Euthanasia

Euthanasia

Euthanasia (Greek for ‘easy death’) is the practice of ending a life so
as to release an individual from an incurable disease or great suffering.
Voluntary euthanasia involves a request to terminate their life by the dying
patient or that person’s legal representative. Passive or negative euthanasia
involves not doing anything to prevent death that is allowing someone to die,
active or positive euthanasia involves taking deliberate action to cause a
death.

The growth in the practice of euthanasia stems in part from a false belief
that life can be judged in terms of its quality and if that quality is not of a
high standard then we human beings have a right to terminate it. The Christians
answer is that life cannot be subject to quality control because God “created
man in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created
them. God blessed them.” And as such all human beings rich, poor, healthy,
handicapped or terminally ill have every right to live as long as God wills.
Since God is the author of life only God can determine when and under what
circumstances our life on this earth is to be terminated.

“It is I who bring both death and life” Deut: 32:39

One of the main thrusts for euthanasia today is to people who are terminally
ill. It is wildly believed that there are only two options opens open to them,
either they die slowly in unrelieved suffering or they receive euthanasia. In
fact there is a middle way that of creative and compassionate caring or
palliative care. This is the active total care of patients and their families by
a multi-professional team when the patient’s disease is no longer responsive
to curative treatment. The Hospice movement is one of the best examples of this.
“From man in regard to his fellow man I will demand an accounting.” Gen 9:5.

Very often it is during the time of terminal illness that people have time to
reflect on the way they have lived their lives, to make amends for the wrong
done and to prepare mentally and spiritually for their own death. Those involved
in hospice work often observe a mending of family relationships and a
rediscovery of mutual love.

“You are Gods own people that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him
who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Peter 2:9.

Those nursing the terminally ill testify to how they themselves are helped by
the very people they are nursing. Parents of handicapped children testify that
they draw closer to God through sharing in the life of one who needs them
utterly.

It is often through facing the hardship that terminal illness brings and
through learning to accept the help of others that human character and maturity
develops most fully. Death if properly managed can be the final stage of growth.
If we lose the opportunity of caring for vunerable people we become less human
and a lot more selfish. Voluntary euthanasia would deny us these possibilities.

The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus message, “I come that they may
have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10.

In his Encyclical on the value and inviolability of Human Life Pope John Paul
states, “That every person open to truth and goodness recognizes the sacred
value of human life from its very beginning until its end. In a special way
believers in Christ must defend and promote this right because, “By his
Incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human
being.” This shows us not only the boundless love of God who “so loved the
world that he gave his only son” John 3:16 but also the value of every human
person.

The Second Vatican Council, over thirty years ago made a statement which is
probably more relevant today than it was then: “Whatever is opposed to life
itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion or euthanasia, whatever
violates the integrity of the human person… are infancies indeed. They poison
human society ad they do more harm to those who practice them than to those who
suffer the injury. Moreover they are a supreme dishonor to the creator.”

Throughout the bible old age is given dignity and reverence when speaking of
Eleagar, “He preferred to make a noble decision worthy of his age, of his
noble years of his shinning white hair.

Illness does not drive a person to despair and to seek death, but makes him
cry out in hope, “I kept my faith, even when I said,