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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Pope denounced something!

UConn's (that is the University of Connecticut) newspaper, The Daily Campus, has a commentary from the editorial board on the Pope's recent statements on euthanasia.

Title:
Pope Mistaken On Euthanasia

First line:
Pope Benedict XVI denounced euthanasia over the weekend, once again proclaiming life a gift from God and asserting that it could not be terminated under "the guise of human compassion."

[Yes, a 78-year-old man who has various academic degrees denounces euthanasia, a mistaken position. At the same time, Cardinal Martini's arguments are nuanced (more on that later in the essay).]

Thesis statement:
While it is indeed the pope's prerogative to take a stance on such divisive issues, the purportedly infallible Benedict is undoubtedly mistaken on the issue of euthanasia. Without question, euthanazing a pain-wrought patient who is not going to recover is an act of genuine human compassion that should not be prohibited.

[It is his prerogative, thanks for the boon. Ohhhh, mention how the Pope is purportedly infallible as a counterpoint to calling his misguided views mistaken, that is just so clever! Everyone should go to UConn!]

Second paragraph, first line:
Many terminal illnesses can be extremely painful to endure.

[Oh really! Thanks for sharing that gem, who knew!?]

Third paragraph:
The pope ought to heed the words of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who contradicted the pontiff last month when he said that terminally ill patients deserve the right to refuse "unreasonably obstinate" treatment that will merely stave off inevitable death. While Martini does not support active euthanasia, i.e. administering a lethal injection to a dying patient, his nuanced perspective on the subject is appreciated, given the generally unyielding nature of the Vatican. Perhaps, in the future, a pope may come to realize, like Martini, that allowing a consenting party to die is not tantamount to murder.

[This Martini guy is smart and nuanced. Why isn't he Pope? He's a man of the 21st century.]

Conclusion:
Societies proscribe murder because killing another human being entails violating his or her rights. In the case of an individual who wants to die, however, preserving life does not mean preserving one's rights - it means violating them. While the pope is right to believe that life deserves respect, he is wrong to maintain that all life must be continued. As evidenced by the will of some patients to die, some lives simply are not worth continuing. In these cases, euthanasia is the most rational and compassionate course of action.

[The wise, rational, compassionate and purportly infallible student editorial board of The Daily Campus of the University of Connecticut, USA has spoken!]

2 comments:

Louis E. said...

As far as I'm concerned,a desire to die is necessarily insane and its possessor needs to be protected from it.What "nuance" there is is discretion on measures for treatment,which does not excuse any action whose deliberate object is to ensure death.One may risk one's life to do something,but not if one's own death is the object.

J. A. Baumgartner said...

The author of this article is an idjut. Someone should inform him of the difference between refusing treatment and directly causing death. Then someone (the same or another) should explain to him the difference between allowing someone to die and causing them to die. The cardinal's statement and the pope's statement are both within Catholic moral theology. There is no contradiction between them. What is mistaken and unnuanced is taking two individual points by two individuals and building them into two bogus systems supposedly at odds with each other.

Catholic moral theology teaches that treatments which do not provide substantial benefit over an extended period of time or treatments which are otherwise gravely burdensome may be refused. Catholic moral theology also allows treatments which alleviate pain, even when these treatments are likely to have the unintended secondary effect of death.

Catholic theology simply does not state that life must be prolonged at all costs or that patients must be allowed to suffer. This is complete fiction. The pope is simply reiterating the Church's teaching that directly causing the death of a human person is murder. Had the author read any of Ratzinger's writings on moral theology, he would know this.