Second of two parts
[THE July 14 dispatch of the Catholic Zenit.org carried an analysis titled “Confronting the Rality of Euthanasia” by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB, who is the CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and a consultor to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Fr. Rosica’s analysis explains why the Church opposes euthanasia. Times Publisher/Editor Rene Q. Bas comments on Fr. Rosica’s analysis.]
Fr. Rosica continues:
“Human life and human dignity encounter many obstacles in the world today, especially in North America. When life is not respected, should we be surprised that other rights will sooner or later be threatened? If we look carefully at the great dramas of the last century, we see that as free markets toppled Communism, exaggerated consumerism and materialism infiltrated our societies and cultures. Aging populations, especially in the west, and resulting smaller workforces are now creating a market push towards euthanasia. As St. John Paul II wrote: ‘a right to die will inevitably give way to the duty to die.’ “
Isn’t that what happened to the right to have an abortion in Europe and then the United States? In the beginning, women won the right to choose whether to continue allowing the new life in their womb to be born. Then families and society pressured pregnant women to have an abortion because new babies would cause inconvenience to everybody because they need care, food, medicine and special treatment and would eat up the resources of families and society. Soon enough most women developed a guilt about being pregnant, and many, even those who didn’t want to terminate their babies, had abortions because they had a duty not to cause trouble to their families, society and the health care system.
Fr. Rosica continues:
“In a very powerful message addressed to the Pontifical Academy for Life this past February, Pope Francis wrote about a very current theme, dear to the Church. ‘In our society there is a tyrannical dominance of an economic logic that excludes and at times kills, and of which nowadays we find many victims, starting with the elderly.’ He affirmed that we see the existence of a ‘throwaway’ culture, in which those who are excluded are not only exploited but also rejected and cast aside.
“In the face of this discrimination, Pope Francis considered the anthropological question of the value of man and of what may be the basis of this value. ‘Health is without doubt an important value, but it does not determine the value of a person. Furthermore, health is not by itself a guarantee of happiness, which may indeed be experienced even by those in a precarious state of health.’ Therefore, he added, ‘poor health and disability are never a good reason to exclude or, worse, eliminate a person; and the most serious deprivation that the elderly suffer is not the weakening of the body or the consequent disability, but rather abandonment, exclusion, and a lack of love.’ ”
Fr. Rosica pointed out that Pope Francis “emphasized the importance of listening to the young and the old whenever we wish to understand the signs of the times.” He quoted the Popes comment that “a society is truly welcoming to life when it recognizes its value also in old age, in disability, in serious illness, and even when it is at its close; when it teaches that the call to human realization does not exclude suffering but instead teaches to see in the sick and suffering a gift to the entire community, a presence that calls for solidarity and responsibility.”
Fr. Rosica ends his analysis with an exhortation to the faithful.
“As Catholics and Christians, we have a responsibility to confront the intrusion of euthanasia in our society—especially if we are to understand our moral obligation as caregivers for incapacitated persons, and our civic obligation to protect those who lack the capacity to express their will but are still human, still living, and still deserving of equal protection under the law. There can be no true peace unless life is defended and promoted.”
[The first part of this article appeared on Monday July 21.]