle of the Sun

BUCKFAST ABBEY, England, October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Miracle of the Sun which took place in Fatima, Portugal, exactly one hundred years ago today (on October 13, 1917), was one of the most extraordinary events of the 20th century. An estimated 70,000 people witnessed the Miracle of the Sun, both believers drawn by the Blessed Virgin Mary’s promise to the three shepherd children the previous July that she would perform a miracle in October,…Continue Reading

“Together Around the Table”: German Catholic Initiative Invites Protestants to Communion

Ecumenism has gone wrong one more time in Germany and has escalated into denial of the truth about the Eucharist: in the German Diocese, Stuttgart-Rottenburg, an initiative by a Catholic theologian has invited Protestants to receive Communion on a large scale. “Here on sight, we begin with a hospitable Church by inviting each other openly and cordially to Communion and the Celebration of the Last Supper [Abendmahl]” reads the “Ravensburger Manifesto” signed on October 8.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: ‘The apostasy of faith in our time rightly and profoundly frightens us’

DEVON, England, October 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The crisis in the world 100 years ago when Our Lady appeared at Fatima continues today and has also infected the life of the Church, Cardinal Raymond Burke said yesterday. Addressing a Fatima conference in England coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the final apparition, Cardinal Burke said the faithful should be realistic about the great evils besetting the world and the Church, but be full of hope…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sues Missouri for requiring women be informed about abortion risks

October 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are pushing back against a law that tightens abortion regulations in Missouri, filing suit against the state this week to block a requirement that abortionists themselves inform mothers of the medical risks. Planned Parenthood Great Plains, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri are seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction blocking the…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic. . . The Many Assaults On The Rule Of Law

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly] in Crisis. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Spiritual Riches Of A Heroic Priest

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN With God in America, by Walter J. Ciszek, SJ; editors John M. Dejak and Marc Lindeijer, SJ. (Loyola Press: Chicago 60657, 2016), 253 pp.; $19.95. Available from www.loyolapress.com or call 1-800-621-1008. An anthology of Fr. Walter Ciszek’s unpublished works in the form of writings delivered at retreats, reflections on biblical passages, letters…Continue Reading

On The Importance Of Placing Second

By DONALD DeMARCO The second, to be mathematically precise, is the time required for a cesium-133 atom to complete 9,192,631,770 oscillations. A lot more can happen within a second than most people realize. Science’s notion of exactitude has little in common with the ordinary man’s understanding of life. Fascinating as this fact is, as well…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… What God Has Planned For Us

By REY FLORES God has very interesting ways of bringing people together. The reasons are sometimes a complete mystery, until He reveals His plan to us in His own time. It is then that we realize that many of the hardships and pains that we go through are part of His bringing us closer to…Continue Reading

Our Lady Of Fatima: The September Apparition

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the eighth in a series of articles on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.) + + + The Mother of God’s appearance to the three shepherd children at Fatima on August 19…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Two Academics Enter the Lists Against The Filial Correction

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK, M.A. The battle is joined and the duel of the academics over the fate of the Filial Correction is heating up. On one side of the ring we have Robert Fastiggi, Ph.D., and Dawn Eden Goldstein, STD. On the other side we have, as of this writing, 235 signatories of the Correction. Many of these…Continue Reading

The Sacred Liturgy . . . The Liturgy Of The Church Militant

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 3 Have you, Wanderer reader, even attended Mass in one of the Eastern Rites of the Church? If you haven’t, look online for a parish of the Byzantine Rite to see how beautiful the worship of God can be among our Eastern Rite brethren. Just make sure it is Catholic, and not Orthodox, because both…Continue Reading

Scriptural Basis Of The Sacrament Of Holy Orders

By DON FIER Part 3 In our previous installment on the scriptural background for the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we examined the circumstances leading to a shift in the Old Testament from a priesthood entrusted to the heads of households and patriarchs to a ministerial priesthood divinely delegated to Aaron and his descendants within the tribe of Levi. Likewise, we…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Writing in a recent parish bulletin about “the current mania for tearing down statues and stifling free speech by cultural ingénues ignorant of history and logic,” Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City pointed out that those concerned about some of our Founding Fathers owning slaves ought to be concerned about the…Continue Reading

There Is Only One True God

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 45:1, 4-6 1 Thess. 1:1-5b Matt. 22:15-21 In the Gospel reading today, the Pharisees and the Herodians, who would normally be bitter enemies, found a common enemy and teamed up to trap Him. Although they acknowledged that our Lord taught the way of God in accordance with…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Edward The Confessor

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Middle Ages, England not only endured the raids of the Vikings, but also suffered from the raids initiated by Denmark and Normandy to control the small kingdom across the straights. Battles and intrigues were frequent, leaving little peace until the time of King Edward the Confessor. Even his reign experienced the plots and conspiracies so…Continue Reading