PASTORAL THOUGHT

2-25-18

 

            We in Delaware are being offered a new law “PAS: Physician Assisted Suicide” which will allow physicians to assist in suicide. To take a human life is evil. “Thou shalt not kill.” God receives persons into eternal life, but even God does not kill.  “There is a time to be born, and a time to die,” but that is God’s time. It does not belong to human choice. Sometimes, e.g., war, self-defense, killing is not culpable, but is always evil. Ask a combat veteran.

            We all know that some persons experience great suffering—either pain or mental distress—as they reach the end of life. Palliative care (e.g., through hospice) can handle much of the suffering. Family members shrink from the loss of dignity that they perceive in their loved one, but this is reason for greater care, not abandonment.

            Our faith opposes all forms of suicide, including those which are “in the patient’s best interest.” Too often a depression is taken as proof that a life should be ended. Too readily a person can be persuaded that he/she is better off dead.

            We are not obliged to “use every treatment” when the natural end of life approaches. We believe in a “happy death”; we even pray for it, a passing from this world in union with God’s will. Suicide is entirely different, even if it is called Euthanasia “good death.”

            A recent letter to the editor put it this way:

 

            “I've been a family physician in Delaware for over three decades, caring for patients in an office, hospital, nursing home and patient’s home setting. I’ve treated many terminally ill patients.

            “I’ve never had or heard of a patient screaming in pain until the end, as was suggested in a prior letter to the editor. I believe we physicians try to treat our patients as if they were family, our flock. Rather than hastening their death with medication, we should be making their final days as peaceful as possible, be it with meds, prayers, compassion, or holding their hand.”

 

            Oppose PAS (Physician Assisted Suicide) in Delaware. Let your representative and senator in the Delaware assembly know where you stand. No physician is meant to be Doctor Death.”

 

                                                            Father John Hynes