Home > Dr Nadia Delicata, Familja, Ġenerali > Reflections on Euthanasia

Reflections on Euthanasia


By Dr Nadia Delicata, Lecturer of Moral Theology at the University of Malta

(Originally published on the Malta Independent)

In her teaching on euthanasia, the Church maintains a clear balance between two truths: that life is a gift from God that is sacred and therefore demands our utmost respect. But also that human life is not absolute: we are made of flesh and blood, our bodies are fragile and death is part of the human condition.

The advance in medical care has created many new opportunities for healing when we experience illness or physical injury. The Church recognizes these medical technologies as good because they help to protect the good that is human life itself. Thus, the Church encourages the use of medical technologies to promote healing and the improvement of the quality of daily living, in particular of the most vulnerable.

But there are times when the medical technologies themselves—sometimes even more than the illness or physical condition—become a burden. The medical procedures no longer seek to heal the person or to improve their life, but simply to postpone the inevitability of death. In this sense, treatments become “extraordinary,” or out of proportion to the good that they seek to achieve. The treatment itself causes more suffering than healing; it disrupts and makes life seem mechanical, rather than improving it. In these cases, the Church offers the comfort of her pastoral care and in particular of the sacraments, to accompany the person who is dying. The Church encourages the continual physical and spiritual comfort of the dying person as they prepare for a new life.

Euthanasia, however, is not about acknowledging the inevitability of death or of dying a peaceful death. Euthanasia is a form of actively taking away the life of a person, and therefore it is a form of killing, just like murder or suicide. Hence the euphemisms that are sometimes used: “assisted suicide” for choosing to take away one’s life, or “mercy killing” for choosing to take away the life of another, whether through actively doing something to terminate a life, or through removing ordinary and necessary treatment that sustains it.

Even more importantly, however, the Church also understands that life in itself is not a “possession”. “Being alive” is how we “are” in the world, how we grow and flourish… and not just alone, but with others as persons in relationship. Thus, while we live, we do not “possess” our life as if it were an object that we can dispose of at will. Rather, through living, irrespective of how vulnerable or insignificant our lives might seem, we participate in the human family and in the world. For the Church these realities are also sacred because God is Creator of the world and God also chooses each one of us to be part of the human family.

  1. Catherine
    August 20, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Imma t-tbatija tal-bniedem illum bdiet? Ghaliex qed nitkellmu favur l-ewtanasja llum li l-medicina ghandha tant mszzi biex ittaffi t-tbatija? X’hemm differenti fit-tbatija li qed inbatu ahna llum, minn dik li kienu jbatu in-nanniet taghna?

  2. Sandro Camilleri
    August 20, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Mhux billi qed tparlaw. Meta tkun fit-tbatija trid targumenta u tippontifika.

  3. Catherine
    August 20, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Jiena domanda naghmel dwar l-ewtanasja. Lill-pajjiz, kemm tiswielu injezzjoni biex joqtol pazjent? U kemm tiswa l-kura tal-istess pazzjent ghal gimghat, xhur jew forsi snin? Ghamilna zmien nisemghu min jghid li s-servizzi socjali mhumiex sostenibbli. Tghid din hija wahda mis-soluzzjonijiet biex intaffu l-piz finanzjarju mis-settur tas-sahha u mill-pensjonijiet?

  4. M. Agius
    August 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Donnu li l-argument dwar dawn l-issues dwar familja u hajja qed ikun dejjem dak tal-hasra. Imma l-hasra mhux dejjem tissarraf fi hniena. Jiena nista’ nithassar persuna imma ma naghmel xejn biex nghinna. Il-hasra tigi biss minn emozzjoni, imma l-hniena tigi minn imhabba vera.

    Jekk jiena nithassrek ghax qed tbati, nista’ naghtik injezzjoni u noqtlom biex ma tibqax tbati. Imma dik mhix hniena. Nistghu insejhulu mercy killing, qtil ta’ hniena. Imma fil-qtil jista’ qatt ikun hemm hniena?

  5. Mary Cassar
    August 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Ippermettili nghid li ma naqbel xejn mas-Sur Camilleri, li jidher qed jitkellem b’certa passjoni u forsi wegat kontra l-Knisja. Fejn tidhol dinjita tal-bniedem il-knisja dejjem kienet l-ewwel wahda biex tghin f’kull tip ta’ tbatija, romol, orfni, edukazzjoni, sptarijiet, assisenza ma’ moribondi. U dan anke jekk mhux insara. Madre Teresa hija wahda mill-ezempji kbar ta’ zmienna.

  6. Sandro Camilleri
    August 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Il-knisja ma tantx tista’ tohodha bis-serjeta meta titkellem dwar xjenza medika, ghax dejjem kienet kontra kull progress xjentifiku.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: