Newsletter of the District
- September 1998
study prepared by the
Academy of Catholic Traditional Biomedical Ethics
is the intentional killing of a person, for compassionate motives,
whether the killing is by a direct action, such as a lethal injection,
or by failing to perform an action necessary to maintain life.
For euthanasia to occur, there must be an intention to kill.
word Euthanasia comes from the Greek language: “eu” means good and
“thanatos” means death. The meaning of the word has evolved from
“good death”. It now refers to the act of ending another person’s
life, at their request, in order to minimize suffering.
comes in two main forms:
Euthanasia: Hastening the death of a person by removing life
support equipment (e.g. a respirator), or stopping medical procedures,
medications etc., or stopping food and water and allowing the person
to dehydrate or starve to death. These procedures are performed
on terminally ill, suffering persons so that natural death will
occur sooner. It is also done on persons in a Persistent Vegetative
State - individuals with massive brain damage who are in a coma
from which they will not recover.
Active Euthanasia: Causing the
death of a person through a direct action.The term ‘Assisted Suicide’
is vaguely related to Euthanasia. It usually refers to a situation
in which information and/or the means of committing suicide (e.g.
drugs, carbon monoxide gas) are given to a person so that they can
easily terminate their own life without further assistance. The
term “voluntary passive euthanasia” (VPE) is becoming commonly used.
One writer suggests the use of the verb “to kevork”. This is derived
from the named of Dr. Kevorkian, a Michigan doctor who has promoted
VPE and assisted at the deaths of dozens of patients.
commonly discussed is involuntary euthanasia. This concerns the
killing of persons who cannot express their wishes, because of immaturity
(such as a newborn infant), mental retardation or coma. Here, it
is decided by others that that person would be better off dead.
October of 1939 amid the turmoil of the outbreak of war, Hitler
ordered widespread “mercy killing” of the sick and disabled. The
Code named “Aktion T 4,” the Nazi euthanasia program to eliminate
“life unworthy of life”, at first focused on newborns and very young
children. Midwives and doctors were required to register children
up to age three who showed symptoms of mental retardation, physical
deformity, or other symptoms included on a questionnaire from the
Reich Health Ministry.
decision on whether to allow the child to live was then made by
three medical experts solely on the basis of the questionnaire,
without any examination and without reading any medical records.
expert placed a + mark in red pencil or - mark in blue pencil under
the term “treatment” on a special form. A red plus mark meant a
decision to kill the child. A blue minus sign meant a decision against
killing. Three plus symbols resulted in a euthanasia warrant being
issued and the transfer of the child to a ‘Children’s Specialty
Department’ for death by injection or gradual starvation.
had to be reported if they suffered from schizophrenia, epilepsy,
senile disorders, therapy resistant paralysis and syphilitic diseases,
retardation, encephalitis, Huntington’s chorea and other neurological
conditions, also those who had been continuously in institutions
for at least 5 years, or were criminally insane, or did not posses
German citizenship or were not of German or related blood, including
Jews, Negroes, and Gypsies. A total of six killing centers were
established including the well known psychiatric clinic at Hadamar.
November 19, 1995)
When and where did the modern voluntary euthanasia movement start?
In l935 in Britain, in l938 in the U S A, and in l980 in Canada.
The British and America groups were very small and insignificant
for the next two decades.
When did the movement start to become bigger and more vocal?
After the hugely-publicized Karen Ann Quinlan ‘right to die’ case
in New Jersey in l976 which revealed to the public the extent of
modern medical technology to extend life indefinitely in a persistent
How many people support voluntary euthanasia for the terminally
Opinion polls show average support of 60 percent in the USA, 74
percent in Canada, and 80 percent in Britain. When actually voting
in official ballot measures, the support has been 46 percent in
Washington State (l991), 46 percent in California (l992), and 51
percent in Oregon (l994).
How many physicians support voluntary euthanasia?
Numerous opinion polls indicate that half the medical profession
would like to see it made law. It also appears that about 15 percent
of physicians already practice it on justifiable occasions. The
leaderships of the professional medical associations, like the American
Medical Association, remain adamantly opposed.
Where does the main opposition to voluntary euthanasia come from?
From the Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Also religious
sects on the religious right.
Which religious sects officially support the principle of voluntary
euthanasia for the terminally ill?
The United Church of Christ (Congregational), the Unitarian Church,
and the Methodist Church on the West coast of America. It appears
that the congregations of most churches are divided on the issue.
Where is voluntary euthanasia (assisted dying) lawful in the world?
In only two places. (1) The American state of Oregon, where its
citizens in November, l994, voted for Ballot Measure 16 which permits
physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill under limited
conditions. This law is held up by an injunction obtained by the
National Right To Life Committee on the grounds that the law is
unconstitutional. The Measure 16 sponsors are appealing this ruling
to a higher court in the Spring of l996.
