Thursday, March 31, 2005


there are plenty of Catholics who simply do not understand the Church's position on end-of-life issues. I myself am the first to admit that I do not have a complete and thorough grasp of all the nuances. But I do know a few things, or at least a few things more than the author of this Commonweal editorial seems to know.

The editorial makes at least two major errors. First, it consistently refers to nutrition and hydration through a tube as extraordinary means, without ever really explaining why they are extraordinary. In one place it reads, "By any moral measure, fifteen years in PVS is an "extraordinary"--even heroic--burden for someone to bear." Okay, that's fine, but it has absolutely no bearing on the issue of food & water as extraordinary. How is that not obvious?

Second, it says, "advances in technology that needlessly prolong dying can be a threat to human dignity." Absolutely. But Terri wasn't dying! There is a big difference between dying and PVS!

It disappoints me that this editorial can't even make these basic distinctions in discussing an issue of such great import.


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