Recalling Euthanasia’s Legacy of Death

Euthanasia

During a debate on the Senate floor in 1996, at the time of President Clinton’s veto of a bill to ban partial-birth abortion, there was an incident reported in an article in the Washington Post:

Not five feet away, Republican Senator, Rick Santorum turned to face the opposition and in a high, pleading voice cried out, “where do we draw the line? Some people have likened this procedure to an appendectomy. That’s not an appendix,” he shouted, pointing to a drawing of a fetus. “That is not a blob of tissue. It is a baby. It’s a baby.”  And then, impossibly, in an already hushed gallery, in one of those moments when the floor of the Senate looks like a stage set, with its rich wooden desks somehow too small for the matters at hand, the cry of a baby pierced the room, echoing across the chamber from an outside hallway.  No one mentioned the cry, but for a few second no one spoke at all.

On February 13, when the Belgian Chamber of Deputies approved by a vote of 86 to 44 an amendment to its 2002 euthanasia law, extending its provisions to include the killing of children, a man in the gallery cried out, “Murderers!”  Again, no one mentioned the cry, but there was an awkward silence until the man himself was silenced for exhibiting bad taste.  He had dared to remove the linguistic fig leaf from the euphemism “euthanasia.”  A euphemism covers shame, a timid confession by syntax rather than by sacrament, for a euphemism wants approval and not absolution.

Others have cried out, including a faculty member of Leuven University, Tom Mortier, whose mother had been “euthanized” in April 2012 without his permission by Doctor Wim Distelmans because she was chronically depressed. Since then, legislators decided that children should share with adults a supposed right to be euthanized, when their present life is judged by the state, parents and the children themselves to be “unworthy of life.” This resonates with the well known language of two university men, the jurist Karl Binding and the psychiatrist Alfred Hoche, whose 1920 treatise “Die Freigabe der Vernichtung Lebensunwertes Lebens” gave an academic veneer to the consequent and more impatient Nazi protocols for “destroying life unworthy of living.”  Soon enough, vehicles rounded up the unfit, adults and children, with covered windows and sealed doors so that those inside could not be seen or heard.  In 1941, a teenaged cousin of Pope Benedict XVI, with Downs Syndrome, was taken away in that fashion by “therapists” despite his family’s pleas and never to be seen again.

The twentieth century was littered with failed utopias called worker’s paradises and others thousand year reichs.  Saint Thomas More invented the term “Utopia” for his exercise in irony, a description of heaven on earth, possibly in some place he vaguely had heard now known as Brazil.  In it he describes its use of euthanasia by ingestion of laudanum.  Some have assumed that this, and other Utopian innovations, such as docility to miscreants and marriage of priests and even occasional women priests, were recommendation of the same More who sentenced heretics to death. A college textbook used in New York and evidently written by someone innocent of Greek, actually describes him as an early champion of euthanasia.  But his Utopia is seen through the eyes of  Raphael Hythlodaeus whose name means “dispenser of nonsense” and which might also be translated Binding or Hoche. More’s unspoken point is that this Utopia is Platonism carried to such an extreme that it does not connect with reality. After all, Utopia means “No Place” quite as another place More mentions, “Macarensis,” is “Happyland.” And he knew that bliss born of ignorance is stillborn. More would have understood that other sort of Christian, Milton:  “The mind is its own place and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”

The Kingdom of Heaven is real and not a Utopia, and that is why the Christian can be neither a utopian nor a cynic. At the Versailles Conference, seated between Wilson and Clemenceau, David Lloyd George thought he was seated between Jesus Christ and Napoleon. But Jesus Christ was not a utopian, and Clemenceau was misunderstood as a cynic.  He was shrewder than that, and shrewd enough to invoke God with whom he had a tenuous relationship, saying of Wilson’s Fourteen Points: “Even the good Lord contented Himself with only ten commandments, and we should not try to improve upon them.” The abandonment of sense for sentimentality leads to dangerous territory, and we should always be cautious when we see political leaders receiving flowers from beribboned little girls and saying that all they do is  “for the children.”  In The Thanatos Syndrome, Walker Percy put it bluntly: “Kindness leads to the gas chamber.”

By high irony, what was “Bleeding Belgium” at the end of World War I has voted to bleed itself to death with an admixture of extravagant utopianism and cynicism. King Albert II, father of the new king, Philippe, hoped that his son would be “an inspiration for Europe” as he was fit for the job “emotionally and intellectually,” having been at the Belgian Royal Military Academy, Oxford, and Stanford. Philippe’s saintly uncle, King Baudouin abdicated for one day in 2002 rather than sign the original euthanasia bill.  The King of the Belgians now has only moral influence, but moral influence outlasts political influence, even if victims of power do not. If Baudouin’s nephew confounds expectations and refuses to give the Royal Assent, he will honor his uncle who asked parliament, “Does freedom of conscience apply to everyone except the King?”  Should he yield, his figurehead role will be so disfigured that his picture will serve a purpose only on the other side of the postage stamps.

The United Nations, if too cynical to persist in its foundational utopianism, but cynical enough to accuse the Catholic Church of encouraging child abuse, will now have to square the Belgian Law with its own 1959 Declaration on the Rights of the Child and its 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. But that organization, perhaps esteemed more by the Holy See over the years than it has respected itself, is likely to continue to accommodate its own declarations to the exigencies of our culture of death.  After all, among the members of United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child are Thailand which hosts an active child sex slave trade, Uganda whose army enlists children, and Syria which kills children with poison gas.

This is not only Belgium’s problem. Immediately after February 13, a regular columnist in the Los Angeles Times wrote that “for a child facing death in the short term, and in agony, we as a society should enable the child’s right to die with the least amount of suffering…. Even if the concept chills the bones.”  That was only a short remove from 1991 when the New York Times bestseller list featured a book by the Hemlock Society on how to commit suicide. A chain of bookstores in New York listed it in its section on “Self-Improvement.” In 2003, the Hemlock Society changed its name to “Compassion and Choices.”

There is a macabre risibility about the Belgian provision that says that when parents and physicians decide to kill, “the child must be conscious of their decision and understand the meaning of euthanasia.” Our own Supreme Court held in Roper v. Simmons (2005) that the Eighth Amendment forbids the execution of offenders who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed, since the capacity for full moral judgment is still formative in adolescence. Certainly it cannot be less so in childhood.

In 1943, Blessed Alois Andritzki, a twenty-eight year old priest of Dresden, was given a lethal injection in Dachau.  His efficient crime was to have decried the “merciful death” (Gnadentod) program for children (“Action T-4”) begun in 1939 by Hitler’s attending physician Karl Brandt. Father Andritzki’s church had been nearby the euthanasia center at the Saxonian sanitarium in Pima. An acrobatic gymnast, Andritzki would perform stunts to cheer up fellow inmates slated for almost certain death.  Perhaps in an upside-down moral culture, one must do that to keep balance.  One thing is known, if unmentioned in parliaments and senates, and it is plain: When the cry of a baby is heard from a gallery, it comes from far beyond that, for it is from the Cross. “But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2: 6-8).

Rev. George W. Rutler

By

The Rev. George W. Rutler is the new pastor of St. Michael's church in New York City. His latest book is Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943 (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press.)

