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The Slope is More Slippery than Ever

The culture of death initially proposed the abortion of disabled children as a voluntary option and presented it as a liberating act. It has now degenerated into an expectation with harsh criticism levied when the “option” is not selected. Similarly, the “freedom” to choose suicide at the end of life has turned into a duty to die if one is a burden to one’s family or society in general. Professor John Hardwig, head of the Philosophy Department at the University of Tennessee, takes this stand on BBC radio. I am afraid I cannot find the audio broadcast that features him but you can appreciate the gist of his position from this written summary:

Hardwig thinks that we may have a duty to die when the burden of caring for us seriously compromises the lives of those who love us:

* they may be physically exhausted by caring for us
* they may be emotionally exhausted by caring for us
* they may be financially destroyed by the cost of our healthcare
* they may be financially destroyed by having to give up work to care for us
* their home may become a place of grief and sickness
* other family members may be neglected as all attention is focussed on us

Hardwig says that there are no general rules - each case will be different, and he openly admits, “I can readily imagine that, through cowardice, rationalisation, or failure of resolve, I will fail in this obligation to protect my loved ones. If so, I think I would need to be excused or forgiven for what I did.”

Nor does Hardwig think that a person should make their final decision without consulting their family - although he points out the difficulties in doing this.

Since October is Respect Life month, it would be good to pray for the conversion of Professor Hardwig and all those who promote the culture of death.


Jim said…
"Where man is no longer seen as one who is under the particular protection of God, there begins the barbarism which tramples on humanity. Where the sense of the singular dignity of each person, in the light of God's design, is lost, there the project of mankind is horribly deformed, and his freedom, devoid of rule, becomes monstrous." -- Pope Benedict XVI

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