Back in 1995, Pope Saint John Paul II took note of a tragic flaw and tendency in the modern culture of developed nations in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (Latin: “The Gospel of Life”):
Here we are faced with one of the more alarming symptoms of the “culture of death”, which is advancing above all in prosperous societies, marked by an attitude of excessive preoccupation with efficiency and which sees the growing number of elderly and disabled people as intolerable and too burdensome. These people are very often isolated by their families and by society, which are organized almost exclusively on the basis of criteria of productive efficiency, according to which a hopelessly impaired life no longer has any value.
While we, here at RedState, often focus on the more obvious features of the “culture of death” — abortion and euthanasia — the real enemy is utilitarianism: that impulse that says human life has no intrinsic worth beyond the material resources in can produce measured against the material resources it consumes.
Though we are making gains in the fight against abortion, the next battlefield is euthanasia. We are mostly familiar with the concept of euthanasia. On the surface it seems benign. A terminally ill Brittany Maynard deciding to end her life on her terms (as wrong as I personally believe that decision to be) seamlessly transitions into the situation we find in Belgium and the Netherlands where suicide has become a standard medical procedure and some studies indicate up to one half of all a instances of assisted suicide are carried out without the express consent of the “patient.” And it is common for the organs of these euthanized patients to be harvested before the patient is quite dead:
In Belgium, organs have been harvested for several years from patients killed by lethal injections administered by doctors. And in the Netherlands, two leading medical institutions have drafted national guidelines regulating similar donations from persons euthanized there, Mercatornet reported Dec. 1.
Prominent euthanasia opponent Wesley Smith condemned the development in a Nov. 26 entry at his Human Exceptionalism blog. Such state-sanctioned actions, he contended, have the effect of persuading disabled or mentally ill persons that “their deaths have greater value than their lives.”
Commented Smith, “Belgium and Netherlands are off a vertical moral cliff. Logic dictates this is where we will go, too, if we decide to follow them into the …read more