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Artificial Nutrition and Hydration

The Vatican has issued a statement through the ‘Congregation For The Doctrine of Faith’ to clarify its position on artificial life support. Do you think artificial life support or having a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ agreement is morally acceptable?

To read the ‘Congregation For The Doctrine of Faith’ response to the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) about artificial life support -
Click Here.

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What others are saying:

Gerald March 26, 2010 02:55:53
yes! the idea of barbarically starving someone to death (which we would not do to our worst criminals) because someone declarers that that person is unfit to live still shocks me. Best Regards G McDonnell

James March 22, 2010 13:36:33
No. If I am terminally ill let me be with God! If I can be saved via CPR from a heart attack fine. However if I am brain dead. I am then already with the lord.

O March 21, 2010 23:23:02
Artificial Life Support is necessary if it be in accordance to God's Will,DNR I would say depends on the circumstances,if we allow the Holy Spirit to work within us,with faith God's will shall be done and you will know the answer.Whatever the Pope decides ,so must we have faith that is the right way because he has been appointed to look after us til Our Lord's Second coming.

Jane March 11, 2010 10:53:12
Will you please take Terri Schiavo's picture off your question about "Artificial Life Support." This implies strongly that Terri was kept alive by ALS and identifies her situation with artificial respiration methods, etc. Terri was given real nutrition and hydration through a tube. This was not "artificial." Her heart and respiration were normal. She was legally starved to death.

Mary March 9, 2010 05:46:43
There's a distinction between life support that supports organ systems that would fail without biotechnology, and the basic life needs of oxygen, nutrition, and pain management. Extraordinary measures of life support that include organ system support by technology should be left to the decision of the patient or the patient's guardians, but no one should be refused the basic needs for life; oxygen or nutrition. If the doctors can prove that life would not be sustained without biotechnology, then it's a difficult decision to make, but the patient should make it themselves. However, withholding oxygen or nutrition from a patient is equal to murder by suffocation and/or starvation. We would all die without these things, surely those who can't speak for themselves have rights to these basics requirements for life. No one should assume that a patient who can't speak for themselves would choose to die from suffocation or starvation. Would you want someone choosing that for you if you were unable to communicate? Those who are in a vegetative state (as far as medical science is able to understand it) are not dying. Starving them to death is murder.

Elizabeth March 7, 2010 08:00:27
I believe artificial life support is wrong long term. If it is only temporary for a short period of time then it is okay. It is wrong to keep a person alive in the living hell the machinery would keep them in long term. I believe it is right to have a Do Not Resuscitate order. It is wrong to force a body to live against Gods will. If God wants someone to die they should be allowed to die. If they are put on machinery to keep them alive long term it is taken out of Gods hands and put into mans hands. If God wants someone to survive they will without being put on a machine to keep them artificially "alive"long term. I have told my family to never keep me alive long term on machinery. If my dog is ill and suffering we can euthanize it. I wish the same could be done for me when I am old and sick or if I am brain damaged by illness or accident. I do not want to be forced to "live" in a shell of a body that God would have called me to him out of only to be forced to stay in it alive in it against Gods will. The church should back down and not disobey Gods will regarding when people should die. If God wants someone to live they will. They should turn off the machines. If they live it is Gods will. If they die it is Gods will. Dong anything else is morally wrong and sinful.

K.C.Thomas March 2, 2010 08:35:09
Some think that vegetative life with no possibility of recovery should be allowed to be put out. On the same anlougy some may argue that people who are oldand have no income for their maintenance need not live at the cost of the society.These are thoughts from the purely materialistic hearts without a trace of higher, tolerant and compassionate trend of mind. The only thing is finance. In respect of people who cannot afford , the care of such people of vegetative existence should be the responsibility of the State Suitable legislation is necessary.

Fred February 23, 2010 07:17:45
I think it is up to the person dying to decide. If the don't wish to be on it you should respect their wishes.