  • tom

    Here and in Europe, Western Civilization is being methodically euthanized by our Leftist “elites”. Some are in the mass media or movie makers like Harvey Weinstein. Others are just blood thirsty like Secretary Sebelius. Many of these ruling elites claim to be Catholics. Their bishops generally endorse their membership, or, as in the case of Andrew Cuomo, appear to fear the alleged congregant and recoil from him. So, it’s our turn in the barrel as more unborn, infirm and aged are put to the knife.

    On a bright note, in answer to our prayers, the Russian hockey team sports a shirt with two crosses perched on onion domes. They’ve largely thrown off the communist yoke. Let’s pray that we can, too.

  • Steven Jonathan

    Euthanasia, the “good” “death” – who calls murder a “good death?” The utopians.
    It is incredibly bad taste in this demonically inspired age to call a thing what it is, for an example, to call the deliberate ending of a human life “murder” causes great offense to licentious ideologues- the brave new leaders have thin skins and strong stomachs, for they tolerate murder but take great offense at truth-
    Depression may be an appropriate response to this age- soon the masses will be candidates for the “good death”- Utopia, where subjective man ideologically decides the value of life. The Culture of Death grows like a looming shadow on our horizon.
    Excellent article Fr. Rutler!

    • TheAbaum

      “Euthanasia, the “good” “death” – who calls murder a “good death?” The utopians.”

      One poet captured the human condition quite well: “The great mass of men lead quiet lives of desperation”

      Except of course in the fantasy-land of Utopia, where everybody is busily attending to their Maslovian “self-actualization”.

  • Albrecht

    You wrote: “After all, among the members of United Nations Committee on the Rights
    of the Child are Thailand which hosts an active child sex slave trade,
    Uganda whose army enlists children, and Syria which kills children with
    poison gas.”

    You forgot the United States as a result of whose pointless Middle East wars thousands of little children have been killed and maimed. Not to mention all the little innocents we incinerated in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, etc. on top of the millions of struggling, screaming victims of the womb-to-abortuary pipeline. As John Paul II observed, we live in a culture of death. States have seized the “right” to exterminate their people at will. When our elites made their apologies for the Bolsheviks in the early Twentieth Century (whose crimes were even then glaringly obvious) and never repented, we were put on notice. Those who dominate our society will countenance no end of bloodshed in order to keep their power. No, it’s not mass murder per se that is objectionable. You just have to frame it with a palatable narrative.

    • tom

      Let’s note that:
      1. America’s wars these days have been condemned as “unjust” by our popes..
      2. WWII required massive bombings against those who started the war, to save allied lives. Self defense is a very “Catholic” concept and a moral right.
      3. America had “White” troops in the USSR to try to strangle the young monster defended by the “Reds”, but failed. Our bank houses had been financing the overthrow of the czar for decades and built up the Japanese fleet that would later attack us. They’re still running wild, undermining Western civilization with impunity.
      4. Conscientious objection to immoral wars remains an option for all Americans, especially Catholics, given the immorality rampant in the ranks and the “unjust wars” perpetrated by our elites.

      • Art Deco

        Where did either John Paul or Benedict refer to the Iraq War or the Afghan War as ‘unjust’?

        • tom

          John Paul II condemned the Iraq War repeatedly. He appealed to the President In this connection, Pope also made an address at the Vatican to the Diplomatic Corps on the 13th
          of January, 2003 where he clearly stated that war cannot be chosen as just another option of resolving differences and disputes between nations. Paul II upheld the view that the United Nations should take the route of diplomacy to
          solve the concerned international conflict.

          On the 16th of March, 2003, the Pope further
          commented on the Iraq scenario. He stressed on the importance of working for peace with responsibility and maintained that all alternatives have still not been considered. The Iraq war started on the 18th of March, 2003. John Paul II continued to oppose it.

          Mark Shea, in Crisis, cites:
          “[The] concept of a ‘preventive war’ does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” — Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, in direct response to a U.S. bid to get the Vatican on board with our preemptive war

          · “To permit preemptive or preventive uses of
          military force to overthrow threatening or hostile regimes would create deeply troubling moral and legal precedents. Based on the facts that are known, it is difficult to justify resort to war against Iraq.” — the USCCB

          There are many more cites.

          • ROB

            What does this have to do with the murder of sick children in their beds? Absolutely nothing.

            • tom

              Do you want Albrecht’s misguided thoughts to go unopposed and unanswered?

            • TheAbaum

              It’s called “trolling”.

          • Art Deco

            No, John Paul advised against military force in 1991 and 2003. That is rather different than referring to the war as ‘unjust’.

            Mark Shea makes a habit of drawing a distinction between ‘preventive war’ and some other kind, but the distinction is not important from an ethical or practical standpoint.

            • TheAbaum

              “That is rather different than referring to the war as ‘unjust’.”

              Don’t let facts get in the way of a good rant, especially one straying away from the issue at hand.

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          http://catholicism.about.com/od/thechurchintheworld/f/popes_on_iraq.htm

          Afghanistan not so much, but the situation is far different there, as the Taliban were presiding over a failed state.

          • tom

            …and will be again.

        • Catherine

          Pope John Paul II made something on the order of 150+ interventions condemning the invasion of Iraq before it happened. He was blithely ignored here in the USA. Benedict is also on record as having made multiple condemnations of the USA’s recent foreign wars. I don’t know how you can query this–it was reported on, even in the mainstream media, at the time.

          • Art Deco

            Again, slainte, there is a distinction, even if you do not recognize it in your own life, between making advisories, calling something unjust, and more generic versions of the latter which are apprehended under the term ‘condemn’.

            • TheAbaum

              Why are you addressing “Slainte”?

              Are their two “Art Decos”? No. 2, stop being a plagiarist.

      • Romulus

        Even 11 years ago, it was not possible to ignore that the US desired war with Iraq and was determined to discover or else to confect, a pretext, no matter how transparent.

        Because Christians reject consequentialism, it is impossible for us to justify widespread and indiscriminate acts of war against civilian populations (described by Churchill at the time as “terror bombings”) by appealing to the numbers of allied lives theoretically saved.

        One doesn’t cease to love oneself because he acknowledges and confesses his sins (quite the opposite, in fact). It’s the same with one’s country. The disloyalty would lie not in accepting the truth of our history but in concealing or affirming great wrongs, of which we have an abundance. Newman quite rightly points out that divine judgment quite rightly falls upon a sinful nation as much as upon individuals: we’ll not escape an accounting any more than the Belgians.

        • Art Deco

          The United States had been in a state of belligerency with Iraq for 12 years.

          At the time, the U.S. Government faced a trilemma: leave sanctions on, remove sanctions, or eject the government. Each course of action had its dangers and pitfalls. Policy-makers have the choices they have. They do not have the choices you or Mark Shea fancy they should have.

          • Romulus

            “Policy-makers have the choices they have.”

            Indeed. Cheese…Rat poison. Hmm. What to do, what to do?

            • Art Deco

              Those were not the choices.

    • Art Deco

      The wars are not pointless. They were a response to real provocations and policy dilemmas.

