faith fridays part ii: from the horse’s mouth

Faith Fridays (Part II)

I don’t normally post twice in a day, but I’m doing so this day specifically for the benefit of those who might appreciate knowing better the crux of my stand on the topic of euthanasia. My earlier "Faith Fridays" post introduced the subject through my discussion of a book I’d begun reading — and eventually closed prematurely due to the author’s description of helping end the life of her dying friend. I guess in that sense, we are alike — we both took part in the premature ending of something; her, of a life, me, of reading her book. I want to clarify first that I feel no ill will towards Lamott. I feel deceived and disillusioned, yes, but I can take a step back from those feelings and know that no one is perfect, and not all consciences are formed in the same way or to the same degree. We all have distinct journeys that we travel. I realize that. But there are times when even Peace Garden Mama feels compelled to speak out on something controversial. I’ll drop the subject soon, but at the very least, I wanted to share what has helped form my ideals — straight from the horse’s mouth. I think most will find that it makes an awful lot of sense.

So, here is the explanation of the immorality of euthanasia from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a document that came out in 1995 that provides the meaty basis of what we believe. Whether or not you agree with what you think Catholics believe (there’s a lot of confusion out there, I realize), I challenge you to at least read this explanation, if you are at all interested in this topic, of what the church of my particular faith has to say about it. And if you agree or take issue, please leave a comment. I am always up for a respectful (key word) discussion about any topic of importance. And any life-death issue is certainly important. How can we learn and grow without such conversations?

To read the original discussion, go here first: faith fridays: when an author disappoints

The rest is pasted below.

With that, I wish you peace and blessings this weekend!

P. 549, Catechism of the Catholic Church

Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.

Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

Thus an act or omission, which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interest must always be respected.

Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable. Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.