Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lucia Euthanasia rears it's ugly head again

The euthanasia debate rears it's ugly head again. This time with a terminally ill doctor wished to escape his inevitable death. His emotive arguments seek to engage our compassion for his plight because he does not want to face the death that he is told might be in store for him.

He said if he was "lucky enough to have a quick death" it could come in the form of a stroke or pneumonia.  "Unfortunately what can happen is you can get a really prolonged death."
However, in trying to pave the way for his own quick and relatively painless death, this man and others like him will give doctors the power to kill. Thus turning the healer into a reaper. How will you know which person the doctor will be when you go to him or her for help?

The euthanasia argument starts with the cry that every person should have the right to end their own suffering, or have someone do it for them.  It doesn't end there, though.  Once you give a person free reign to kill others, it must become addictive or something because it continues past what is considered reasonable to killing those who are inconvenient, who have not consented, who most likely do not yet want to die. (see Half Belgium's euthanasia nurses admit killing without consent, Euthanasia in the Netherlands).

What does it do to a society where it's members are readily killed and why shouldn't we legalise euthanasia?  German priest, Fr Alfred Delp tells us:

"Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven." (Mt. 5:12)

... Tomorrow we will celebrate All Souls' Day, and the meaning of that day is the spiritual companionship of human beings and all humanity to each other, all the way beyond the stars. It is not a camaraderie, however, that simply shields man, and acquiesces to everything and permits things to happen. Rather it is a camaraderie among those doing penance and reparation, and having the desire to help one other to attain salvation and perfection.

And just yesterday, we celebrated All Saints' Day, whose meaning expressed the goal, the interior purpose of man ... As I was reading the Gospel for All Saints' Day yesterday, and reading the eight repetitions: "Beati estis, blessed are you when..." (Mt. 5:3ff – Sermon on the Mount, Gospel for the Feast of All Saints), I asked the question: What is meant by this word "blessed"? What is meant by this happiness that is promised to people here? ... Beati estis – eight times we proclaimed those words to mankind for All Saints' Day yesterday.

This past week I went to see a film here in Munich, a film that, day after day, for weeks now, has been giving people a sermon about human happiness, too. In this film, too, there is much talk of happiness and redemption and the meaning of existence...I am talking about the film, I Accuse. [5] Many of you will have heard of it. It has do with a happy family life: two people made for each other; an intimate life together; growing together from one success to the next. A happy life and happy atmosphere and happy hearts. And then like a bolt from the blue in the midst of this, comes the wife's illness, the incurable, progressive paralysis. First of all, the couple's rebellious reaction and their attempt, by any means possible, to defeat this demon. However, they reach the limits of their strength, and then comes just the right solution: To "let her go". You cannot do this to a person, cannot let her suffer like that, so you—let her go. This human being dies before bearing out the term of her suffering.

That, too, is a message about happy people. Here, too, a "beatus" is expressed, a beatus, not as a promise, but as an end in itself: Man should be happy and make others happy. When he can no longer do this, then life begins to lose its meaning; and what is meaningless is basically untenable and unjustifiable, and it dies.

We have to inwardly confront these things from our viewpoint of the value of human life, and of the eight repetitions of "beati". This has to do with the ultimate foundations. This really concerns the ultimate attitudes and decisions and, with them, there is no such thing as an interim solution. "I Accuse!" This film accuses an order of life that "forces" people to go on living and—through every pore—it accuses a God who lets something like this happen.

What do we have to say to these proposals, from our holy mountain, from the viewpoint of our holy message? The details of the film are not so important to us; lots of films are shown that are trash. But here, there is an intention and an attitude behind it. And this whole attitude is, first of all, deception. Deception is the prerequisite, the space, in which the monstrous illness breaks in. This cultivated happiness, people wandering from one joyous moment to the next... Actors can play it, but look and see if life is really like that. The deception that you should spot in the background is the idea that without the monstrous illness, this life would always be on the way to this seductive total happiness here in this world. That is the first deception, and with it, the prerequisite itself is wrong on which the whole discussion is based. And the second deception is the manner and method in which – pardon the expression – a soothing appeal is made to the tear ducts of the audience, so that sympathy removes the strength to seriously question these things. That is the second deception. The third deception is the endless discussion of love and letting go, the eternal termination of all difficulties and precepts and everything lasting, for the benefit of – indeed, for the benefit of whom? Basically, for the benefit of the more comfortable solution...

A community that gets rid of someone—a community that is allowed to, and can, and wants to get rid of someone when he no longer is able to run around as the same attractive or useful member—has thoroughly misunderstood itself. Even if all of a person's organs have given out, and he no longer can speak for himself, he nevertheless remains a human being. Moreover, to those who live around him, he remains an ongoing appeal to their inner nobility, to their inner capacity to love, and to their sacrificial strength. Take away people's capacity to care for their sick and to heal them, and you make the human being into a predator, an egotistical predator that really only thinks of his own nice existence.

