Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Vindication of Terri Schiavo by Vatican's Clear Answer on Nutrition and Hydration

re: "Special to by HLI President Fr. Tom Euteneuer / Since the election of Pope Benedict, the Church has been renewed by an abundance of blessings flowing from the Vatican. In case you did not hear, the Pope's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has just released its answer to the question of providing nutrition and hydration (i.e., food and water) to persons in so-called vegetative states. Even though a child can figure out that it's not right to starve people to death, the Vatican set the issue to rest this week. In its technically-precise language, the CDF vindicated our beloved Terri Schiavo by saying that no one can dare to commit or justify such an atrocity as her killing by any interpretation of Catholic teachings. Period. / The CDF responded to a question from the US Catholic bishops who asked whether it was morally obligatory to give food and water to a patient in such a state. The response was unambiguous: "Yes. The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life. It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented." /That was not all. The bishops further asked whether food and water could be withdrawn from the patient if there was no chance of recovery. Again, the CDF was unambiguous: "No. A patient in a 'permanent vegetative state' is a person with fundamental human dignity and must, therefore, receive ordinary and proportionate care which includes, in principle, the administration of water and food even by artificial means." And just to be sure that no stone was left unturned, the accompanying note said that this is always and everywhere true "in principle" even if there are truly exceptional circumstances where it is not morally obligatory to provide food and water. Such a case would be, for example, when the person's body is in such a state that it is physically unable to assimilate food and water. There would be no moral obligation to try and force nutrition into the person in that case, but clearly this is an exceptional circumstance which does not in any way undermine the principle of absolute respect for life in its most vulnerable moments. / How many of us, at the time of Terri Schiavo's death, actually heard even so-called "good Catholics" say that they should just let her die because "no one should have to live that way" and other nonsense like that? The real message of this declaration is that no one should have to think that murderous way any more..."...

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