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Post No. 108 (Living wills)

March 24, 2013

Advance health care directives (a more explanatory name for living wills) are, in a nutshell, a person’s impression of care s/he thinks s/he will want to receive should the person be in a position where s/he cannot decide for her/himself e.g. a coma. Whether or not s/he’d like to be left to die, in other words. It is important to clarify that we are not speaking about euthanasia here. The notion careens dangerously close at times though.

There was an interesting discussion on TVHemm about all this the other day (20th March 2013).

I can’t stop myself from telling you what I think about the whole issue 🙂  (Believe me, I tried.)

One of the terms that was sprinkled quite liberally, IMO, was the “value of life”. A member of the panel even went through the trouble of subdividing said value into “moral considerations” and “social/societal considerations”.

I am not going to beat about the bush. We cannot discuss life without recourse to an absolute set of rules – namely the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 2258 – 2260. I know that the concept of “absolutism” is tantamount to troublemaking these days, but that’s not something that worries me. Life is not ours to play with – we struggle to define it, let alone give it a value. On this earth, as far as we’re concerned, life is all that we have and all that we are.

Saying things like “it’s my right to decide whether or not to die” and “I want a to die a dignified death” are pretentious and hollow (besides coming uncomfortably close to euthanasia)

And another thing. Today that I’m healthy and I can communicate – thank God – I see matters differently to how I’ll think when I’m moribund.

There’s also the fine line – in these circumstances – between killing and being unable to stop death. The CCC explains this simply and unequivocally in paragraphs 2278-79.


From → The Elephant

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