THE STRONG CASE FOR EUTHANASIA
The question of euthanasia is back in the headlines for two reasons:
2. The highly respected Catholic theologian Hans Kung, who has developed Parkinson's Disease is saying that he is considering the option.
Euthanasia is a social, moral and ethical issue. It should not be a "religious" issue in the narrow sense of religion. Each of our countries in the 21st century should ideally be a modern, democratic and pluralist country. At this time in history it is crazy for any nation to be a "catholic, Protestant or Muslim" nation.
Adherents of the different religions should be quite free to hold their religious views and to have those views preached to them by their church or religious leaders - and indeed to vote according to their religious views.
But no nation on earth should be dictated to by any religion. And any church or religion that tries to dictate to the state should be told where to go.
There are secular moral and ethical issues surrounding the euthanasia debate:
1. No state or state agency should force or pressurise, either in a subtle or open manner, a person into choosing euthanasia.
2. The state should have a secular, moral and ethical system in place to make sure that the person choosing euthanasia is choosing it freely and not under pressure.
3. Anyone forcing a person into euthanasia should be tried for attempted murder, murder or manslaughter.
4. A number of doctors and health professions should be involved in the euthanasia choice.
5. People who chose the euthanasia option should not have to travel to another country but be able to avail of facilities either in their own home or in a suitable health care setting.
Personally I do not think that I would ever choose euthanasia. I am a Christian. The voluntary death of Christ on the cross and His embracing of suffering is a central part of my faith and spirituality.
I would want to experience my life to the very last moment and if I were destined to be ill and suffer greatly in the lead up to my death I would want to go through all of that with the crucifix in my hand and unite my sufferings with the sufferings of Christ.
However I would never, ever, wish to impose my faith and spirituality on any other human being - be they atheist, agnostic, Christian, Muslim or whatever.
I can seen how some people cannot see any value in a long, debilitating, suffering-filled death.
I respect their right to say "ENOUGH NOW" and to end their life before they descend into a merciless pit of suffering.
I think that a modern state should give everyone in their right mind, who is acting freely, to call it a day.
Euthanasia should be legal - and of course it should be optional.
Bishop Pat Buckley