In May of l995 the legislature of the Northern Territories State
of Australia passed a voluntary euthanasia law which permits terminally
ill people to ask for medically assisted death either by injection
or taking the drugs themselves. This law will come into effect some
time in l996.
But what about the Netherlands where it has been going on for years?
Assisted dying (euthanasia) is still technically a crime in the
Netherlands (Holland), but the Dutch Parliament and Supreme Court
have ruled that, provided certain conditions are met, physicians
may assist people to die with either lethal injection or fatal drugs
taken by mouth. The majority choose the injection because it is
copyright on these facts provided that the following is included:
Source: ERGO! (Euthanasia Research & Guidance Organization)
SUFFERING, AND DEATH
DOCTRINE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
suffering and death are the natural consequences of our corruptible
nature. Our body is indeed made up of millions and billions of cells.
But when there is such composition, there is the possibility of
disintegration and destruction coming from the wear and tear of
the cells. The difference between us and animals is that we have
a spiritual soul which can survive the destruction of the body.
Our body, just as the other bodies of creation, is corruptible.
the first paradise, Adam and Eve had, with the state of grace, the
special gift of impassibility (absence of suffering) and of immorality.
There are two other gifts that do not concern us here: integrity
(absence of disordered passions) and knowledge. It is interesting
to know how this gift of immortality was given to the first man.
It was by eating the fruit of the tree of life. A violent death
remained possible but a special Providence of God prevented it.
as a consequence of his first sin of rebellion against God, Adam
lost sanctifying grace and the special gifts. God “cast out Adam
and Eve and placed before the Paradise of pleasure cherubim, and
a flaming sword, running every way to keep the way of the tree of
life” (Gen 3:24) lest Adam “take of the tree of life and
eat and live forever” (Gen 3:22). Then aging , suffering and
death entered the world. They must be now considered punishment
for sin. “By one man sin entered into this world, and by sin
death.” (Romans 5:12)
since the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the
world, aging, suffering and death, united to the sufferings and
death of Our Lord during his Passion, obtain supernatural fruits
if we are in the state of grace:
obtain the reparation of our personal sins and, with the communion
of Saints, of the sins of our neighbor. With sufferings and death,
we are co-redeemers with Our Lord, we save the world with Him;
prepare us for eternal life, forcing to turn one’s back on the world;
can become a period of spiritual ascent by our union with Our Lord
THE SACRAMENT OF EXTREME UNCTION
Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church
and let them pray over him, anointing him with the oil in the name
of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And
the Lord shall raise him up, and if he be in sin, they shall be
forgiven him” (James 5: 14-15).
catechism of St. Pius X teaches that “extreme unction is a sacrament
instituted by Our Lord for the spiritual as well as the temporal
comfort of the sick in danger of death.” This sacrament is
invalid if given to persons who are only old but are not in danger
of death, as alas it is practiced today in many places.
sacrament, as the Catechism of St. Pius X says:
venial sins, and also mortal sins which the sick person, if contrite,
is unable to confess;
away weakness and sloth which remain even after pardon has been
strength to bear the illness patiently, to withstand;
in restoring us to health of body if it is for the good of the soul.
(This is not a miracle. The sacrament strengthens the natural resistance
of the organism, which can cure the sick. There are numerous examples
of this occurrence but it is important that the sacrament be not
given too late. The sacrament must be given as soon as the sick
is in danger of death, even doubtfully.)
decision to give this sacrament or not belongs to the priest. But
the family, the doctor, the nurse, have the duty to call a priest
as soon as the sick is in danger of death even doubtfully. It can
help in the recovery of the sick person, and above all help him
to bear and offer his sufferings to gain merits and to prepare him
Must we tell the sick that he is going to die?
If we do not, the sick cannot prepare himself for death. The announcement
of the death belongs to the contract existing between the sick and
his doctor. The doctor has the duty to inform the sick about his
health and not to hide the reality. It is a question of justice
(there is a contract) and a question of charity (we must love our
neighbor as ourselves for the love of God).
nurse has not the same obligation as the doctor because there is
not the same contract. A nurse has only the obligation of charity,
and only a serious disadvantage (for example threat of dismissal)
could exempt her from informing the sick if the doctor does not
prudence and wisdom are required to announce to a sick person that
he is going to die. In some cases it is better to wait some time
in order that the sick is in a better moral condition to receive
such news. But “to postpone by reluctance (without reason) the
preparation of a sick to his passage to eternity could easily be
a serious sin” (Pope Pius XII, May 21, 1952).
principal documents of the Hierarchy of the Church are:
to those attending the Congress of the International Union of Catholic
Women’s League, Sept. 11, 1947;
to the Italian Catholic Union of Midwives, Oct 29, 1951;
to the members of the International Office of Military Medicine
Documentation, Oct. 19, 1953
to those taking part in the IXth Congress of the Italian Anaesthesiological
Society, Feb 26, 1957;
on reanimation, November 26, 1957.