Shannon February 22, 2010 13:44:00
From JPII's theology of the body, man is an "angimal" - not just a soul (angel) encased in flesh or simply flesh(animal), but a spiritual body. The soul cannot leave the body if the body is still living. And God gave us the ability to create this technology to keep someone alive longer than once was possible. He can still take the person if He wants them - there are instances where life support has failed. Modern medicine has ways to detect that often when the brain is unable to function in some ways, it is still coherent. The person is still alive and we have no right to take that life. Doctors take a vow to "protect human life at all costs". But they so often fail to do so. My great-grandmother died when I was 11 because her children (my grandparents) decided to cut off her food supply. She could have lived, and perhaps recovered, but they starved her to death. That was their decision, not God's will, because God gave us the ability to keep her alive.

Moose February 22, 2010 10:46:20
I will not answer the question directly because, honestly, I would have to think about it more and research it more which would include educating myself on the Church's position, but I do have a comment in regards the folks who say that a DNR order is immoral because it interferes with God's will as to whether He is calling us home. Well, what about someone with an infection who will die unless he gets and antibiotic? How about someone who needs emergency surgery that he/she will die without having; how about treatment for any number of millions of health issues that, without such treatment, you will die. How is this different from resuscitating someone who will die without such resuscitation? I do see one distinction, that perhaps the person is already brain dead or their heart will stop beating without it, but I think there's also similarities, in that eventually in all circumstances people will die without the antibiotic, without the surgery, without the treatment, without the resuscitation. See what I'm getting at here? Any thoughts?

Christine February 20, 2010 11:02:46
Well, as someone who stayed at both my father and brothers bedside during natural death I have to think about this. I truly believe that a person should die naturally. We gave them something to eat until they rejected or couldn't eat anymore and we gave them water until the end. This is not an easy thing. I personally don't want artificial life support. It is all Gods will.

Harriet February 16, 2010 07:44:39
No i dont believe in artificial live support,are Resuscitation,if its my time to die, i dont think man should play God,whit my life and soul,and if its not my time God will take care of me.For what is life.it is or gift from God and when God is ready to call us in front of him to tell us how we did with gift,it is not mans place to play GOD.For if God wants us to be able to eat,we will eat,if he wants our heart to beat it will beat.Man should be man and stop playing God.There is one God and when he calls me ,i dont want some man to keep me here longer by some artificial means.

Michael February 10, 2010 06:38:53
In view of the recent study that demonstrates the ability to elicit a yes or no response from several individuals in the vegetative state, the decision to end their existence becomes problematic.

Sylvia February 9, 2010 11:40:36
I'll answer your question with a question. Do you think it is morally right to end the life of another person? Only God created life and only God can end it, when and if He so desires. All life even of one in a coma, handicapped or sick or old has a purpose. Only God knows what that purpose is. These people can be a strong advocate for human suffering and its redemptive qualities. God has a purpose and a plan for all our lives and we should not thwart that purpose. AMEN! and God Bless!

Rolando January 25, 2010 22:29:12
What is the purpose of the doctors and hospital is to prolong life. But to the people who wish not to burden the family of the resuscitation cost. What is a vegetative state. Does it mean the vital organs can function without the aid of a resuscitating machine? If the answer is a "NO" then is morally just if a brain dead person have a very slim chance of survival because of a terminal disease, of old age or from an accident. Today, technology have improved that even the person is brain dead still can make the vital organs to function artificially. What is the use of the body is the soul have already left it. It is better to give your healthy vital organs to a person who needs it. From this charity, there is a part of you that person that lives and added years to that person.

Carol January 23, 2010 20:10:22
I'm a little confused, because as others have stated, artificial life support and/or a "Do Not Resuscitate" order is completely different than withholding nutrition/hydration. My father was a "DNR" but he did get nutrition/hydration. DNR is "Do not resuscitate (DNR) order is a part of advanced medical directives allowed by federal law passed in 1991, expanding the notion of patient autonomy to situations in which they may not be able to make crucial medical decisions due to incapacitation. It instructs medical personnel not to perform life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or other procedures to restart the heart or breathing once they have ceased. " Read more: Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order - pain, time, heart, cancer, Definition, Purpose, Description, Preparation, Normal results http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/Ce-Fi/Do-Not-Resuscitate-DNR-Order.html#ixzz0dUxjgVUF