  • Charles Ryder

    Good words as usual, Father.

  • Vincent

    The proponents of these policies on euthanasia probably believe they are being kind and compassionate. This stems from an incorrect view of mankind, likely from original sin, personal sin, and poor education. A revival of teaching catholic ontology and traditional catholic theology that is directed to the lay people may help curb this international epidemic which has been aided by poor catechesis worldwide. (note: I have belgian relatives and they are very poorly catechized) This would require abandoning the new theology and the thought that one can embrace the modern world. Culture has to do with cultivating, if we are not trying to grow a garden then we end up with weeds. But a good gardner has to pluck weeds one of which is false compassion and that is what traditional catholic teaching can do. There will always be weeds but we need to keep plucking them generation after generation.

    • tom

      Marching into the public square, en masse, is the only power our “ruling elites” appreciate. While gladly murdering the unborn, the sick or the aged, they’re nervous if there’s a hangnail possible on their own manicured digits. The worst, of course are the judges who use any reasonable argument as a Talmudic exercise to turn on its head. it’s a depraved process..and then the crowd roars, “Brilliant!”

      • TheAbaum

        Marching into the public square, en masse, is the only power our “ruling elites” appreciate.

        Now you know why they’ve purchased a couple billion rounds of ammunition and 2700 Urban Assault vehicles and why municipal police dress in 5.11 tactical gear more than the dress blues of “Adam 12″ .

  • Charles Lewis

    Good story but you missed the angle right around the corner… almost right in your face. In the Province of Quebec this week they will approve a euthanasia bill. It’s called Bill 52. Look it up. In Canada there is only one national criminal code which defines euthanasia murder. Yet, to date, our federal government, lead by the Conservative Stephen Harper, has not said one word about what Quebec is doing. We are already a country with zero rules on abortion. When gay marriage was enacted in 2005 the bill promised that no on e would be forced to perform a civil ceremony that violated conscience. Yet, several justices of the peace have been brought to court for refusing to perform such ceremonies. There are some of us up here who are trying to fight this latest push into the world of unfettered secularism. We are desperately waiting not only for the federal government to speak out but four our ministers, priests, and rabbis to start thundering from the pulpit. It will happen but the fear is once its entrenched in Quebec other provinces may decide they should be able to do the same thing. The polls show most Canadian, including a large percentage of Catholics, support some kind of euthanasia and/or physician assisted suicide. Help!

    • tom

      Poor Quebec: Second class citizens since the Plains of Abraham and now cast down the drain by their overlords. Our “elites” hate and despise Catholics everywhere.

      • Charles Lewis

        Tom: I have no idea what you’re talking about. Can you clarify?

        • tom

          I see Quebec as having been mistreated for centuries by its British conquerors. Quebec acquaintances have confirmed this belief. The frosting on the cake was when a large number of immigrants were relocated there to prevent a vote in favor of secession from Canada. It may well have been their last chance to retain their identity as a French- Catholic land in word and deed.

          • Art Deco

            Define ‘mistreated’.

          • musicacre

            If they were merely mistreated or oppressed, the churches would be full. I lived there for 3 months on a national youth program (in the 70′s) and was the only person in town attending mass besides one girl in my group, the priest’s parents and one other towns-person. It’s very socialist and very anti-Catholic. I know of some homeschooling families that live there, and once again, if it were’t for them the church would be closed. My grandparents come from there, and didn’t ever mention being mistreated. They came out west for the opportunity to own land.

    • Vincent

      The problem in Quebec dates back to the so-called ‘Quiet Revolution’ of Quebec from the 1960′s. All of their progressive social policies are based on their belief that they will be happier speaking french and throwing away their catholic heritage. If they are proposing euthanasia, it doesn’t surprise me in the least. They are closing many catholic churches in Quebec because so few attend mass. One of them was turned into a spa/gym… many others have become condominiums.

      • TheAbaum

        Sounds more like Quebec has preemptively surrendered it’s heritage rather than had it stolen.

        • musicacre

          It was surrendered, after the massive brain-washing campaign that began approx 1945, when a huge group of socialists (intellectuals) mysteriously all entered the country together. They (the people of Quebec) were all made to believe (through extensive indoctrination) the church had done them harm by “making” them have so many babies and it went from there…..they have had the lowest birth rate for many years.

          • TheAbaum

            “the church had done them harm by “making” them have so many babies”.

            Ahh, let me give you fleeting independence for the mere price of removing the genes entrusted to you from the gene pool.

  • don Pavao

    What is Church going to do about this?

    I guess Belgium can expect a strongly worded letter and call for a dialogue.

    • Ford Oxaal

      I agree with your sentiment, but on reflection, I think God does not cast pearls before swine. The Church places the answer squarely in front of countless souls at every second of every day, visibly and invisibly, and has done so for twenty centuries and will continue to do so. But human beings are free to go back to their own private sniveling, and in the modern era, I’m afraid God has given us all plenty of rope to hang ourselves.

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  • Ford Oxaal

    Supporters of euthanasia don’t really believe in anything they can’t derive physical pleasure from. They are eel-like. They don’t believe in charity or that charity is eternal because they are, at heart, despondent whiners and losers who feign ‘tolerance’ as they peer at the world through their jaundiced eye. Meanwhile all they do is ‘legislate’. ‘Legislation’ is their refuge, their attempt at meaning. What a bunch of horses asses. Euthanize yourselves. You don’t need legislation for that.

    • tom

      They’ll be around a long time. If YOU need a hip replacement or a heart catheter, it may take years, comrade, as you are No. 6017 on the list at your people’s clinic.
      Then, is it better to use limited resources on a younger person, that berry picker from Mexico City who was injured while fleeing the police?

      • patricia m.

        In the US so far we still don’t have socialized medicine. I suppose you live in Canada. Here you want a hip replacement you pay for it.

        • tom

          What would you call Obama’s $800 BILLION cut in Medicare with physicians already declining reduced payments for services? It’s happening and won’t get better because Barack takes care of his political base: Minorities, women and “illegals”, not old folks.

          • patricia m.

            The Baby Boomer generation complains too much. I’m not a Democrat, and I truly hate Obama, but the US spending more on old people than on children makes me think we are doing it wrong.

            • publiusnj

              I too am a conservative. However, over $200,000 was paid into my Medicare account and another $210,000 into my Social Security account by me and my employers. I believe, therefore, I have more than paid for my benefits whether you consider Medicare or SS socialist or not. I had no choice but to contribute and the Government represented that the benefits would be there when I retired. I have a right to rely on those promises. That is why I do not see SS or Medicare as the same as welfare or other benefits aimed at the young such as the Earned Income Credit. You don’t need to like that, but remember: the Government extracted that money from me by “vis et armis.” That is all the IRS is.

              • patricia m.

                Publius, of course some people pay into their Medicare and SS accounts. Some people don’t pay though and in the end the math doesn’t add up. I don’t like any social program established by the government. Now Tom was complaining about the cuts in those programs, and I’m gonna tell you, those cuts aren’t bigger because politicians don’t have the courage to do the math and lose the Baby Boomer votes. They are still the biggest voters.