Office (against Euthanasia imposed by the State):
of Dec 2, 1940 and Feb 22, 1941 (during the time of Euthanasia practices
by the Nazi state in Germany)
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
on Euthanasia, May 5, 1980. (This declaration uses many principles
of modern philosophy, but the conclusions remain important.)
OF THE CATHOLIC DOCTRINE ON EUTHANASIA
an innocent is a crime against the 5th commandment “Thou shall not
kill”. This commandment forbids the killing of the innocent, not
the killing of the guilty, which can be sometimes ordered by the
state for the common good. This is clear in the Old testament where
Moses also gave laws to kill the guilty, and in the doctrine of
the Church (the doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas for example). Euthanasia
is a crime against the same commandment as abortion.
us quote here Pope Pius XII.
“ If there exists no direct casual link, either through the
will of interested parties or by the nature of things, between the
induced unconsciousness and the shortening of life – as would be
the case if the suppression of the pain could be obtained only by
the shortening of life: and if on the other hand, the actual administration
of the drugs brings about two distinct effects, the one the relief
of pain, the other the shortening of life, the action is lawful.
It is necessary however to observe whether there is, between these
two effects, a reasonable proportion, and if the advantages of the
one compensate for the disadvantage of the other. It is important
also to ask oneself if the present state of science does not allow
the same result to be obtained by other means” (Feb. 26, 1957).
point: About suffering and use of sedatives
must know that heroism is possible and we have examples of priests,
religious, sisters, lay persons who refused sedatives and analgesics
and offered their sufferings.
of the time, the sufferings can also be an obstacle to spiritual
life and can lead to despair and even rebellion against God. Refusing
the sedative may be presumptuous.
are obviously permitted.
us quote Pope Pius XII:
growth in love of God and abandonment to His will does not come
from the sufferings themselves which are accepted, but from the
intention in the will supported by grace. This intention in many
of the dying, can be strengthened and become more active if their
sufferings are eased, for these sufferings increase the state of
weakness and physical exhaustion, check the ardor of soul and sap
the moral powers instead of sustaining them. On the other hand,
the suppression of pain removes any tension in body and mind, renders
prayer easy, and makes possible a more generous gift of self. If
some dying persons accept their sufferings as a means of expiation
and a source of merits in order to go forward in the love of God
and in abandonment to His will, do not force anesthetics on them.
They should rather be helped in following their own way. Where the
situation is entirely different, it would be inadvisable to suggest
to dying persons the ascetical considerations set out above, and
it is to be remembered that instead of assisting towards expiation
and merit, suffering can also furnish occasion for new faults”
may be a problem with the action of the sedative on the conscience
of the sick. We must remember that our earthly life has its meaning
in the eternal life. Also, when the sedatives are going to suppress
the conscience of the sick, we must let the sick prepare himself
to eternal life by the reception of the sacraments of penance, the
Holy Eucharist, extreme unction, and also urge him to accomplish
his last duties, such as his last will and testament.
us quote Pope Pius XII in answer to a group of doctors who
had put the question:
“Is the suppression of pain and consciousness by the use of narcotics…permitted
by religion and morality to the doctor and the patient (even at
the approach of death and if one foresees that the use of narcotics
will shorten life)?” the Pope said: “ If no other means exist, and
if, in the given circumstance, this does not prevent the carrying
out of other religious and moral duties: Yes” (Sept. 9, 1958).
“ it is not right to deprive the dying person of consciousness
without a serious reason” (Sept.9, 1958).
point: About ordinary and extraordinary means.
Pope Pius XII; Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith; Noldin,
Everybody has the duty to employ what is necessary to the conservation
of his own life and health, to avoid what is harmful to them, and
to use what can restore the health. Let us quote St. Thomas Aquinas
(commentary on the 2nd epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians,
lect. II, n. 77): “A man has the obligation to sustain his body,
otherwise he would be a killer of himself; by precept therefore,
he is bound to nourish his body and likewise we are bound to all
the other items without which the body cannot live.”
Everybody has the duty to conserve his own life and health by ordinary
means. This principle is just a consequence of the precedent. The
ordinary means are the means that are commonly used by men to preserve
their own life, and which can be procured by ordinary diligence.
are these ordinary means today?
“If there are no sufficient remedies, it is permitted, with the
patients consent, to have recourse to the means provided by the
most advanced medical techniques, even if these means are still
at the experimental stage and are not without certain risk”
(Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , May 5, 1980).
