Download Artificial Nutrition and Hydration: The New Catholic Debate by Bishop Anthony Fisher (auth.), Christopher Tollefsen (eds.) PDF

By Bishop Anthony Fisher (auth.), Christopher Tollefsen (eds.)

Pope John Paul II shocked a lot of the clinical international in 2004 together with his strongly worded assertion insisting that sufferers in a continual vegetative country could be supplied with meals and hydration. whereas many Catholic bioethicists defended the Pope’s declare that the lifetime of all people, even these in a power vegetative country or a coma, used to be worthy preserving, others argued that the Pope’s place marked a shift from the conventional Catholic instructing at the withdrawal of clinical therapy on the finish of lifestyles. the talk between Catholic bioethicists over the Pope’s assertion purely grew extra severe throughout the controversy surrounding Terry Schiavo’s loss of life in 2005, as bioethicists on each side of the controversy argued in regards to the legitimacy of removal her feeding tubes. This number of essays by way of probably the most well-known Catholic bioethicists addresses the Pope’s statements, the ethical concerns surrounding synthetic feeding and hydration, the refusal of remedy, and the ethics of deal with these on the finish of life.

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As MacIntyre and Hauerwas have both demonstrated, it is often the ‘profoundly disabled’ who best draw our attention to what we really value—or should really value—in the human person: namely, their intrinsic, metaphysical nobility rather than their presently apparent, contingent abilities (MacIntyre, 1999; Hauerwas, 1986). What I am suggesting, then, is that the Christian notion of the sanctity of life is more than secular dignity and inviolability dressed up in religious poetry. With the eyes of faith one comes to see every human being, and especially those most desperate, repugnant or beyond help, as the image of God, as the suffering Christ, as a potential spiritual sibling and Temple of the Holy Spirit, worthy not just of ‘respect and care’ but of a ‘mad’ love akin in some ways to worship.

The problems with contemporary quality-of-life thinking are well known and I need not repeat the arguments. I would note, however, that this kind of thinking is far from the monopoly of the nonreligious. g. in the better-dead-than-not-having-spiritual-experiences line which I will examine below. One way of reading ‘sacred’ in ‘the sanctity of life’ is to say it means that Christians have a reverence for human beings in excess of that commanded by secular ‘dignity’ or that they take a more absolute line on the inviolability of human life than merely philosophical argument would warrant.

30 Cf. Dt 21:18ff; Prov 21:17; 23:20f; 28:7; Ecclus 31:12ff; 37:32ff; Tit 1:12. 31 Cf. John Paul II, 1995, no. 43. 32 Cf Lk Chs. 10–14. 33 Cf. ; 9:22; Mt 18:23 ff; 20:34; 24:45 ff; Lk 10:33 ff; 15:11 ff; 16:1 ff; Jn 21. 34 Cf. Jn 13:35. 35 In this essay I have focused principally on the Gospel as a source of a theology of food and feeding. A more complete treatment would survey other important Christian sources, such as the Old Testament, the Epistles, the works of the Fathers and the Scholastics, sacramental practice (especially the Rites of Care for the Sick, Dying and Recently Deceased), sacred art and music etc.

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