Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dignity2012 in Massachusetts: Saying no to an anguished plea for help and love

In its Declaration on Euthanasia issued on May 5, 1980, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had this to say:

"Human life is the basis of all goods, and is the necessary source and condition of every human activity and of all society. Most people regard life as something sacred and hold that no one may dispose of it at will, but believers see in life something greater, namely, a gift of God's love, which they are called upon to preserve and make fruitful. And it is this latter consideration that gives rise to the following consequences:

1. No one can make an attempt on the life of an innocent person without opposing God's love for that person, without violating a fundamental right, and therefore without committing a crime of the utmost gravity.

2. Everyone has the duty to lead his or her life in accordance with God's plan. That life is entrusted to the individual as a good that must bear fruit already here on earth, but that finds its full perfection only in eternal life.

3. Intentionally causing one's own death, or suicide, is therefore equally as wrong as murder; such an action on the part of a person is to be considered as a rejection of God's sovereignty and loving plan. Furthermore, suicide is also often a refusal of love for self, the denial of a natural instinct to live, a flight from the duties of justice and charity owed to one's neighbor, to various communities or to the whole of society - although, as is generally recognized, at times there are psychological factors present that can diminish responsibility or even completely remove it. However, one must clearly distinguish suicide from that sacrifice of one's life whereby for a higher cause, such as God's glory, the salvation of souls or the service of one's brethren, a person offers his or her own life or puts it in danger (cf. Jn. 15:14).



In order that the question of euthanasia can be properly dealt with, it is first necessary to define the words used. Etymologically speaking, in ancient times Euthanasia meant an easy death without severe suffering. Today one no longer thinks of this original meaning of the word, but rather of some intervention of medicine whereby the suffering of sickness or of the final agony are reduced, sometimes also with the danger of suppressing life prematurely. Ultimately, the word Euthanasia is used in a more particular sense to mean 'mercy killing,' for the purpose of putting an end to extreme suffering, or having abnormal babies, the mentally ill or the incurably sick from the prolongation, perhaps for many years of a miserable life, which could impose too heavy a burden on their families or on society.

It is, therefore, necessary to state clearly in what sense the word is used in the present document. By euthanasia is understood an action or an omission which of itself or by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may in this way be eliminated. Euthanasia's terms of reference, therefore, are to be found in the intention of the will and in the methods used. It is necessary to state firmly once more that nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying. Furthermore, no one is permitted to ask for this act of killing, either for himself or herself or for another person entrusted to his or her care, nor can he or she consent to it, either explicitly or implicitly. nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action. For it is a question of the violation of the divine law, an offense against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity.

It may happen that, by reason of prolonged and barely tolerable pain, for deeply personal or other reasons, people may be led to believe that they can legitimately ask for death or obtain it for others. Although in these cases the guilt of the individual may be reduced or completely absent, nevertheless the error of judgment into which the conscience falls, perhaps in good faith, does not change the nature of this act of killing, which will always be in itself something to be rejected. The pleas of gravely ill people who sometimes ask for death are not to be understood as implying a true desire for euthanasia; in fact, it is almost always a case of an anguished plea for help and love. What a sick person needs, besides medical care, is love, the human and supernatural warmth with which the sick person can and ought to be surrounded by all those close to him or her, parents and children, doctors and nurses."

Dignity2012, which describes itself as "a coalition of concerned citizens supporting the proposed Massachusetts Death with Dignity Act," has gathered nearly 80,000 signatures from Massachusetts residents when only about 70,000 signatures are required to put a measure on the ballot.  If you're not concerned about this, you should be.  You should be very concerned. 

Stephen Crawford, spokesman for Dignity2012, argues that the petition, " not physician-assisted suicide in the sense we traditionally think of it.  These are self-administered drugs."  Maybe so Mr. Crawford.  But, as the Church teaches us, "Intentionally causing one's own death, or suicide, is therefore equally as wrong as murder."  And history has shown us, Mr. Crawford, that mass murder can begin with very small steps until a society becomes desensitized by all the killing.