The arguments in the film go like this: "This woman is no longer the same as the beautiful wife whom I loved." And from the wife's side: "My husband cannot love me anymore if I am ill and ugly; tired and wasting away." What kind of a marriage vow was it that applied only to sparkling eyes and beautiful cheeks, but did not apply to the loneliness, to the distress, to standing together all the way to the finish! Some like to call these arguments "the greater love": Rather, it would be the greater cowardice that pulled back here. Pulled back to escape from the responsibility, from the innermost attitude of commitment to another human being. It is escape. It takes away from man the last chance of his existence.

W. Corsari has written a book, The Man without a Uniform, [6] which tackles the same problems: Doctor or human being? Is it permissible for a doctor to "let someone go" someone by killing them? The doctor does it and is ruined by it. One patient escapes him. After fifteen years, he meets her again, crippled, ruined, sclerotic. "Well," he asks her, "would you have wanted to die, at that time?"

"Yes, perhaps, at that time. But not today. Not anymore. What these fifteen years of conscious suffering have revealed to me about inner values, and what I have learned to understand and to comprehend, that makes up for everything else."

Because one is fleeing from what is hard, one takes away a human being's last chance of maturing, of persevering, of proving himself. That is why the whole thing is not only a lie and an escape. It is a rebellion. It is an outrage. It is an encroachment on rights that must stand inviolable if the entire cosmos is not to fall apart. It is an outrage against the Kyrios, the one and only Lord of life. Where God, the Lord, has not set aside the right to existence, that right stands inviolably under His love, under His fidelity, and under His punishment. A nation that lets a human being die, even a human being in the most extreme situation, will die itself. It is an outrage against the human being who, through his birth and his existence alone, already has rights that no one can take from him, and that no one can touch without disgracing humanity, and disgracing himself, and despising himself.

That is the view of life from our holy mountain. When we hear "beati estis, blessed are you", then it is always connected to a promise, to a trial: When you hunger and thirst...When you suffer persecution...When you persevere...When you remain in [God's] order...When you stay faithful...When you carry on with life as it stands, rather than wanting to remodel it out of personal right, and personal might, and personal authority ... As His own image and likeness, God released man into life and promised: "Your reward will be great and glorious in Heaven."

Fr Delps was executed by the Nazis in 1945.

Related link: "It is a rebellion": Alfred Delp's Timeless Message Against Euthanasia ~ Insight Scoop

6 comment(s):

KG said...

I cannot be a hypocrite here. If the choice is to watch my beloved suffer an awful death or (at her request) to help her end her life relatively painlessly it would be my duty as I see it to help her do it.
Love carries it's own burdens, it's own duties and obligations and I can think of none higher which over-rule those.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Keith, I decline to argue with your position, or its premises; I've often been tormented over the same question. But I beseech you: Remember the Big Checklist. Every check mark against an item on that list brings us one step closer to the final victory of the Death Cults.

Do what you must, but please, please, don't confer that privilege on the already-too-powerful State, or one of its favored monopolies!

Andrei said...

You know KG, I been at death beds several times in my life.

And it is important to make the persons last hours comfortable and if in doing so you hasten the end a little, I don't have a real issue with that. We live in an imperfect world.

A doctor who administers pain relief for that purpose may know that it will hasten death but provided the motivation is analgesia not death its ok. Conscience dictates.

But you know where it will go if the Government gets involved and makes rules and has committees to sign off death warrants for the ill.

Just see how it has turned out for abortion which has become a form of contraception with 17500 last year alone.

In truth we would end up putting down people who may in some cases have years of life left to live.

Do you doubt this?

ZenTiger said...

At the personal level, I can see many reasons for the conflicts in this area. They call for much discussion and deep reflection.

I think though it is good to focus on what the State would do with this power. The whole concept of "being a burden" and "costing society" has been steadily promoted for many years.

The environmentalists have spoken of over population and fondly imagine one child policies and the "early retirement" that euthanasia offers.

The "quality of life" justifications seemingly get broader and broader every day.

KG said...

I should have been clearer, which isn't unusual!
I'm adamantly opposed to state-sanctioned euthanasia and very aware of the 'slippery slope' argument there.
But on a personal level, we have to do what we must and suffer the consequences. The legal consequences, I believe, should never be watered down. A person acting in good faith as part of the contract with their partner would never fear them because the cost of living with that act would far surpass anything man's law could inflict.
(writing this at work, in a hurry)

KG said...

"In truth we would end up putting down people who may in some cases have years of life left to live.

Do you doubt this?
No, Andrei I don't. Not for one minute. The State has never yet had a power it didn't abuse.

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