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Euthanasia and Catholic Teaching

Adapted for the classroom from a prezi created by Farah Rajaee and Krizia Lopez

Juliette Bentley

on 5 June 2014

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Transcript of Euthanasia and Catholic Teaching

What is Euthanasia?
Euthanasia is when a person decides to painlessly end another person's life, or when the patient decides to end their own life
Global problem
Illegal in most countries
Pope John Paul II in "Evangelium Vitae" describes Euthanasia as "an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, with the purpose of eliminating all suffering"
Why do some people advocate Euthanasia?
Irreversible coma
Extremely ill
Three reasons for advocating euthanasia: people want to remove the unbearable pain, people have a right to commit suicide, and people should not be forced to live (“Euthanasia")
Euthanasia is Controversial
Debate between religious leaders, medical doctors, the law, and the general public
Medical doctors have to decide whether or not the technologies such as feeding tubes or artificial kidneys are useful in individual situations; do they actually help or are they just preventing the death that is inevitable?
Multiple Terms Explaining Euthanasia
Negative Euthanasia
Positive Euthanasia
Passive Euthanasia (Columbia University)
Groups For Euthanasia
End of Life Choices is a group that advocates euthanasia (Columbia University)
Laws about Euthanasia
Supreme Court Case,
Cruzan vs Director of Missouri Department of Heath
(Columbia University)
California "Death with Dignity Statue" (Columbia University)
Possible to challenge
Euthanasia is also known as assisted suicide, and it is illegal in most states
However, terminally ill patients may receive suicide pills or drugs still (Columbia University)

What does Australian Law say about euthanasia?
By: Farah Rajaee and Krizia Lopez and adapted for the classroom by Juliette Bentley
Works Cited
Columbia University, Press. "Euthanasia." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. History Reference Center. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.
"Euthanasia." Euthanasia. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
GruenHQ. “The Pitch: Euthanasia (Compulsory Euthanasia by 80).” Online video clip. Youtube. Youtube, 8 Aug. 2013. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.
John Paul II. Encyclical Letter. Evangelium vitae. 25 Mar. 1995. 21 Feb. 2014. Web.
Pennock, Michael. Catholic Social Teaching: Learning and Living Justice. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria, 2000. 76+. Print.
"Library: What Is the Church's Teaching on Euthanasia? - Catholic Culture." Library : What Is the Church's Teaching on Euthanasia? - Catholic Culture. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.
Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. 2nd ed. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2000. Web.

Reason One: Ending the Pain
Reason Two: The Right to Commit Suicide
Biggest argument advocates of Euthanasia have is that they are ending the pain for the person who is dying (“Euthanasia")
Almost all pain is treatable
Instead of killing people to cure the pain, society needs to teach the doctors how to treat the pain by keeping the patient alive
This is the second most common argument used by advocates of Euthanasia (“Euthanasia")
Is euthanasia really the right to commit suicide or the right to kill?
Law changed
Suicide is an individual choice; euthanasia involves other individuals who facilitate the death
Reason Three: Nobody Should Be Forced To Stay Alive
Humans still have free will
Have to respect what the person wants not what the family wants
Instead of forcing the patient to use life support, people should try to make the last moments of a person's life enjoyable and make sure they are comfortable (“Euthanasia")
Why Not Euthanasia
Catholic Church disapproves of Euthanasia
Four Arguments on why Euthanasia does not benefit society (“Euthanasia")
Euthanasia is not restricted only for those who are terminally ill
Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment
Euthanasia will no longer be voluntary in the future
Euthanasia does not value the importance of human dignity and human life
Euthanasia will not be for only the terminally ill
What exactly is the definition of terminally ill, and how can we keep that definition limited?
Terminal illness can be defined as old age, someone near death, or someone suffering from psychological pain or physical pain ("Euthanasia")
Terminal illness can even be extended to anyone who has suicidal thoughts
Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment
Will Euthanasia still be voluntary?
Euthanasia is a rejection of human value and dignity
Euthanasia and Catholic Social Teaching Principles
According to the Catechism
The Church's Teaching on Euthanasia
The poor and minorities are usually not given access to pain control
Facilities that are suppose to help these discriminated people have actually paid their doctors to not provide for these people
Doctors are at financial risk
Legalizing euthanasia will not only save the doctors, but governments might consider it to cut the budget
Governments could cut back on the money they give to treatment and start supporting the "treatment" of death instead ("Euthanasia")
Legalizing euthanasia will turn the issue away from the importance of the sin with God and make it more about money and acceptable in society
"If the choice of euthanasia is considered as good as a decision to receive care, many people will feel guilty for not choosing death" (“Euthanasia")
Easier financially to choose euthanasia
People do not want to become a burden
People who advocate euthanasia say that voluntary euthanasia will not lead to involuntary euthanasia (“Euthanasia")
Legalizing euthanasia may lead to people being expected to choose assisted suicide
Once euthanasia is legalized, it will be open to society and the Supreme Court to determine the limits
Though it is okay to take life in certain causes (eg- abortion when mother's life in danger, self defense, etc) should it be okay to take away a life through euthanasia?
Acceptable because someone's life is being saved
In euthanasia, no lives are saved since a life is only taken without positives (“Euthanasia")