These means, provided by the most advanced medical techniques, are
called extraordinary means.
are the characteristics of an extraordinary means?
the common estimation
the price of the surgery
the danger of death
the personal repulsion for
the pains of the surgery
the proportion of this means
and the hope of success
the length of the treatment.
is also permissible to make do with the normal means that medicine
can offer. Therefore one cannot impose on anyone the obligation
to have recourse to a technique which is already in use but which
carries a risk or is burdensome. Such a refusal is not the equivalent
of suicide; on the contrary, it should be considered as the acceptance
of the human condition, or a wish to avoid the application of a
medical procedure disproportionate to the results that can be expected,
or a desire not to impose excessive expense on the family or on
the community” (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the
there is an obligation employing the extraordinary means: when the
life or the health of the sick is necessary to the common good of
a family or the society.
inevitable death is imminent in spite of the means used, it is permitted
in conscience to take the decision to refuse forms of treatment
that would only secure a precarious and burdensome prolongation
of life, so long as the normal care due to the sick person in similar
cases is not interrupted. In such circumstance the doctor has no
reason to reproach himself with failing to help the person in danger.
is also permitted , with the patients consent, to interrupt these
means, where the results fall short of expectations. But for such
a decision to be made, account will have to be made of the reasonable
wishes of the patient and the patients’ family, as also of the advise
of the doctors who are specially competent on the matter. The latter
may in particular judge that the investment in instruments and personnel
is disproportionate to the results foreseen; they may also judge
that the techniques applied impose on the patient strain or suffering
out of proportion with the benefits which he or she may gain from
such techniques” (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the
all countries where euthanasia has been permitted by the law, this
event has always been the completion of a process that began with
the authorization of contraception. All of this belongs to a plan
prepared by the freemasons to destroy the Christian civilization.
It is obvious now, and clearly proved. For example, Dr. Peter Simon,
co-founder of the French Family Planning, was twice Grand Master
of the Grand Masonic Lodge of France.
the beginning of this process, it is said that the population of
the country is too big, that contraception becomes necessary , and
even that contraception will prevent abortion (we answer these problems
in our leaflet on contraception). We must tell here that the introduction
of contraception is always done in a context of increasing immorality
spread by television, movies, advertisements, magazines, sexual
education in the schools, and so on. It is the liberation of sexuality,
and this immorality increases the need of to practice contraception.
after some years, this contraception obviously induces an anti-conception
mentality. So it becomes easy to introduce abortion. In the beginning,
it was said that abortion was introduced only in order to help poor
women victims of rape, and such other cases. But very quickly, abortion
became permitted for all women who do not want any more babies.
Now after some years, abortion has made a mortal breach in the respect
of life. Then, people having no more respect for life, euthanasia
can easily be introduced.
are the causes of this introduction?
contraception and abortion cause such a decrease in birth rate that
the proportion of old people (whose number increases with the legitimate
progress of science) becomes too much important for the economy
of a country.
euthanasia is introduced when people do not have any more faith
in the value of sufferings and death united to the sufferings and
death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. For the doctors who do not have
the faith anymore, death is a failure. When they can’t avoid it
(cancers in terminal phase, old people), then they prefer to induce
that do not have faith anymore, are no longer able to support the
illness and treatment of the sick. They don’t want to see these
sufferings anymore, they say that it is too expensive (we must say
that euthanasia is more often asked by the families and rarely by
they have “this false piety which is a pretext to justify euthanasia
and make man avoid purifying and meritorious sufferings, not by
a charitable and praiseworthy relief, but by death as it is given
to an animal without reason and without immortality”. (Pope Pius
XII, Sept 11, 1947)
In order to fight against this culture of death:
must fight for life, fight against contraception, abortion, and
must spread the doctrine of the faith, help people to understand
what is the meaning of life and death according to the Revelation
made by Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is impossible to remain only
at a natural level, ignoring the supernatural order, ignoring the
reality of eternity.
the Academy of Catholic Traditional Biomedical Ethics
objectives of this Academy, placed under the patronage of St Martin
of Porres, are:
To help the members of the medical profession (doctors, dentists,
nurses, etc.) to know in depth the traditional teachings of the
Church on medical issues and problems.
To link and bond the traditional members of the medical profession.
To participate in the mission of the Society of St. Pius X by an
apostolate towards members of the medical profession who are not
To fight against degradation and corruption in the field of medicine
and morals by our influence in the medical profession and by means
of mass media when possible.
following activities of the academy are held every three months:
Medical missions organized by the Society of St. Pius X
Meetings to study the traditional doctrines of the Church on problematic
issues in the medical field. Meetings will begin with the Mass,
then a potluck dinner, after which a conference will be given by
a priest of the Society, sometimes by doctors, on a chosen medical
of Catholic Traditional Biomedical Ethics
Cannon Rd.,New Manila, Quezon City 1112, Philippines
(02) 725-5926; Fax (02) 412-7389; e-mail: actbe @ sspx-asia.org