                • publiusnj

                  My point, and I will repeat it, is that Medicare and Social Scurity are different from Government welfare programs (e.g., Medicaid which does NOT copntemplate prior contributions) in that money is extracted from people all their working lives based on the force of law which is clad in the velvet glove of the assurance that benefits will be there when it comes time for the payor to retire. You can nevertheless call that Socialism, but you will find yourself on the opposite side of Ronald Reagan in so doing. RR was a big proponent of making SS last for the generations to come and therefore took even more money from me and my generation based on the assurance that it would be there for me when I retired. Call him a socialist if you will but nobody who thinks about the issue for very long will agree with you.

                  • slainte

                    Social Security and Medicare are creatures of the federal welfare state; the fact that you were compelled to pay taxes to fund these programs does not alter what the funds are…a form of welfare.
                    .
                    The negative balance in the Social Security “lockbox” together with its many unfunded congressional IOUs suggest an unstable ponzi scheme. It might make sense to make alternative plans to fund one’s retirement.

                    • Art Deco

                      slainte, that is not what is meant by the term ‘Ponzi’ scheme.

                      The original Ponzi scheme collapsed in a matter of months. Social Security, like unemployment compensation, is an income transfer program and has been plugging along for 70-odd years. However, as old age mortality rates have declined, there has been a secular increase in the ratio of beneficiaries to workers, a problem which can be finessed by putting the retirement age on an escalator. The Congress has done this, but the escalator is not rapid enough.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Based on the promises and representations made when the program started-Social Security is fraud in the inducement, at best.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rej8Qr1Qaqw

                    • slainte

                      And what about our federal deficit and our non-existing debt ceiling which is bankrupting our country and making it that much more unlikely that retirees will receive their due?
                      .
                      Successive waves of quantitative easing have systematically cheapened the value of our American fiat currency which further imperils those retirees living on fixed incomes whose savings have been substantially devalued by the Central Bank’s actions.
                      .
                      I hope that many of our retirees are “gold bugs” and have some gold or other precious metals which have increased in value as their cash has not.

                    • Art Deco

                      1. Quantitative easing has not ‘cheapened’ the value of our ‘fiat’ currency. Over the period running from 1997 to 2008, the price index called the ‘gdp deflator’ increased at an annual rate of 2.7%. Over the last five years, it has increased at a rate of 1.4%.

                      2. The economist Sir Alan Walters had a word for advocates of the gold standard: “crackers”. (He came to prominence as one of Margaret Thatcher’s kitchen cabinet).

                      3. I think Social Security accounts for about 16% of all federal spending and is financed by dedicated taxes. As a benefit to the elderly and disabled, it is not amenable to rapid reductions in value. There a whole lot of manure in the federal budget and Social Security is one of the least problematic programs.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Quantitative easing has not ‘cheapened’ the value of our ‘fiat’ currency.

                      The quotes around “fiat” are unnecessary. The currency is fiat.

                    • slainte

                      Art Deco, Your Inflation Index does not appear to factor in the price of Food and Energy which are relevant to any accurate measure of inflation. Have you been to the supermarket lately?
                      .
                      An alternative way to measure the de-valuation of the U.S dollar is by reference to dollar’s purchasing power of one ounce of Gold…in 2007 the price was $696. per ounce; today’s value is $1,319. per ounce.

                      See, http://www.nma.org/pdf/gold/his_gold_prices.pdf.
                      ,
                      Art Deco writes, 2. The economist Sir Alan Walters had a word for advocates of the gold standard: “crackers”. (He came to prominence as one of Margaret Thatcher’s kitchen cabinet).
                      .
                      Sir Alan Walters no doubt realized that central bankers who fund the operations of Empires require the elimination of the gold standard to inflate and deflate credit at will. Air Walter’s ability to function as Economic Advisor to PM Thatcher required him to work within a pre-existing system controlled by central bankers.
                      .
                      As our founding fathers did not (appear to) envision the United States becoming an Empire, they drafted a Constitution which allowed only Congress to coin money (at no interest to U.S citizens) in the form of gold or silver. These metals retain value, while the value of a fiat currency de-linked from the gold standard is subject to manipulation at will.
                      .
                      President Andrew Jackson opined on the subject:
                      .
                      “…the constitutional power “to coin money and regulate the value thereof. ”Congress have established a mint to coin money and passed laws to regulate the value thereof. The money so
                      coined, with its value so regulated, and such foreign coins as Congress may adopt are the only currency known to the Constitution. But if they have other power to regulate the currency, it was conferred to be exercised by themselves,
                      and not to be transferred to a corporation. If the bank be established for that purpose, with a charter unalterable without its consent, Congress have parted with their power for a term of years, during which the Constitution is a dead letter. It is neither necessary nor proper to transfer its legislative power to
                      such a bank, and therefore unconstitutional…”
                      See, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/ajveto01.asp.
                      .
                      The Weimer Republic’s experience with hyper-inflation is instructive of the dangers of a fiat currency not linked to a gold or silver standard.
                      .
                      Art Deco writes, “3. I think Social Security accounts for about 16% of all federal spending and is financed by dedicated taxes. As a benefit to the elderly and disabled, it is not amenable to rapid reductions in value. There a whole lot of manure in the federal budget and Social Security is one of the least problematic programs.”
                      .
                      You did not factor in the cost of Medicare with Social Security. The welfare state’s unfunded mandate for these programs imperils the well being of all our seniors.

                    • MV

                      In the 1930′s – when Social Security was created, the average life expectancy was 62, and people could not draw SS until 65. Now that the average life expectancy is 77, then to keep up with the increased life span, the age to draw Social Security should have increased to 80. But since it stayed at 65, the program was doomed to eventual failure.

                    • Art Deco

                      The life expectancy at birth is not the salient metric, but the life expectancies of the working-aged populations and the life expectancy of the old. In 1940, about 65% of the population could expect to live to age 65 and this subset lived a median of 12 years. Now about 77% make it to age 65 and live a median of 17 years or more. Some adjustments are thus necessary in retirement age, assessments on wages and salaries, or both.

                    • MV

                      A few Salient Metrics –

                      a. Initially, there were 30 – 40 people paying into the system for every worker drawing out of the system. At present, there are about 4 workers pay in for every worker drawing out. THAT IS UNSUSTAINABLE.

                      b. At present, the income into Social Security is less than the pay out – so now those ‘bonds’ (i.e. – IOUs) are being cashed. The only way to redeem bonds is to take money out of the general fund…which means more borrowing (more debt.)

                      c. The present system is un-sustainable – so either benefits get cut, or it is necessary to screw future generations to pay higher taxes. Young kids should not have to pay high taxes to support seniors. It was immoral to set up a system the way it is working…and all politicians should be held accountable for their actions in making a bad system worse!

                    • Art Deco

                      Did you know that I’ve increased 30 fold in weight? Sounds like I’m a circus freak, but that’s if you compare my weight now to my weight at birth.

                      Since 1975, the population over the age of 65 has increased by about 82% while the population of employed workers has only increased by about 55%. Also, the share of domestic income accounted for by employee compensation has declined from 69.5% of the total to 62.6% of the total. Ca. 1975, the ratio of Social Security payments to total employee compensation was 6.9%. As we speak, it is 9.0%. This is a problem which can be finessed through some combination of tax hikes and increases in the retirement age.