The process of dying is spiritually important, and should not be disrupted
•Many churches believe that the period just before death is a profoundly spiritual time
•They think it is wrong to interfere with the process of dying, as this would interrupt the process of the spirit moving towards God

Euthanasia ignores two of the basic Social Teaching principles: Respect for Life and Human Dignity
Pope John Paul's Encyclical Letter "Evangelium Vitae"
Evangelium Vitae
Second Vatican Council condemns attacks on human life
Pope John Paul II refers back to the Council
Basically he says that by not respecting life or the human dignity of yourself and others, it is disobeying God
Evangelium Vitae
Second Vatican Council condemns attacks on human life
Pope John Paul II refers back to the Council
Basically he says that by not respecting life or the human dignity of yourself and others, it is disobeying God
Euthanasia involves a person controlling death by taking their life into their own hands
Euthanasia is sometimes justified by citizens as ending the suffering on another person without inflicting heavy costs on society, but that still does mean it is acceptable
Pope John Paul II even extends euthanasia to be removing organs without respecting criteria that verifies the death of the donor to increase the availability of organ transplants
Evangelium Vitae
Though Euthanasia may seem "humane" and "logical" because it ends life "in a gentle way," it is actually senseless and inhumane
Ignoring the Catholic Social Teaching Principle of respect of life
Though undergoing euthanasia is a sin, forgoing the medication to help a person extend their life is not
With new technological advances in science, doctors can prolong life
These medical treatments that may put excessive burdens on the family can be avoided without committing a sin
"To forego extraordinary or disproportionate means is not the equivalent of suicide or euthanasia; it rather expresses acceptance of the human condition in the face of death"

Evangelium Vitae
Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.
Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.
Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.
Pope Pius XII, who witnessed and condemned euthanasia programs of the Nazis, was the first to person to explain the moral problems and provide guidance.
In 1980, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released its Declaration on Euthanasia which further clarified this guidance and showed that the Catholic Church did not consider euthanasia a valid means of ending life.
Given these principles, it is believed that each person has the right to use ordinary means of caring for personal health in ways that will not hinder the patient or family. (Library: What Is the Church's Teaching on Euthanasia? - Catholic Culture)
What is Acceptable?
A person can, but is not obligated, to use extraordinary means
Factors that should be considered because using extraordinary means should be: "whether the treatment provides reasonable hope of benefit to the patient and what the degree of burden is to the patient and his family." (Library: What Is the Church's Teaching on Euthanasia? - Catholic Culture)
Catholic Social Teaching
According to our textbook Euthanasia is a violation of the fifth commandment which forbids killing; it can never be justified.
The popular definition of euthanasia is "mercy killing"
Although many see suffering and euthanasia as the only two options for someone with a terminal illness, people forget the option of compassionate care
A Growing Move to Legalize Euthanasia
1. A cultural climate that sees no value in suffering, in fact, views it as the worst of all evils.
2. People who neglect God often think they have sole control over life and death.
3. An aging population puts pressure on a costly healthcare system. Some see euthanasia and assisted suicide as "cost effective."
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."
Deuteronomy 30:19-20
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die;"
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
Questions For Discussion:
True or False: The Catholic Church supports Euthanasia because it is ending the suffering of a person, thus helping them

True or False: Euthanasia is against the fifth commandment

True or False: Euthanasia respects the dignity of a human being

If the patient states in their will that they would like euthanasia, then should the doctor perform it?

What are the alternatives to euthanasia?
2 case studies:
1.paralysis from fall, drs suggested turning off ventilator; and
2.advanced motor neurone disease, wife advised by doc to turn off ventilator and end suffering.
Discussion time - how would students respond if it was their spouse etc.
Group feedback - should they be allowed to end suffering?

Research Stephen Hawking and Christopher Reeve and consider their contributions to society after losing the use of their bodies.
In a Venn Diagram compare how a Utilitarian and a Catholic perspective on Euthanasia might differ.
Utilitarian Perspective
Common Beliefs of Catholics and Utilitarians
Catholic Perspective
In pairs consider the following questions:
1. Does the sanctity of life exist?
2. What drives people to commit moral evils?
3. Are all moral evils equally wrong?

Watch the following video and choose one or two questions to respond to. It is important to see where we stand at the beginning of an investigation of moral issues so that we can compare our initial position to a more informed one later.

Once the video is over, respond to the last question posed and write three sentences giving your answer.

Revision Video
First Things First!
Full transcript