The drugs might be "self-administered" under the "Death with Dignity Act," but patients would still be "under the care of a physician" who would guide them through the process of euthanasia even though they have taken the Hippocratic Oath and sworn to "do no harm." 

Death with Dignity you call it.  Adolph Hitler issued a decree in October of 1939 which was back dated to September 1, 1939, and which widened, "the authority of certain physicians to be designated by name in such manner that persons who, according to human judgment, are incurable can, upon a most careful diagnosis of their condition of sickness, be accorded a mercy death."  See photo.

And we all know where Nazi Germany went from there.  Soon after, Jews, Catholics and others who were ideologically unwanted (not to mention those who suffered from developmental disabilities) were put to death.

"Death with Dignity" sounds very much like "Mercy Death."

The Psalmist tells us that, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it" (Psalm 126). This scriptural truth holds for the building of families, societies, nations, international communities and, most of all, Churches. Ignoring this immutable truth, the culture-of-death advocates are determined to create a Moloch state where the God of love is replaced by "the god of technocracy who experiments and flouts the law of love in the laboratory" (Fr. Miceli).

Having abandoned the God of love, the Supreme Creator, 21st-century man is now ready to worship himself and to usurp the divine powers of creation and destruction. In the words of Dr. Edmund Leach of King's College at Cambridge: "The scientist can now play God in his role as wonder-worker, but can he - and should he - also play God as moral arbiter?...There can be no source for these moral judgments except the scientist himself. In traditional religion, morality was held to derive from God, but God was only credited with the authority to establish and enforce moral laws because He was also credited with supernatural powers of creation and destruction. Those powers have now been usurped by man, and he must take on the moral responsibility that goes with them" (Edmund Leach, "We Scientists Have the Right to Play God," The Saturday Evening Post, November 16, 1968, p. 16).


David said...

Massachusetts is not the state I grew up in. How far the Commonwealth has sunk. It's just a matter of time before people are being euthanized against their will.

Henry G. said...

From the Doctors Against Suicide website:

Death with Dignity Act: Compassion and Choices (formerly The Hemlock Society) and the Death With Dignity Center, operating together under the alias “Dignity 2012,” have put forward and are seeking approval for the so-called Death with Dignity Act (HB 3884) that would legalize doctor prescribed suicide (DPS) in Massachusetts. They gathered 70,000 signatures on a petition to ask the legislature to act on the measure. Hearings on the proposed law were held at the statehouse on March 6 at which proponents and opponents testified. Over 40 people came out to testify against DPS including Dr. Lynda Young, president of the Mass. Medical Society.

If the legislature fails to take action on the bill, as expected, DPS supporters (officially known as Dignity 2012) will need to collect 11,485 additional voter signatures between the beginning of May and July 3rd. This will enable them to place the “Death with Dignity Act” as a ballot initiative on the ballot in the election November 6, 2012. This has been the plan of the “Death with Dignity” folks from the beginning–to have DPS go before the voters where they feel they have the best chance of success.

The folks at Dignity 2012 are following the same playbook as was used in Oregon and Washington State where ballot initiatives successfully legalized DPS. Oregon’s Measure 16 was approved in November, 1994 with 51.3% cast in favor and 48.7% against. Washington State legalized DPS when voters approved Initiative 1000 in the November, 2008 general election, 57.8% in favor and 42.2% against.

A Dangerous Idea: As physicians and health care professionals we know that Doctor Prescribed Suicide goes against our basic principles as healers. We know that Doctor Prescribed Suicide is a dangerous idea. This proposed law is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, being promoted as a compassionate alternative for those suffering at the end of life.

Not Massachusetts: Physician-assisted suicide has already been legalized in Oregon and Washington state. Physicians in those states tell us they now realize the great danger of assisted suicide. Let’s keep this dangerous practice out of Massachusetts.

Join their efforts to oppose this evil legislation masquerading as "compassion" and "dignity."

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