                    • publiusnj

                      I made my plans for my retirement and am now living on the basis of those plans, one element of which relies on Ronald Reagan’s promise that Social Security would be there, in exchange for my contributions to it at a higher level than previously assessed. As I said, Ronald Reagan was not a Socialist (nor was he pulling a Ponzi Scheme). Nor was Otto von Bismark, who, as Chancellor to the German Kaiser was the actual creator of Social Security 50 years or so before it was imported to the United States.

                      In all events, calling it Socialism or welfare does not justify taking it away from people who paid into it for forty years or so on the promise of receiving corresponding benefits. Remember that the level of benefits paid out in Social Security depends on how much was paid in. If you think it is justifiable now to take away the payments promised to the people who paid in, you are as bad an expropriator as any socialist.

                      Social Security is not the same as a Ponzi Scheme, because Ponzi extracted money from people by promising the gullible something that was too good to be true. The Government by contrast doesn’t rely on gullibility; it relies on the coercive power of the State. People had a chloice whether they were going to give to Mr. Ponzi. The IRS doesn’t give choices.

                    • slainte

                      PubliusNJ, I have no doubt that Pres. Reagan spoke in good faith and fully intended to honor his obligations. However, Pres. Reagan could not have foreseen the spiraling federal deficit that is our lot, or the effects of a substantially smaller population supporting large numbers of retiring baby boomers, Contraception and abortions have played a role in reducing the number of American workers who otherwise would have been available to fund Social Security and Medicare payments.
                      .
                      Moreover as I already noted, there is no lockbox full of cash and most of the Congressmen who made the empty promises in the past are long gone.
                      .
                      I don’t think it is justifiable NOT to pay federal benefits that were promised but I am concerned that the government will argue (i)Impossibility of Performance, or (ii) will impose higher age limits to receive one’s benefits, or (iii) will pay the benefits with cheapened dollars which do not keep pace with the actual rate of inflation.
                      .
                      Social Security and Medicare, when enacted, assumed that most retirees would not live much beyond retirement age (65). Of course today, many healthy retirees live well into their 80s and 90s. I am not convinced that the reduced number of workers in a troubled economy can meet the long terms obligations due good faith retirees. But you have every reason to demand that the government does honor its commitments.
                      .
                      I wish you well and I hope that none of what I wrote in this post comes to pass.

                    • publiusnj

                      When Ronald Reagan did his restart on Social Security, the assumptions made in the 1930s had long been shown inadequate. That is why the age of retirement was increased.

                      There certainly are problems with Social Security now and one of the biggest problems is the failure to increase the retirement age again. That needs to be done.

                      Another problem is the use of COLA adjustments as a way to garner votes. I have no problem with an end to COLAs so long as it is done on a non-discriminatory basis, but I am opposed to Democrat plans (that many Republicans are willing to go along with) to limit COLAs to people below a certain income. That is just a second dollop of Class Warfare. The people with the highest income tend also to be the people who kicked in the most to Social Security. They already are the people who are paying income tax on a higher percentage of their Social Security income–as much as 85% of their SS income is subject to Social Security(Uncle Sam giveth and Uncle Sam taketh away….)–and shouldn’t be victims of Class Warfare for a second time.

                    • Art Deco

                      Why would you unload cost of living adjustments? You would have benefits whose value is vitiated rather rapidly by currency erosion.

                    • publiusnj

                      I see Social Security as an annuity or pension essentially. Annuities/pensions usually pay out a fixed amount that is not adjusted for inflation. COLAs were introduced in the 70s essentially as a form of Govenment largesse. Save me from govwernment largesse.

                    • Art Deco

                      I understand you ‘see’ it that way, but that’s not the way it is or ever was.

                    • publiusnj

                      Ever? Even the NY Timesw admits that Social Security was originally sold as a pension plan. Sorry to bother you with facts, but here is the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/05/business/05norris.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

                  • MV

                    The senior ‘citizens’ (and I am fast approaching that category) have supported corrupt politicians who created a Ponzi scheme (either by over-promising benefits, or raiding surplus funds, or a combination of both) ….and now the bill comes due.
                    Are the young children now becoming adults responsible to be heavily taxed for a party that they had NO part in? I don’t think so. Even conservatives and libertarians bear some responsibility for the broken system – since they should have taken every measure – up to and including REVOLUTION to prevent passing a huge debt onto the future generations.
                    Are the taxpayers responsible to make the victims of Bernie Madoff ‘whole’? Not really. The victims failed to exercise due diligence and verify that Madoff was honest. They got screwed. Are the future generations of Americans responsible to make present seniors whole for a broken Social Security and Medicare system? Same answer – NO. The youth could not vote down bad spending bills; they could not even post a legal notice in the newspaper that they would not be responsible for debts that they did not contract for.
                    They Medicare and Social Security systems are broken, and too many voters pushed politicians to raid it for more money, and not enough voters took strong action to hold politicians accountable for making what might have been a workable system into a corrupt Ponzi scheme.
                    Now – I am all for raiding the financial acccounts of all politicians who supported the graft and fraud that pillaged the system….with NO protections for them, since they robbed the wealth of this nation and squandered it.

                    • Art Deco

                      It is not a Ponzi scheme and bears no relationship to one.

                • tom

                  And they did NOT vote for Obama, Patricia. You know what payback is.

                • tom

                  At this stage, the pols will be deciding that older citizens deserve to die before younger persons. It’s involuntary euthanasia with Death Panels on the way.

              • TheAbaum

                The IRS is the business end of government. While it has been busy harassing the tea parties, it’s also increasingly feeble in the blocking and tackling of 1040′s. I have a client who received an “examination by mail” asserting overstated withholding, because they failed to account for one of three 1099′s.

              • TeaPot562

                @publiusnj:
                You and your employer may well have paid those dollars INTO Social Security or Medicare; but most of those dollars were paid out again, that year or the next, to retired people. So in order to continue receiving benefits at the current level after your retirement, the people still working will have to pay enough dollars IN to offset the benefits you (and your generation) receive.
                This is what makes the attempt by the Democratic party in Congress to make abortion and contraceptives so universal really misguided. If they continue reducing the number of babies born, who will be around to pay taxes IN to support old people?
                This is the desperate plight of Greece, where a year or so ago we were told that for every one hundred people of grandparental age, there were only about forty-six children of grandchild age. When the population shrinks, social insurance schemes where old people as a class are supported by young people as a class approach ruin.
                I am eighty years old. The USA problem of shrinking Social Security benefits and/or postponing retirement is becoming a “gift” of the Baby Boomers of fifty years ago to themselves in the near future. Their choice of selfishness as young adults will repay them as retirees in the near future. I am sad for them, as they did not listen. Not my problem, but my children and grandchildren will have to cope.
                Perhaps the teaching of the Catholic Church in this regard is really better for the human race on a long-term basis. You think?
                TeaPot562

                • publiusnj

                  You write as though I should say: “you’re right. I know that was the deal that Ronald Reagan +the Congressional parties on both sides made–that people who made the higher level of FICA contributions were supposed to get the benefits in exchange for making the contributions–but since the Government was irresponsible in other respects I should and will now decline a substantial portion of my expected income.” IOW, you want me to ignore what went on and “do over.” That is fantasyland. We live in a capitalist system in which I have a right to insist on getting that which has been promised. If you want to take it away from me, realize you are simply an expropriator, as unjust and dictatorial as the Communists. I have paid enough into Social Security to be due my benefits and I have a right to them even if you find that inconvenient.

