At a time where society is becoming more and more open to the idea and practice of killing those who are terminally ill, it is important that those who still hold rational and moral views on the topic are heard. So it was wonderful to read the NZ Catholic Bishop’s Statement: The Dangers of Euthanasia which was released yesterday.
The Bishops have reminded us of the differences between extraordinary methods of treatment and euthanasia by saying “… it is one thing to withhold or withdraw extraordinary methods of keeping a person alive when it is no longer sensible to do so; it is another thing to do something, or omit to do something for the purpose of terminating a person’s life. In the former case, we are simply allowing a person to die. In the latter case, we are killing.” This distinction is important as some people misunderstand what true euthanasia is.
Also discussed are the social pressures that can occur once euthanasia is introduced and the danger of people being “euthanised” without their consent simply because they have a disability, dementia, or are too much of a drain on resources.
The Bishop’s have commended the use of palliative care, and the need to care for people as they suffer emotionally, psychologically and spiritually as they near the end of life. They wrote “The real moral imperative is on us all to be bearers of hope and to offer selfless care to all those who are sick, disabled and dying while ensuring that there are adequate resources for palliative care.”
The statement also went on to say that “True compassion calls for us all to stand alongside, and in solidarity with, all those who are suffering. We commend all those who already do so much to care for those people who are sick, elderly or disabled as well as those who are dying. The mark of a great society is evidenced in its ability to care for those who are most vulnerable.”
It is important that each one of us actively cares for all those in our communities who are vulnerable. We cannot stand by and let euthanasia become part of our society. And as the Bishop’s remind us “we need to learn how to live well and die well.”
The Dangers of Euthanasia: A Statement from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops
Death As A Salesman: What’s Wrong With Assisted Suicide? by Brian P Johnston An excellent book that gives clear answers as to why euthanasia/assisted suicide is wrong.