SFX for Life
A Web Ministry of the Gospel of Life Committee,
The Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier, Hunt Valley, Maryland
Building a culture of love and life in the face of a culture of utility and death
More content available on the endoflife archive page

Articles

Fact-checking claims of “well regulated euthanasia”

by Margaret Somerville
February 24, 2014 (MercatorNet) - Recently, the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, published an editorial, “Quebec gets it right on the right to die”, which articulated the strongest case that can be made for supporting legalizing euthanasia and Quebec’s Bill 52 which seeks to do just that.
At the time of publication of the editorial, the Bill was expected to pass within days. As events have unfolded that has not occurred due to an unexpected move by the opposition Liberal party members of the Quebec Legislative Assembly, which delayed the Bill being put to a vote.... Read More

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Welsh Government Lays Claim to Citizens' Bodily Organs

Key Criterion for Ethical Donation Undermined
Washington, D.C., September 11, 2013 (Zenit.org) Denise Hunnell, MD
The small country of Wales found itself the center of attention this past July when it became the first country in the United Kingdom to adopt a “presumed consent” policy for organ donation. Under this new protocol, explicit consent to be an organ donor is no longer required. All patients are considered organ donors unless they actively opt out of the organ donor pool. The Welsh government hopes this policy will increase the availability of organs for transplant by 20% to 30%. With hundreds of... Read More

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Worse Than Fiction - Euthanasia on the Rise

By: John Stonestreet | Published: September 18, 2013 5:30 AM
If you believe in the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death, it’s time to watch and pray for those at the end of life, not just the beginning.
In his novel, “Never Let Me Go,” Kazuo Ishiguro tells the story of three young people—Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy—who are repeatedly told, with their classmates at boarding school, that they’re special. But it’s not until they leave school that they learn why: They’re clones whose sole purpose for existence is to serve as organ donors.
Wikipedia describes Ishiguro’s award-winning... Read More

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To Live Each Day with Dignity:
A Statement on Physician-Assisted Suicide

Statement approved at the The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at their recent Spring General Assembly.

To live in a manner worthy of our human dignity, and to spend our final days on this earth in
peace and comfort, surrounded by loved ones—that is the hope of each of us. In particular,
Christian hope sees these final days as a time to prepare for our eternal destiny.
Today, however, many people fear the dying process. They are afraid of being kept alive
past life’s natural limits by burdensome medical technology. They fear experiencing intolerable
pain and suffering, losing control... Read More

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Netherlands looks to expand euthanasia grounds to include lonely, poor

By Gracie Ferrell Published: 2:08 PM 11/15/2011
Mississippi is not alone in the modern debate over the sanctity of life. More than 4,000 miles away, the Netherlands is caught up in its own controversy over a proposal from the Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) to expand the definition of who may qualify for assisted suicide — including for the first time such nonmedical factors as loneliness and financial struggles.
“Many older people have various afflictions that are not actually life-threatening but do make them vulnerable,” wrote the KNMG in a ten-year study report published in October.
“Vulnerability stems not only from... Read More

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Why euthanasia slippery slopes can’t be prevented

BY MARGARET SOMERVILLE
I have been receiving emails from people, including some with disabilities, who are angry about my opposition to legalizing euthanasia. The people with disabilities are not dying; they just do not want to continue living in the state in which they find themselves. It’s clear they believe they would be able to have access to euthanasia were it to be legalized.
Pro-euthanasia advocates claim, however, that only members of the “end-of-life population” – who they might be is not defined – will have access and that legalized euthanasia will be rarely used. They believe “sensible regulation” (the... Read More

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Nurse Remembers John Paul II's Last Day

Says He Took on the Cross of Everyone Who Suffers
By Mariaelena Finessi
ROME, MAY 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- “They called me in the late morning. I hurried because I was afraid that I would not arrive in time. Instead he was waiting for me. ‘Good morning, Holiness, it’s sunny today,’ I said to him immediately because it was what he liked to hear when he was in the hospital.”
This is how Rita Megliorin, former head nurse of the recovery ward at Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic, remembers the morning of April 2 when she was called to the papal apartment, to... Read More

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Bishop Morlino: gauging ‘quality of life’ an excuse to ‘pull up the hearse’

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, July 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Although framed as compassion, determining end-of-life procedures by evaluating “quality of life” merely discourages vulnerable persons, making them more likely to submit to a hastened death, according to the Catholic bishop of Madison.
“When we start evaluating the quality of somebody else’s life, that means we’re asking them to pull up the hearse. Get the hearse ready,” said Bishop Robert Morlino at a bioethics conference at Christendom College this month.
“So often people want to die because as they see what’s going on around them they see everybody as rather anxious for... Read More

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Giving Granny the Bottle - A Duty to Die?