            • TheAbaum

              Correction: Unless you are better connected than I suppose-you can’t hate Obama. You might despise and reject his public image, his policies, and his conduct in office-but to hate somebody requires a person to have intimate personal relations.

              I’m not sure he knows himself enough to hate himself. Obama’s person seems to be little more than an indoctrinated construct, devoid of any self-awareness, which would explain why he acts like five-year old at a funeral.

              • patricia m.

                Ok, I dislike him very much.

              • Art Deco

                There is something oddly artificial about the man. The Stepford President.

          • patricia m.

            And that makes me think that you are all for socialized medicine and socialism, since you like Medicare so much. You should be able to pay for your own hip replacement surgery. Medicare *is* a socialist program, don’t know if you know about it.

            • TheAbaum

              Medicare has a socialist element, but it was really a reaction to the disordering of the medical markets as a result of the government induced expansion of employer paid medical insurance, through such things as the WWII wage and price controls, Taft-Hartley, but most especially as a result of the creation of a permanent, unlimited exemption from income taxes in the Internal Revenue Code (currently Sec. 106) after the IRS began assessing imputed taxes on the value of employer paid health insurance.

              • Art Deco

                The ratio of medical expenditure to domestic product increased from 4.5% around about 1940 to 5.2% in 1960. In and of itself, the advent of medical insurance did not induce a revolution in expenditures.

                Economic sectors vary over time in their prominence when production and consumption are measured. The share of value added accounted for by real estate expanded at a considerable clip between 1945 and 1985, as did that for finance between 1945 and 1998 (insurance had much more modest gains).

                That producers devote more resources to medical care as other wants are satisfied is something we should expect. Megan McArdle has pointed out that there was a revolution in expenditures on veterinary care as well, thought it is a sector where insurance is unimportant.

                In Medical Nemisis, Ivan Ilich presented a claim (wagers true) that nine-tenths of the improvement in life expenctancy registered between 1750 and 1965 could be attributed to better nutrition and sanitation. The intervening decades have seen notable declines in old age mortality and the life expectancy of people who reach retirement age has increased by about five years or so in the last seventy-odd. Medical care is simply more salient than it was in 1965.

                Viable and passably comprehensive actuarial pools do not form naturally in markets for medical insurance and medical care and long-term care are as ripe as any service for risk-pooling, so you have social pressures toward state intervention.

                Treating medical care in toto as an ordinary service enterprise is not an option and neither is non-intervention in medical insurance markets.

                • TheAbaum

                  “In and of itself, the advent of medical insurance did not induce a revolution in expenditures.”

                  I didn’t say it did. The creation of an unlimited tax exemption however is another matter.

                  With regard to you selection of a time period, there was no Medicare/Medicaid in 1960 and the the exemption was codified in 1954, so the effects weren’t quite fully felt.

                  If I can find it, I will post a chart prepared for the Senate Joint Economic Committee (ca. 2003) as part of hearings regarding consumer directed medicine. When the Republicans lost the Senate, the new Chair (Chucky, Shmucky Shumer, I believe) had the testimony and supporting documentation removed. I can’t find it on the net, but I do remember it was based on CMS datasets.

                  What was depicted was that from 1960 to 2003 there percentage of medical expenses paid by the patient plummeted, and the per capita costs went up inversely.

                  It’s not hard to figure out that when “somebody else” is writing the check, you don’t care quite as much about the amount as if were you money.

                  Having been explicitly asked in the past by a physician about the quality of the formulary in my health coverage, I know that treatment protocols are affected by coverage as well (the old Nexxium/Prilosec debate comes to mind.

                  • Art Deco

                    Medical insurance was not covered under the wage and price controls in effect during the war.

                    I have no doubt that third-party payments (and lack of transparency in pricing) affect the market for medical services. However, there are all kinds of drivers here: the cost disease of personal services, natural shifts in production and expenditure patterns, quality improvements, &c.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Medical insurance was not covered under the wage and price controls in effect during the war.

                      Right. That’s why “company paid hospitalization” and other “fringe benefits” became commonplace.

                    • TheAbaum

                      As promised…

        • TheAbaum

          The IPAB will make sure that comes to a stop.

    • OLO101

      Have you ever watched someone die from cancer?

      • Guest

        That is part of the problem. People are so distant from death they start to reason poorly and think murder is good. Modern hospitals have sterilized death. In past ages death was more near to people.

        • Ford Oxaal

          How true. Death is more and more whitewashed — even in war. We press a few buttons and people disappear. No smell, no screams, no regrets. Just expediency. Government by science. Meanwhile, science is the dimmest of lights in terms of discovering truth. Revelation is first. Reason is second. Science is a wandering third.

      • TheAbaum

        I have. I wouldn’t suggest they be killed or tempted to suicide to insulate me from the unpleasant realities of the reaper’s methods.

      • Woody

        Yes.

      • Objectivetruth

        Yes, my mother. She held her rosary tight during particularly painful episodes, smiling at the crucifix at the end of it because she realized she was not alone in her suffering. The God she loved had suffered terribly before His death, too.

      • Ford Oxaal

        Yes. For example, our next door neighbor died from cancer. Our whole family including our small children were at her bedside the night before she died. She fought the valiant fight and carried her cross until the end. We helped her in her heroic effort rather than trying to convince her to fly to the ‘Netherlands’. Even a dog knows when it is being rejected into hopelessness as it is sent off to be “put down”.

        • John Albertson

          While I have distressfully watched the closest of my loved ones die, it was I who suffered in one way more by empathy and a sense of loss than the dying person. Good palliative care has eased pain more now than ever. The worst suffering, as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said, is in those who feel unwanted and dispensable. She said that no one is safe around a mother who would kill her young. We pray for a holy death, not for a convenient one. And souls can be transfigured in the last days of what St Francis called “Sister Death,” and the graces they receive by sharing their last hours with our Lord on the Cross can also convert others around them. Euthanasia has made a mockery of beautiful hospices. And remember the slippery slope: once euthanasia is permitted, those who are “inconvenient” to a selfish society for any reason will be “eliminated.” Our Lord never said that anyone was “unworthy of living.” That is language from the Dark Realms.

          • Ford Oxaal

            Beautifully put. The Dark Realms indeed.

            On a related note, sort of, I like to remind my children of the utter logic and reasonableness of the petition part of the Hail Mary. After all, the two most important moments of our lives are, in fact, “now, and at the hour of our death”. When those two moments become one, you really don’t want some guy with a smirk on his face, wearing a sort of priest-like garb, selling you an urn, and then jabbing you with the death needle. How easily we humans make ghastly mistakes.

            • Tony

              To everyone: if you want to see a brilliant and heart-stopping portrayal of a holy Christian death, and of no priest but an ordinary farmer, check out the death scene of the father Lavrans, in Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter.

