Saturday, January 02, 2010

Montana Becomes Third U.S. State To Embrace Euthanasia

"The eclipse of the sense of God and of man inevitably leads to a practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism and hedonism. Here too we see the permanent validity of the words of the Apostle: "And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct" (Rom 1:28). The values of being are replaced by those of having. The only goal which counts is the pursuit of one's own material well-being. The so-called "quality of life" is interpreted primarily or exclusively as economic efficiency, inordinate consumerism, physical beauty and pleasure, to the neglect of the more profound dimensions-interpersonal, spiritual and religious-of existence.

In such a context suffering, an inescapable burden of human existence but also a factor of possible personal growth, is "censored", rejected as useless, indeed opposed as an evil, always and in every way to be avoided. When it cannot be avoided and the prospect of even some future well-being vanishes, then life appears to have lost all meaning and the temptation grows in man to claim the right to suppress it.

Within this same cultural climate, the body is no longer perceived as a properly personal reality, a sign and place of relations with others, with God and with the world. It is reduced to pure materiality: it is simply a complex of organs, functions and energies to be used according to the sole criteria of pleasure and efficiency. Consequently, sexuality too is depersonalized and exploited: from being the sign, place and language of love, that is, of the gift of self and acceptance of another, in all the other's richness as a person, it increasingly becomes the occasion and instrument for self-assertion and the selfish satisfaction of personal desires and instincts. Thus the original import of human sexuality is distorted and falsified, and the two meanings, unitive and procreative, inherent in the very nature of the conjugal act, are artificially separated: in this way the marriage union is betrayed and its fruitfulness is subjected to the caprice of the couple. Procreation then becomes the "enemy" to be avoided in sexual activity: if it is welcomed, this is only because it expresses a desire, or indeed the intention, to have a child "at all costs", and not because it signifies the complete acceptance of the other and therefore an openness to the richness of life which the child represents.

In the materialistic perspective described so far, interpersonal relations are seriously impoverished. The first to be harmed are women, children, the sick or suffering, and the elderly. The criterion of personal dignity-which demands respect, generosity and service-is replaced by the criterion of efficiency, functionality and usefulness: others are considered not for what they "are", but for what they "have, do and produce". This is the supremacy of the strong over the weak." (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, No. 23).
Supremacy of the strong over the weak. This is the Molochian Gospel. It is a "gospel" advanced by President Barack Obama who has said that, "We are God's partners in matters of life and death" - see here.


Roger Vaste said...

How long before the ideologically unwanted are euthanized? Such as orthodox Catholics, Jews, and others who refuse to accept the New Order?

Ann Neumann said...

That's hyperbole and fact-less logic, Roger. The law in Montana, as in Oregon and Washington, only applies to the dying. And it only allows a doctor to prescribe lethal meds without prosecution. The patient must, should they decide, take them themselves. Those who have been sentenced to death by a terminal disease now have the ability to say when their suffering ends.

There is no "slippery slope," as you suggest. It too is illogical when you consider other laws in the US.

But here is the rub: the Church has a theological need for suffering. The body in pain is most vulnerable community with Christ and to salvation.

All the talk of the poor, the elderly, the disabled being effected by this law is scare tactics. The church has influenced laws regarding life and death since forever - and now the Catholic Church manages 20% of all patient beds in this country.

In a pluralistic society, when 50% funded by the federal government and tax exempt, a Church entity makes private decisions for patients 1/5 of all patients. That's power over the least of these. Redefines "god-fearing" for the patient who does not want artificial nutrition and hydration but whose hospital imposes it anyway.

As to your sad point: religious tolerance, born of logical separation of state and the founding of the country ensures, when upheld, that all may practice their faith as they wish. Just not impose them on others. I'm Mennonite; my people learned the value of separation of church and state a few centuries ago.

If you are attached to your suffering, suffer away. Those who don't have a religious obligation to suffer should be free to keep their own conscience.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

The facts of history demonstrate otherwise Neumann. Dr. Leon Alexander, a psychiatrist at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, once explained how the Third Reich came to devalue all human life: "The beginnings were at first merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement, that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually, the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted, and finally all non-Germans. But it is important to realize that the infinitely small wedged-in lever from which this entire trend of mind received its impetus was the attitude toward the nonrehabilitable sick."

Stewart said...

"the patient who does not want artificial nutrition and hydration but whose hospital imposes it anyway." Too often, the patient is made to feel (by both family members and health-care providers) that they are a "burden" and should "let go." Who decides which life has value and which doesn't? A death panel?

No thanks.

Ellen Wironken said...

It's L A Neumann who isn't interested in facts. Speaking of New Hampshire's Assisted Suicide Bill (H.B. 304), the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide said, "Tragically, elder abuse is a common occurrence in today's society. Elderly patients could easily be pressured by family members or unscrupulous health care providers into requesting assisted suicide. Although the bill specifically states that it prohibits coercing or using undue influence on a patient to request the deadly drugs [137-L:15, II], nothing in the bill prohibits managed care providers, insurance companies or others from suggesting assisted suicide to a patient or from encouraging a patient to request a lethal prescription."

There is a slippery slope. The Nazis began with euthanasia and eugenics. They ended with a Holocaust of Jews, Catholics and other peoples deemed "unsuitable" to the Third Reich.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I would recommend to all a thorough read of Pope John Paul's Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae. Especially Nos 64-67 for our present discussion.

No. 66: "Suicide is always as morally objectionable as murder. The Church's tradition has always rejected it as a gravely evil choice. Even though a certain psychological, cultural and social conditioning may induce a person to carry out an action which so radically contradicts the innate inclination to life, thus lessening or removing subjective responsibility, suicide, when viewed objectively, is a gravely immoral act. In fact, it involves the rejection of love of self and the renunciation of the obligation of justice and charity towards one's neighbour, towards the communities to which one belongs, and towards society as a whole. In its deepest reality, suicide represents a rejection of God's absolute sovereignty over life and death, as proclaimed in the prayer of the ancient sage of Israel: "You have power over life and death; you lead men down to the gates of Hades and back again" (Wis 16:13; cf. Tob 13:2).

To concur with the intention of another person to commit suicide and to help in carrying it out through so-called "assisted suicide" means to cooperate in, and at times to be the actual perpetrator of, an injustice which can never be excused, even if it is requested. In a remarkably relevant passage Saint Augustine writes that "it is never licit to kill another: even if he should wish it, indeed if he request it because, hanging between life and death, he begs for help in freeing the soul struggling against the bonds of the body and longing to be released; nor is it licit even when a sick person is no longer able to live". Even when not motivated by a selfish refusal to be burdened with the life of someone who is suffering, euthanasia must be called a false mercy, and indeed a disturbing "perversion" of mercy. True "compassion" leads to sharing another's pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear. Moreover, the act of euthanasia appears all the more perverse if it is carried out by those, like relatives, who are supposed to treat a family member with patience and love, or by those, such as doctors, who by virtue of their specific profession are supposed to care for the sick person even in the most painful terminal stages..."

ACatholicinClinton said...

Pope John Paul II described our culture of death (abortion and euthanasia) as a "conspiracy against life." Oh wait, MD (Mary Donovan?) assures us that there are no conspiracies. I guess we can all sleep well.

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