Sunday, March 27, 2005

A more sensible Catholic attitude on Schiavo case

I like this man's approach. It doesn't require that we agree on the nature of the soul. If the losing side in the Schiavo controversy agree with this man, perhaps the whole controversy could be addressed in the context of the previous post.

Naaaaaaa..... Probably not.

The Seattle Times: Local News: 5 Times columnists consider issues of faith in Schiavo case: "
The Rev. Patrick J. Howell is a Jesuit priest and dean of Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry.

The Rev. Patrick J. Howell

Q: What would you do if you were making the decision in Schiavo's case, and to what extent is this decision driven by what your faith says on end-of-life issues?

A: The Roman Catholic Church has a consistent 400-year-old tradition that says nobody is obliged to undergo extraordinary means to preserve life.

This is Holy Week, when the Christian tradition is saying, 'We understand that life is not an absolute good and death is not an absolute defeat.' The whole story of Easter is about the triumph of ultimate life over transitory death. Catholics have never believed that biological life is an end in and of itself. It is a gift of God, and we are ultimately destined to return to God.

As far back as 1950, Gerald Kelly, the leading Catholic moral theologian at the time, wrote, 'I'm often asked whether you have to use IV feeding to sustain somebody who is in a terminal coma.' And he said, 'Not only do I believe there is no obligation to do it, I believe that imposing those treatments on that class of patients is wrong. There is no benefit to the patient, there is great expense to the community, and there is enormous tension on the family.'

I have been blessed in my own family with a great deal of practical realism. My parents both made it very clear 30 years ago that they did not want extraordinary means or an artificial prolonging of life through nutritional tubes. My mother, now 89, has a degenerative heart condition and has made it very clear through a living will she does not want emergency resuscitation or any other extraordinary measures should her heart fail.

The situation with Terri Schiavo is truly tragic. I hope her family and especially her parents will have the support and care they need to grieve her loss."

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