      • Romulus

        OLO, euthanasia isn’t for the dying and desperate. It’s for the healthy and prosperous. Never forget that.

      • Objectivetruth

        Below is an excerpt from the website of Terrence Cardinal Cooke, who died in 1983 after a 20 year battle with cancer. There is a cause for canonization for the Cardinal. I remember the good cardinal publicly discussing the joy of the suffering of his cancer, the chance to share in e most intimate thing Christ experienced, His crucifixion. Although he suffered terribly, it seems Cooke found joy in his final days helping and serving others, not focusing on himself or any self pity:

        “with cancer in 1965 and considered terminal from 1975 onward, Cardinal Cooke endured surgery and then chemotherapy for years. Despite this he kept to his hectic schedule and gave of himself to all who needed him. Seeing the needs of others as paramount, he prayerfully accepted his own problems as a share in the sufferings of Christ. His Episcopal motto, Fiat Voluntas Tua (Thy will be done), says it all. These words, which proclaim a joyful surrender to the will of God, were never a mere motto to Terence Cooke; they were the bedrock of his profound spirituality and the source of his strength. Although his health continued to worsen, he continued to live life joyfully, fully, and for others, trusting completely in the love of God. When others might have yielded to illness, he simply increased his efforts and presided over an expansion of the Archdiocese that emphasized:

        Education
        Healthcare
        Social services
        Until the end Cardinal Cooke struggled for those who could not help themselves: the poor, the young, the elderly, the immigrant and life’s cast-offs. From its inception, he stood at the forefront of the pro-life movement, unwavering in his conviction that life is God’s most beautiful gift. Even in his final days, he could joyfully declare: “Life is no less beautiful when it is accompanied by illness, weakness, hunger or poverty, physical or mental diseases, loneliness or old age.”

      • Tony

        Yes, my father, who died of it in front of me, while he was sitting in his favorite chair in his living room.
        Let the rest of the world be bloody cowards. Christians must not be. If they will not pay attention to how we live, they might just pay attention to the humility and calm dignity and acceptance of suffering with which we die.

    • TheAbaum

      You should become familiar with the sacraments of the statist idolaters.

      Legislation, Adjudication, Regulation, Taxation, Incarceration, Conscription.

  • http://xcontra.wordpress.com X Contra

    Thank you, Fr. Rutler, especially for tracing it back to those two German jurists.

  • FrankW

    The gates of hell smash down on the Catholic Church, and they will until the end of time. We should not be surprised by this, but we should also not stand by in stunned
    amazement when this happens. Instead we should be prepared to fight it with all the strength of arguments which exist in the laws of nature given to us by God.

    If it hadn’t been for Nazi Germany and their horrific treatment of races they deemed inferior, and the resulting war that defeated the Third Reich, we would likely be much further down this road than we are today.

    The sad truth is that prior to the Third Reich we had numerous so-called statesmen who spoke openly about ridding society of inferior people. Margaret Sanger began the
    organization now known as Planned Parenthood in an effort to rid society of inferior races. Today that organization receives hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds. We shouldn’t be surprised that this type of ideology is once again rearing its ugly head.
    It comes from the same source today which it has always come: Satan.

    I am hoping for some strong and prominent words from Pope Francis against the Belgium government on this. The sooner the better.

    • TheAbaum

      “The gates of hell smash down on the Catholic Church, and they will until the end of time. We should not be surprised by this,”

      Indeed. Too many read the promise that the gates of hell will not “prevail” and assume there will be no assaults.

      A good reminder. Clinton enjoyed substantial support among Catholics and you can bet the nuns of the bus will be recruited as props for the attempt at Act II, shortly after shrill voice of Hillary announces her acceptance of the nomination.

      • Tony

        I agree — but I’d remind you and Frank that gates do not go on the offense. Gates are for defense. We are meant to storm those damned gates and batter them in!

        • TheAbaum

          Good point.

  • publiusnj

    Well thought out and expressed piece. Therefore, probably wasted on this perverse generation most of whom think 141 characters is sufficient to express one’s thoughts on any issue. I just saw a bumper sticker, though, that I think is well worth repeating and is within the tweetable limit: “Abortion and euthanasia….Don’t liberals just kill ya?”

  • mollysdad

    Belgian Chamber of Deputies includes 86 members every one of whom deserves to hang for what they have done.

    • TheAbaum

      If we start executing malfeasant legislators, the gallows will be busy worldwide.

  • don Pavao

    Will those catholic politicians who voted for this be excommunicated?

    Catholic doctors? Is the king of belgium catholic?

    All the evils that are being proclaimed as rights in today`s world are really turning me into a pessimist but as a catholic i have no right felling that way.

    Only solution to avoid that is to leave the world to those who are of this world.

    All i can say is good luck with the dialogue.

  • faithandfamilyfirst

    The fools of Europe are killing themselves. The Islamists will continue their rise and eventually conquer the natives, all without firing a shot.

    • Art Deco

      The muslims in question currently constitute just a tad over 5% of the population of Europe. Europe’s fertility problems are real but overstated in this forum. The source countries for these muslims are not exceptionally fertile. When you are outnumbered 19 to 1, it is a while before you can conquer.

      • faithandfamilyfirst

        I have heard estimates of the Muslim populations of Europe range from your figure, 5%, to 25%. Because I do not live in Europe, and have not conducted a census of any European countries myself, I do not know which figure is correct. But if news reports can be believed (and often they cannot), there is a wave of anti-immigrant (mainly anti-Muslim) sentiment now rising in many European countries. It seems strange to me that the native population would suddenly become enraged over a mere 5%. At the very least, there are some in Europe not happy about the Islamic populations. And while the source countries for these populations have seen a marked decrease in their fertility rates (again, if news sources can be believed), I do not know the fertility rates of the European Muslims. So whether the Muslims in Europe pose a “threat” to the natives, I suppose, is anyone’s guess. Nonetheless, I still stand by my prediction of many years — the Muslims will eventually outnumber and take over the native populations of Europe, will rule with a Sharia fist for a while (whether decades or centuries, I cannot say), and then convert to the true Faith through the intercession of our Blessed Mother. What a way to bring a continent to Christ. Stay tuned . . . .

        • Art Deco

          Again, 5% is per the Pew Charitable Trusts.

  • Pingback: Depression: Cause for euthanasia?

  • Scotty Oh

    I don’t know if I believe in long-term, pre-planned euthanasia. But, when I see someone who is no longer viable, being removed from a ventilator, I don’t want them to wake up only to gasp for their last breath and face the horrors of choking to death. Here in the US, patients in this situation are usually given terminal sedation so that they just go to sleep when the vent is removed. Usually they are surrounded by their family at the time.

    Is it in your Catholic belief system that everyone must suffer and die until their last breath, fearing all that may be lying ahead for them, including suffering pain while dying?

    Where is the compassion and humanity in that? Where is God’s love and kindness???