Alyson January 21, 2010 07:38:53
I understand and respect The Vatican's decision on this issue, however my Living Will does not reflect The Vatican's stance. If I have been deemed by more than two doctors as never being able to recover my consciousness and I am in a "permanent vegetative state" I would prefer all life support to be terminated immediately and my soul be returned to God. If I am unable to consciously pray and there is no measurable brain activity, I am serving no valuable purpose as a human being on this Earth. In my opinion, the sadness and suffering my unconscious body would cause to my family and caregivers would be unnecessary. I prefer survivors move on with their lives and lay my body to rest, allowing my soul freedom to seek God's judgment and redemption.

Andre January 16, 2010 07:42:43
Everyone has to revive his or her life at one point in life . To live a incoherent life style is dreadful and is a moral sin . We have to understand ourselves in order to understand others .

Moyosoluwa January 15, 2010 09:07:54
It's ok to continue to try to keep the person alive by artificial means.

Dennis January 15, 2010 06:36:57
The Human body is a vessel that holds our soul while here on Earth. A vessel that our Soul is entrusted to take care of. There comes a time when that vessel wears out or becomes damaged and the Soul is called back to its Creator. We have an obligation to save that Vessel for the benefit of the Soul. What if we are trying to save that vessel for our own reasons and preventing or holding it back from its mission with God. We should reflect on at what point do we allow that Soul to be set free. What happens if science in the future decides it can freeze a body till a cure is found. Is the Soul Frozen?

Theresa January 10, 2010 16:44:13
do not resuscitare is not the same withholding food and water. I don't believe a DNR is morally wrong. Theresa

Psalms91 January 9, 2010 23:23:49
"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven." If we have the means and technology to heal and prevent death, then by all means we should heal the sick. To stand by, and test the Lord to save a person through a divine miracle, is a sin in itself.

Peggy January 6, 2010 21:42:50
In my experience, a person requests a DNR when they know they are terminal and do not want to be kept alive artificially. It means they want to die with dignity and to let nature take it's course. Like how people died back in the day before medicine became too far advanced. If someone has no chance of recovery and has no quality of life due to pain or not being able to breathe, or whatever, I think DNR is God's way,

james January 6, 2010 21:15:18
I am of the opinion that,all things considered it is up to the individuals wishes. GOD LOVES US ALL. may the Lord bless all.

Ozzy January 2, 2010 16:43:21
A DNR is a very difficult thing to decide, if you are family member charged with making this decision. Realize though that the majority of the people who have decided this for themselves, already share the experience of being resuscitated. The resuscitation process is no easy task, and is very traumatic to the person being resuscitated. I am a nurse and I have seen many an individual go from a little complaint to an all out terminal diagnosis. Until you see the suffering involved in a person with a terminal diagnosis, and see the constant battle between life and death, you will never appreciate the PEACE that a DNR brings. The sanctity of life should be cherished, and death should be respected. As Catholics we believe that life in the body is temporary, and that our Soul will live on in eternity in the Glory of the Holy Trinity. Death is eventual, and is sure as the air we breath. Even RESUSCITATION will not keep you on earth if you are being summoned by God. A DNR is merely a formality! We would be horribly egotistical to think that any HUMAN hand could manipulate the flow and beauty of Life and Death with a DNR. If we should focus any attention it should be on preserving the SANCTITY OF LIFE, and it is being directly and VIOLENTLY ATTACKED in the form of ABORTION! This truly requires our prayer, focus, and DEFENSE!

Dan January 1, 2010 13:03:36
I have often wondered if a DNR was Sinful. In my opinion it suggests a secular reason, to spare expense. I would not feel comfortable with placing my family in such a difficult situation without good spiritual guidance. I would prefer that a Priest be involved with the process.