September 30, 2009
Regular BreakPoint listeners have heard me speak about the impact of declining birth rates around the world. One consequence is that older people comprise an increasing percentage of the population in places like Japan and Western Europe.
This increases economic pressures on these countries since an aging population requires more services while having fewer young workers to pay for them.
One doctor has come up with a way to address the imbalance between pensioners and workers—that is, fewer pensioners.
What Dr. Philip Nitschke has in mind isn’t raising the retirement age—his goal is fewer pensioners.
Nitschke is... Read More

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Perinatal Hospice - The Value of a Life

September 1, 2009
Sometimes it seems that the smarter and more sophisticated we grow technologically, the less able we are to handle the most fundamental issues of life and death. All too often these days, parents whose unborn child is seriously ill, perhaps even fatally ill, are treated coldly and callously by doctors who think that they should just abort the child and get it over with.
The feelings of the parents—their love and grief for their child, their struggle to discern what’s best for that child and for their family—aren’t always taken into account.
But all of that, I’m... Read More

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End of Life Wisdom

Incompatible with Life - Supporting Expectant Parents

By: Chuck Colson | Published: November 8, 2011 3:13 PM
As pre-natal technology improves, parents are coming face to face with life and death choices unimaginable just a few years ago. Is the Church ready to help them?
Every day, parents face hard choices big and small: Whether to send their children to private or public school; whether to allow them to watch certain shows or turn off the television.
But the gravity of some choices far exceeds these common decisions — choices that parents were never intended to make.
Every year, 150,000 babies are born with birth defects. Countless more never… Read More

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The Brothers Grim - The old man and his grandson

The brothers Grimm - KHM 078
There was once a very old man, whose eyes had become dim, his ears dull of hearing, his knees trembled, and when he sat at table he could hardly hold the spoon, and spilt the broth upon the table-cloth or let it run out of his mouth. His son and his son's wife were disgusted at this, so the old grandfather at last had to sit in the corner behind the stove, and they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not even enough of it. And he used to look towards… Read More

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What if everyone thought you were in a ‘vegetative state’ but you were really conscious?

By Rob Stein, The Washington Post
Posted Nov. 10, 2011, at 10:19 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 11, 2011, at 7:03 a.m.
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All the patients had the same terrible diagnosis: brain damage that marooned them in a “vegetative state” — alive but without any sense of awareness of themselves or the world around them.
But then an international team of scientists tried an ambitious experiment: By measuring electrical activity in the patients’ brains with a relatively simple technique, the researchers attempted to discern whether, in fact, they were actually conscious and able to... Read More

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Resources

Pastoral Letter For End of Life Issues Now Available

Comfort and Consolation is a pastoral letter from the Maryland bishops that outlines Church teaching on end of life care and offers a Catholic advance directive.

Topics Include

  • Our most basic God-given right is the right to life
  • We do not have the right to take our own lives, nor directly to bring about the death of any innocent person
  • Christian faith reveals the true meaning of human suffering
  • Each of us is obliged to care for the gift of life and health that God has given us
  • No patient is obliged to accept or demand useless medical interventions
  • There is no moral obligation to employ useful but excessively burdensome medical interventions; however, the meaning of “excessively burdensome” must be properly understood
  • The Virtue of Prudence
  • Making Decisions for Ourselves
  • Making Decisions for Another
  • Impact of Burdensome Treatments on Loved Ones
  • Imminent Death and Progressive Diseases
  • Medically Assisted Nutrition and Hydration
  • The Terminal Patient Who Is Not Near Death
  • The Terminal Patient Near Death
  • The Persistent Vegetative State Patient
. . . and more.

Click here: http://www.mdcathcon.org/library/resources/documents/publications/comfconsinsidefinal.pdf

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A Wonderful Video. About 5 1/2 minutes, but DEFINITELY worth your time.

Sometimes we wonder about the value of a life. Perhaps it is enough that we have that person to love.

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Relevant Excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

2299

The dying should be given attention and care to help them live their last moments in dignity and peace. They will be helped by the prayer of their relatives, who must see to it that the sick receive at the proper time the sacraments that prepare them to meet the living God.

2279

Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.

1021

Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul -- a destiny which can be different for some and for others.

2277

Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

2324

Intentional euthanasia, whatever its forms or motives, is murder. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator.

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Relevant Quotations

It is not morally possible for any Catholic to support abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, or same-sex marriage. There are no ways around this, no justifications whatever. Why? For the simple reason that the Church holds these things to be intrinsically evil. They are evil in themselves, and no circumstances or subjective conditions can ever change that.
Fr. John Corapi

Despair is the capital city of Hell
unknown

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