    • Vincent

      Catholics believe that natural death is not opposed to God’s will. Ushering it along with euthanasia before the person’s natural time is sinful as it cuts short their life which has been given by God. While catholic teaching is not opposed to appropriate pain relief so as to prevent unnecessary suffering, catholics do believe that suffering can be redemptive if it is offered up in unity with Jesus’s suffering and death on the cross which redeemed humanity. In the end, catholics believe death has been defeated by Jesus’s rising from the dead. We believe that in the end time those that died in a state of grace will be risen from the dead and given a bodily resurrection (but not the same as we have now). One has to keep in mind that heaven is the eventual goal and our time here is limited. True compassion is to relieve their pain as much as possible while not inhibiting their reason or ushering death along sooner. This gives them the opportunity to fully live their lives. God’s love is shown to us in Jesus, we have to follow him. Death is not the end, no reason to bring it on sooner, we should live grace filled lives demonstrating to others God’s love for us so that they too follow Christ as well.

    • Objectivetruth

      Nope, that’s not our “Catholic belief system.”

      And no, here in the US patients are not given “terminal sedation” when the ventilator is removed. That’s called murder.

      • Scotty Oh

        Most patients must be put into a chemically induced coma, in order to be put on a vent. When the vent is removed the drug level stays the same, or is increased, depending on the patients struggle. I have read about this in many books and medical journals. I have also witnessed it first-hand. It is called a humane and compassionate death.

        I can only hope that when my time comes, I will be able to avoid fear and suffering, through the kindness of enlightened medical professionals. These patients have at most, minutes to live, so easing their pain, and the pain of the family watching them die, is nowhere akin to murder.

        • Objectivetruth

          You framed your first post as if “terminal sedation” was the primary end, the means of euthanasia, or ending the patient’s life.

          In your second posting you are now describing the very Catholic teaching (Aquianas, I believe) of the principle of “double effect”, where the primary end of the palliative sedation is to relieve the patient of discomfort and pain, but it might have a secondary, unintended effect of shortening the patients life.

          But of course at the end of your first post, you took a cutesy shot at Catholicism (“everyone must suffer and die to their last breathe”) without really having any clue (let alone trying to educate yourself) on what the Church’s moral and ethical teaching is, did you now? You claim to have read much on the subject…..but never came across the 2000 years of teaching by the Church on the morality of end of life decisions?

          If you would Iike to actually learn what the Catholic Church teaches on end of life decisions, you can refer to the National Catholic Bioethics Center or google “William May, Catholic bioethics” who has wonderful writings on the subject.

          • Scotty Oh

            I can’t claim to know much about Catholicism, having attended Lutheran schools for 12 years. But I do know too much about death and dying, having watched many friends die of AIDS and too many relatives die of cancer.

            If you want to believe in the “double effect” I think that is great. But the truth is, unless you give the patient enough medication to stop respiration, they won’t always die. In fact, many hospices withdraw food and water days before a patient is to be “sedated” so as not to make the patient choke on anything during “sedation”.

            As for 2000 years of Catholic bioethics, most folks only know of the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and other murderous Catholic endeavors. Do you think the Spanish torturers had read up on the morality of end of life decisions???

            • Objectivetruth

              Oh boy …..a new troll……doesn’t know a thing about Catholicism but is more than eager to come on a Catholic website and with much bigotry attack it….sigh…..!

              • TheAbaum

                It almost seemed reasonable until the last paragraph:

                Of course, the question is did Luther read up on any morality when he stated:

                “To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the
                conflagration. Let there be no half measures! Crush them! Cut their throats! Transfix them. Leave no stone unturned! To kill a peasant is to destroy a mad dog!” – “If they say that I am very hard and merciless, mercy be damned. Let whoever can stab, strangle, and kill them like mad dogs”[Erlangen Vol 24, Pg. 294].

                • Objectivetruth

                  The vast majority of Protestants don’t even know Luther’s quotes, contradictions and teachings. For example, Luther reiterates and affirms papal authority 20 times during the posting of his 95 theses. Luther also claims “that the Roman Church has always maintained the true faith, and that it is necessary for all Christians to be in unity of faith with her.” (Dr. Ludwig Pastor, History of the Popes, Vol. 7, p. 366.)

              • Scotty Oh

                Sorry OT,
                When I first clicked on the link for this article I had no idea what kind of site I was on. Once I read the article I felt good that I wasn’t on some right-wing kookamonga site, but a fair-minded Catholic one. I have many Catholic friends and we have many spirited discussions.
                I did not mean to offend, but I took off like I was still among friends. I guess it pays to know your surroundings. I do apologize. Nothing personal was meant. Love the new Pope.

                • TheAbaum

                  It would be charitable to accept your assertion of fraternity, but reasonable to ask what this means “Do you think the Spanish torturers had read up on the morality of end of life decisions???”

                  You are right, it pays to know your surroundings. One of the things it pays to know is that we’ve all heard Protestants use the “Spanish Inquistion” as an all-purpose rejoinder to any Catholic assertion or criticism of Protestant theology, the way the overtly anti-Catholic Monte Python series used it as cheap comedic filler.

                  • Objectivetruth

                    Agreed. I never hear how a Protestant can thoughtfully and coherently explain the truth or rational that a heretic, scrupulous monk 1500 years after the Ascension of Christ can lay claim to being the Messiah’s new teaching authority on earth. They can only point out the human sins of the Church, but never explain how their theology has any Christ given stamp of approval.

                  • Objectivetruth

                    One wonders how Cleese and the rest of his baudy troop will answer at the pearly gates to “The Life of Brian.”

                  • Objectivetruth

                    Says the names “Calvin”, “Zwingli”, “Knox”, “Wesley” to your average Protestant and you get a blank stare. But say the words “male priesthood” and most Protestants will go in to a frothy rage how the Catholic Church is antiwoman, stuck in the Middle Ages, etc.

  • BillinJax

    Natural Death is a part of life; it is a prerequisite for us
    humans.

    We are grated this life by our Creator God with the
    obligation to die at some point. This world and the imperfect conditions for
    living in it is the challenge all of us post paradise humans have to face and
    be judged for our performance in the particular situation we find ourselves.
    True Christians know and understand this as the Will of a perfect merciful God
    and loving Father. They also know and understand life has limitations and that
    we are simply His children until he calls us home and we can’t become gods
    ourselves.

    Liberals attempt to deny this. They want us to accept that
    they are obviously more merciful than God and their challenge is to be “gods”
    themselves. The false power which comes with that notion, they feel, gives them
    the right to judge, proclaim, and act out the role of one with absolute
    “authority” within their society. And yes, they will forever consistently
    strive to capture by any means the power to set the rules of governing which
    allows them to pick and choose, confiscate and distribute the wealth of their
    society in a fashion that will first perpetuate their power and secondly
    separate the citizens into a controlled productive minority as a source of
    operating capital sufficient to maintain a dependent mob willing to accept
    social slavery disguised by the ruling class as benevolent charity.

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  • Victor de Dios

    Have you ever wondered why these misguided people are so obsessed with promoting abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, and other “causes”? There are so many other more important problems that man faces yet they choose these. There has to be something much more behind this. I would not be surprised if this is Satanism disguised and working its way into the mainstream.

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  • John O’Neill

    Parce, Domine, Parce populo tuo ne irasceris nos in aeternum.

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