Robert December 30, 2009 06:36:37
Is this not what Sara has been talking about? Is this not a "death Panel"?

dianne December 27, 2009 22:27:42
i am a 71 year old woman. two years ago while at home dressing to go out, i stopped breathing. my family and our local 911 team got me breathing. in the emergency room i was intibated, placed on a ventilator and given tender care for 3 days then allowed to wake to find out if i could breath on my own. PRAISE be to GOD, i did. had i not done so my family would have faced a difficult thing...i had no DNR (do not resuscitate) order. i still do not. i know that if i had i would never have been resuscitated the day i stopped breathing. GOD had a plan for me and my life. that is the reason i would never sign a dnr....the reason i am alive and living a fulfilling life today! the reason i continue to live, breath and praise my holy God!!

Jayne December 27, 2009 21:58:59
This is my problem..My mom 97 with dementia has been in a nursing home for 2 months. they asked me if I wanted her resuscitated in the event she would be in that position. she is active but does not eat much. What would the church want me to do?

mary December 27, 2009 06:39:07
This is an irrelevant argument. A DNR could not be more filled with faith!! A DNR order says thy will be done. I cannot believe I am even reading this debate. This is why there is no peace in the world. We misunderstand things and then create an argument when one shouldn't be created!!

Robert December 23, 2009 12:51:52
Doesn't matter what anyone thinks. All that matters is what Holy Mother Church teaches. Jesus Christ speaks to us through His Church, Through Peter and His successors. Catholic Online in it's stupid way should keep to informing us of Doctrinal Truth, not asking for worthless opinions. Life is precious. But it is not yours. It has been bought by blood, the blood of Christ. Life comes from God, and returns to God in His time. The Lord gives life, and the Lord owns your life. It is not yours to do with as you will. Live it for Christ.

Tonya December 21, 2009 18:08:13
I am a RN and I deal with end of life issues on a daily basis, I believe that DNR are not only morally acceptable, it is morally right. Of course, it is up to each person to make their own personal choice. I see so many people suffer and families out of their own guilt or selfishness won't let them go. By let them go, I mean die naturally -vs- invasive medical measures that not only prolongs suffering but reduces a human to a non-existent quality of life. A a faithful Catholic, I agree with the one of the other posts that said people would benefit from a Priest or other spiritual resource. Sometimes, the best medicine we can give someone is comfort both physically and spiritually.

Jerry December 20, 2009 19:15:36
I believe that having a "Do Not Resuscitate" agreement is morally acceptable. It's not me taking, or me asking someone to take, my life before it's natural end.

Mark December 15, 2009 10:28:36
I would agree with Paulette, especially in light of The USCCB's Nov. 19, 2009 clarification on providing nutrition and hydration to patients in a persistent vegetative state. Viewed in isolation, a DNR is not morally impermissible. However, a patients signing a DNR may be interpreted by some health care workers as a license to provide reduced life sustaining care, including morally obligatory nutrition and hydration resulting in the patients death. Signing a DNR oftentimes has unintended and terminal consequences beyond non-resucitation issues. The law of unintended consequences...

Elizabeth December 15, 2009 06:33:28
I believe having a Do Not Resuscitate order is morally acceptable. If God truly wanted you to live you would live. By having this order you could inter fear with Gods plan for you. I believe life support is only acceptable in the the case that you would become able to sustain life without it after a healing period. If you would become never able to survive without it forever then I believe it is morally wrong and would inter fear with Gods plan for you. I do not believe it is Gods plan to trap peoples souls in useless bodies. I have seen people trapped in unresponsive bodies that should have been allowed to die. It is cruel beyond belief and is usually caused by a families selfish desire not to lose their loved one. They are not thinking of what would really be best for them which would be to let them to go to God and heaven.

John December 9, 2009 07:15:03
If it is time for me to die, don't interfere with mechanical means..

Michael December 5, 2009 11:00:42
It is morally acceptable. If my heart isn't beating and I'm not breathing I'm LEGALLY AND Physically dead. Bring on the magic show and My friends and family can toast our time spent together. Why do we (humans) have to over think everything? Even the Catholic church is on the defensive all the time. This should be the blanket press statement for anyone who questions our beliefs, Rot in hell.

