The Ugly Side of Dying

September 23, 2008 09:00 AM
Just when you think the euthanasia forces have taken a siesta, they come out swinging for yet another round of fear mongering. And this time, the grotesque scenarios suggest to me that these people honestly believe they have a duty to promote the art of killing.
Let's start off with Britain's Baroness Mary Warnock. You may recall her involvement in promoting reproductive technology, including human cloning. In 2002, she pleased her American counterparts by stating that her belief that there are no "major ethical obstacles" to reproductive cloning for medical purposes. In fact, she claimed that infertile couples could benefit from it, asserting, "If it becomes a procedure which is . . . safe then it seems to me there needs to be a lot of thought before it is absolutely ruled out."
And most recently, she is telling the world that dementia sufferers may have a duty  to die. At 84 years of age, her comments are still respected and reported by many in the European media, and she is described as "Britain's leading moral philosopher." The British newspaper, the Telegraph, tells readers,
A prominent supporter of euthanasia, she has previously suggested that pensioners who do not want to become a burden on their carers [sic] should be helped to die.
Last year the Mental Capacity Act came into effect that gives legal force to "living wills", so patients can appoint an "attorney" to tell doctors when their hospital food and water should be removed.
But now she is advocating something even more ominous and unethical, namely, that the government should allow "licensing people to put others down."
Alex Schadenberg, a Canadian who does know the meaning of moral ethics, wrote about Lady Warnock's incredibly demented comments by reminding his readers of one very important characteristic of those who market planned death:

The euthanasia lobby has always sold their goals within the framework of suffering, terminally ill people who make a free choice to die. They are a movement that rarely reveal[s] their real goals.

Dr. Philip Nitschke – Australia's Dr. Death, hopes to distribute a "peaceful pill" that would be available to anyone who is tired of living. Nitschke stated several years ago in an interview with the National Review that the "peaceful pill" would be available to troubled teens.

One could argue that these people never met a disease they couldn't "cure" permanently. Their perspective on a patient facing dreadful illness is not only unpleasant, but deadly.
Not to be outdone by non-American death mongers, the state of Washington is deciding whether the law should assist a patient to take his own life when it becomes too burdensome
Initiative 1000 will be voted on in November. The Seattle Times' coverage of the debate between the supporters of euthanasia and those opposed to decriminalized killing was rather skewed. The reporter opines that voters' "experiences and fears about death are triggering powerful emotions."
Well, no kidding! When everything voters hear or read about in the newspaper tells them that suffering is not to be confronted or accepted under any circumstances, what sort of emotions should they be feeling?
It has been obvious for years that euthanasia forces do their best evil work when they march out people who are seriously debilitated, tell the public that they cannot bear it any longer and demand that someone be required by law to help them die. This very argument has been at the foundation of euthanasia claims for more years than I can count.
But the funny thing is, Americans are not buying it anywhere, except in Oregon, and even there, problems abound. The reason many of us reject the arguments designed by euthanasia pushers to frighten the elderly, the infirm and the disabled is that we do not want to see our nation become another Netherlands or Britain! We sincerely want truly compassionate care, not direct killing in the name of pain management.
A paralyzed man quoted in the SeattleTimes article said, "They see me as helpless, someone whose life isn't worth living. That's what this campaign is all about."
He is one of the many whose lives inspire those of us with properly formed consciences and faith in God and His will, to press on and defend life. We do not do this because suffering is highly desired; we do it because even when pain is unbearable or debilitation might appear to render someone less than a whole person, we know better. We know that within each person is a soul bestowed by God and that each person's innate human dignity can never be negated, even by those who market freedom from pain achieved through premature death.
In the midst of all this pressure on people who believe everything they hear on TV or read in the newspapers, one would expect Catholic medical ethicists, at least, to come out and defend human dignity. But no. Just recently, we read about a Catholic priest, described by some as a "noted ethicist and theologian." His name is Father Kevin O'Rourke, SJ, and he is being praised by the Catholic Health Association as a "vanishing breed of ethicist."
Mind you, this is the very same Catholic priest who argued in favor of starving Terri Schiavo to death! As I wrote last year, "Bishop Robert Lynch, Terri's bishop, never lifted a finger to help the family, nor did he speak out in Terri's defense. Theologians such as Father John Paris of Boston College condoned the killing, as did Fathers Kevin O'Rourke and Richard McBrien."
At a critical moment in history such as this, where "ethicists" are joining forces to market more murder and mayhem than ever, one would think that someone as admired as Father O'Rourke would be at the forefront of defending human dignity. He should be reminding people that human beings are, always and in every case, precious and that their lives are never to be ended by the will of another based on subjective judgment, self-interest or cost savings to a hospital.
Isn't it tragic that such is not the case, at least when it comes to the likes of Father O'Rourke? But all is not lost. It never is!
A few days ago, Pope Benedict XVI visited the shrine of Lourdes, a place in France where many who are suffering go not only to find the miracle of healing but also to feel the presence of grace at a time when their lives seem hopeless. During that visit, the Holy Father said something that I wish could be impressed on the hearts and minds of all those who take it upon themselves to tell us who should live and who should die. He said,
In Lourdes, in the school of Mary, first and perfect disciple of Christ, pilgrims learn to regard the crosses of their lives in the light of the glorious cross of Christ. God has so loved us that he gave himself up for us: This is the message of the Cross, "mystery of death and of glory."

The cross reminds us that there is no true love without suffering, there is no gift of life without pain. Many learn this truth in Lourdes, which is a school of faith and hope, because it is also a school of charity and of service to brothers.
As our world appears headed further down into the abyss, let us take heart and inspiration from these words of wisdom. Let us oppose the purveyors of death with truth, hope and love.
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