Pope Francis is trying to crack down on euthanasia in Catholic-run charity clinics. Earlier this month, he issued a decree ordering an organization in Belgium run by the Brothers of Charity to stop practicing euthanasia on patients in their psychiatric centers.
Although euthanasia is explicitly outlawed by the Catholic Church, it is largely accepted in Belgian society. In fact, voluntary euthanasia has been legal in the country since 2002. This created a problem. Over time, physicians at the Catholic clinic stopped adhering to the Church's anti-euthanasia policies. Once they began administering euthanasia to non-terminal, mentally troubled patients a direct infringement of canon law -- church leaders determined something must be done.
Now the Vatican is trying desperately to reel them in.
"A Violation of Divine Law"
The Vatican's official stance is clear: "the pleas of gravely ill people who sometimes ask for death are not to be understood as implying a true desire for euthanasia." Acquiescing to such requests, the Church argues, is a violation of the divine law that all life is sacred and worth protecting. Even if a patient sincerely wants to die, it's against God's will to carry out the request.
Beyond the obvious moral quandary of ending a human life, there are other concerns to take into account. For example, the Church believes that patients who have legitimate mental illnesses do not know what is best for them at the moment, and should not be able to decide to end their own lives.
Can People Choose to Die?
Up until recently, the Belgian charity strictly opposed euthanasia. Charity clinics would do everything possible to help alleviate a patient's depression and give them reasons to live. If the individual still wanted death, they would be transferred elsewhere (where, presumably, they would get their wish).
However, this policy didn't jive with some physicians in the organization. They wanted patients to have a choice, arguing that "respect of life is fundamental, but autonomy for the person is on the same level." The group argued that they needed to adapt. The Catholic position was outdated, they said, and didn't align with Belgian culture where euthanasia is a widely accepted practice.
Well, clearly the Vatican didn't agree.
According to Brother Rene Stockman, head of the charity, the organization will comply with the pope's decree. He says it is only "logical" for the Catholic charity to acquiesce to the Pope's demands because, "when you are religious, then you have to be in line with the Church."
Is the Pope Right?
Although the pain that psychiatric patients suffer is not clearly visible to the naked eye, there is no doubt that many of these individuals are indeed in pain. When it comes down to it, this debate centers around one larger question: is a tortured life worth living?
One side says yes, absolutely, no matter what. Life is inherently sacred, and even if it's full of pain it cannot morally be brought to premature end. Any poor soul seeking death should be given counsel and guidance to show them the error of their ways.
The other side disagrees. If an individual is truly suffering, and they wish to end things on their own terms, then they should be allowed to do so. We should not tell people how or, more accurately whether to live their lives.
What do you think? Should individuals have the right to die, or is that a fundamentally immoral policy? Did Pope Francis do the right thing by intervening?
As for the Catholic church, he is the leader. His words are the law of that church. I was taught that suicide, murder, euthanasia are all a sign of your lack of faith in God. However, this is just a comment. I Pray that never have to make that call.
While suicide, either directly or through another, is not a good idea spiritually, each individual has the right to decide to live or die, without the interference of religion...
Generally most people that do take their own lives are suffering through a mental illness and there for should not be judged. By anyone earth bound.
Just because a governmental city, state, or country states suicide is legal, does NOT mean it is legal in the eyes or God. Human life is a previous gift from God and should always be respected! Everyone in the ULC Monastery have a blessed night!! John Smithkey III, RN, BSN.
Mr. Smithkey, I would ASSUREDLY want to KNOW WHEN and HOW YOU JOHN LOOKED INTO the EYEs of GOD ???
Should that not read: Pope Francis Euthanizes Catholic Euthanasia???
The decision of the Catholic Church, is the decision of Lucifer, and every body on our earth knows, all the criminal actions, committed by the the priests around the our world. I agree with TOM. FURTHER, I would like to let other thinkers, that this idea comes from ROM, to give the doctors the opportunity to kill those who oppose the Catholic Church and its allies, by false documents, signed by the victims, who signed their death, under the pressure. Don't interfere ROM, with your allies, because HUMANITY has identified you. If this law is validated, we will see how many people are going to die without their wish. That is the way, how rich the Catholic Church became, after the killed people left their WILL......to Rom favor.... Rom is now is trying to realize other tactics, to kill more people to help the allies of Lucifer. TOM and other thinkers like him, are on the way to gain more power, against the stinky and rotten power of the Catholic Church and its creators.
The Catholic church is against euthanasia. Your rant that the church wants to kill off people who oppose it shows you didn't read the article. The Catholic church has been around for over 1500 years. I do not agree with all their decrees but it is not totally evil as you assert. I believe your comments is hateful and prejudice.
The Roman Catholic Church is a private organization. Upon joining, their members agree to abide by the rules and regulations of that body. If individual members, or organizations that are even partially funded by the church disagree with the rules and regulations, they have two choices...resign and move your religious affiliation elsewhere or obey. While I may not agree with the church's edicts in many instances, I am not a Catholic and am not beholden to their regulations. Do I fault the Catholic Church for its beliefs? No. As is any organization, they are free to adopt and enforce any regulations they choose.
I want to ask all the pious people commenting on this if they have ever seen the painfilled, tortured face of a person with terminal cancer. Who after having gone through, surgeries, radiation and the worst of it, chemotherapy which actually poisons your body. After all that they are still not cured and daily wracked with pain from a disease that eats your body. Having gone through all that, been vigilant to the lord, spends inordinate amount of time reading the bible and in prayer. Faith not wNing in the least, there daily prayer is ,"i hope that I've done a good job for you lord, but if you aren't gonna heal me then please let me die, take me home to be with you". Knowing that he was incurable, you couldn't relieve all of the pain, then as a doctor I would most assuredly make that patients life comfortable and allow them to slip into that heavenly embrace of gods love that awaits all believers. Yes, the Pope went to far as the Pope does an awful lot. But he is allowed his interpretation as are we all. But his statement lacks a key element, loving compassion. We cannot go through life strictly adhering to a book of rules, regulations or whatnot without having room for exception. Love is the biggest maker of ecceptions.
Well written. In my body and my life I should be able to choose the peace of death over pain which seems infinite. It is cruel to judge others by what makes oneself feel spiritly comfortable.
IF you have a fatal diagnosis and your end stages are going to turn you into a vegetable or cause extreme pain I say yes then a person should be allowed to die. However as someone who struggles with depression the thought of a clinic listening to the whims of depressed patients and putting them down horrifies me as none of us truly want to die and always change our mind but some don't their minds soon enough. This is the kind of misuse of it that many religious leaders lead by Jewish leaders warned us about. It is a road we should not go down.