Tomas December 5, 2009 02:41:34
I have seen many resuscitation efforts in which the patient is truly at the end of his life, and perhaps he would better benefit from a priest, and the message of Divine Mercy, than anything else. On the other hand, I have seen patients asking for Do Not Resuscitate orders, who have lost all hope, family support, and esteem, and to me it was apparent that the root cause of the person's wishes were a deep and profound despair. How to be wise? In the secular world, in hospitals, there are souls in great need, and it is this need that must be answered by us Christians, by our prayers and support and presence in their lives. God help all of them.

Mike November 28, 2009 14:20:28
Of course this is acceptable. Would you not help and elderly person who has fallen get back on their feet, or share food with someone who is poor and hungry? The right to live life is given and accepted by us all on a personal level, who can take that away!

Kathleen November 27, 2009 09:13:47
You have to look at the merits of each individual case. I think-- generally speaking-- a DNR is morally acceptable except in cases of accidents.

Susan November 23, 2009 15:41:27
I am a health care worker. I believe if the end is near it is in God's hands. I can see if the patient is a child doing everything humanly possible to save their life. However if there is no hope of a recovery for a person of any age then I believe a DNR order is appropriate.I have seen many people suffer..

James November 23, 2009 11:25:29
I believe that if I am brain dead, then no let me go and be with Jesus. If I am in the last stages of a terminal illness give me comfort and care. I do not believe having a do not resuscitate order on file is a sin. Provided that the person has chosen it without undue influence. My father had one as he had stage IV lung cancer and he was 85 years old. He said he was fully ready to be with Mother and to be in heaven.

Scott November 17, 2009 11:23:29
I think the key is defining "natural death". Life support and other man-made means of keeping someone alive is not natural death.

Erin November 17, 2009 10:31:51
Obviously the age of a person changes the answer to this question. NOT because older people are worth less! If the patient is younger and has a chance at recovering or leading a comfortable life, artificial life support is a blessing and something worth trying. If a patient is unlikely to survive or in poorly managed pain, or near the end of life, artificial life support is only prolonging the inevitable and causing the person to suffer unecessarily. Of course, it is always important.

Paulette November 17, 2009 04:22:09
We must look to the Church for the teachings on end of life issues. It is a must to make sure there is nutrition and hydration, even artificially. To not do this is murder. If the person has a chance of recovering, artificial life support such as a ventilator is necessary. If the person is sure to die soon, a ventilator isn't necessary. But water and food are. I believe a do not resuscitate order can be misconstrued and is therefore not morally acceptable. Follow what the Church teaches.

Bruno November 16, 2009 12:47:47
It does not matter what we think as human beings because we are fallible. What does matter is what Jesus Christ Our Lord God and Savior has said or written that is infallible.

Lynne November 2, 2009 11:45:23
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I look forward to meeting the Lord Jesus. We all will die, some of us will embrace Jesus upon our death while others will go to the bottomless pit. Are you afraid to die? Why all the support for artificial life support? Where is your Faith?

Zachary November 1, 2009 18:55:53
Life is precious from birth until natural death. To me that means that when the body can no longer sustain itself, then it is time to move on. It seems that being kept in an incurable vegetative state indefinitely is denying the soul its natural right to move into the next realm.

Clarence October 27, 2009 03:46:03
DNR is acceptable for expected natural death.

Aseem October 24, 2009 23:46:32
I was 47 years ago,i had a stroke. Dont feel bad my learing and reading is bad. Today i am 51. I am much better. You think some thing an change my life. i was so good five years ago.

historyb October 24, 2009 18:22:39
Life always comes first.

Lynda October 23, 2009 14:56:53
I personally believe that only GOD should end our life no matter what. If we continue as a society to do against his will where will we end up.

Michael October 21, 2009 18:33:34
I think that DNR's, health care proxies and other forms of end-of-life planning are not only morally acceptable but spiritually wise. They are also an expression of love for one's family, to make your wishes known.

