If there’s one good thing to come out of the sad case of Terri Schiavo, it’s that more and more Catholics are signing living wills to make sure that their Catholic beliefs are respected when they are incapacitated.
Catholics around the country are turning to their churches for similar fill-in-the-blank documents that turn Catholic teachings into legally binding agreements about how they want to die. ... “I don’t think I have any right as a Catholic to say when my life should end,” Kelly said. “I don’t think I have a right to take my own life, a right to take anyone else’s life, and I certainly don’t want anyone taking my own life.”
Thomas Kelly had attended a seminar at his parish about the topic. His parish priest, Fr. Christopher Mahar, had intended to hand out a form distributed by the diocese a decade ago, but then realized that it was no longer in line with current Church teaching.
Mahar said he intended to hand out a legal form the diocese produced about a decade ago, but stopped when he realized it was more permissive than more recent guidance from the Vatican about when feeding tubes should be removed.
“To remove it would be considered passive euthanasia,” said the priest, who’s now working to draft a new document. “I guess what the church is trying to do is keep up with the times.”
This shows the importance of keeping up to date. It’s interesting that the priest is having to draw up a new document. Certainly the diocese—or even the USCCB—should be doing this. Thankfully, there is a national resource that you can count on at the National Catholic Bioethics Center. They provide a “Catholic End-of-Life Guide” that includes an Advanced Medical Directive and a Health Care Proxy.
Of course, as is usual in so many stories, the reporter finds a Catholic priest who is a bioethicist who muddies the waters a bit, turning the solid Church teaching into something that can be molded to include an exception or loophole.
Update: Once again my blogging software ate my entry when I first posted it. Thankfully I’ve taken steps to create backups as I write so the loss was not as severe and I was able to re-create it.
Technorati Tags:Catholic, euthanasia, living will, Schiavo