Michael October 17, 2009 15:42:17
We've heard rare stories where those kept alive for years on life support have awakened and were able to resume a normal life. However, the choice of life support or "do not resuscitation" should be up to the patient, not family, spouse or friends. Plan ahead and make your own arrangements. It will save your family and loved ones the guilt and horrible responsibility of wondering if they carried out your wishes, prolonged your suffering or gave up on you too soon. Personally, I believe if a patient's prognosis is poor, life support is an expensive, emotionally-draining choice. Medicine should be used to deliver quality of life, not prolong misery and suffering. While we will suffer the loss of someone dear, we need to consider their well-being above our selfish motives.

Tess October 16, 2009 02:10:15
Artificial life support is acceptable if the person is not brain death which means that the person has motor function, If there is no cognitive function and there is family to take care of the person, who is the best judge of that person except the loves ones that are the side of the person. Remember that this pain and suffering also feeds to the care giver and sometimes this is the drive that gives them happiness-- happiness is intrinsic. DO NOT RESUSCITATE is morally acceptable if the person is brain dead - that is there is no motor function and sense function. What is NOT ACCEPTABLE IS EUTHANASIA AND PATIENT ASSISTED SUICIDE- THESE TWO ARE DEVIL. MOST DOERS ARE DOCTORS WHO HIDE BEHIND THEIR WHITE LAB COAT AND THEIR TITLE MD. MY BROTHER WAS EUTHASIZED AND THE DOCTORS DID NOT TREAT HIS INFECTION TILL THE INFECTION BECAME SYSTEMIC, AND MOST OF ALL BECAUSE " WE DO NOT TREAT PERSON WITH TERMINAL CANCER." MY BROTHER DID NOT DIE OF CANCER BUT DIED OF SEPSIS.THAT IS THE CANADIAN SOCIALIZE MEDICINE.

Nelson October 14, 2009 20:10:01
The ability to prolong life through man's might has been growing. Growth introduces the need for limitation. If man will play God, then he must open his eyes and start considering the things once left only to Providence. Consider the prayers of thanksgiving of countless survivors throughout time for their suffering loved ones who by the grace of God were allowed to move on. Maybe now but especially in the future a suffering soul may need the king's permission to see God. As a child takes on more and more abilities, ideally that child should become more and more responsible. Human kind certainly has become more able.

Ross September 11, 2009 19:55:07
Go to Confession. In response to Richards question, "Richard - June 9, 2009 15:49:07 I am a 76-year-old fallen away Roman Catholic, who never returned to the Church during my teen years, after being Baptized; and made my First Communion, and my Confirmation. What would be involved for me to return to the Roman Catholic Church? And would I be accepted?" Go to confession, then attend Mass every Sunday. The priest can answer any other questions you may have.

Jason September 11, 2009 17:54:32
I think that a "Do Not Resuscitate" order is morally acceptable. I think that to try "heroic measures" to restore life when God has chosen to end it is not what Christ would want us to do.

John September 4, 2009 22:28:46
Yes

Jane September 4, 2009 16:00:36
Why do you have a photo of Terry Schindler Schiavo beside a question about "artificial life support"? Terry was starved to death by refusing to give her food or water through a tube. That is not "artificial." It's just a different way of providing nutrition to a patient. Her husband and friends try to falsify this by calling it artificial life support. She was not on a respirator or a heart machine. She merely needed assistance with nutrition and hydration..

Chad September 3, 2009 13:19:16
I believe that artificial life support is morally acceptable with prudence. For example, I would want to be kept alive in order for family members to get to the hospital and "say good-bye", but not be kept alive for an inordinate period of time. I would only want to be resuscitated if there was a chance to live naturally after medical treatment, otherwise let me die naturally.

Rick September 1, 2009 07:58:15
It is fine, if carefully worded {such as, "with the consent of our local pastor from ________ Parish."

Mark August 25, 2009 16:46:19
The USCCB does not address DNRs because it is a form of patient assisted suicide. The person signing it is saying at some point in the future and under certain circumstances, you have my consent to end my life. Such consent for self-killing or future termination is suicide, by definition, and the Catholic Church has never wavered on that position as immoral. Therefore the only thing that needed clarification is if someone else can do it for you or make that decision for you, and that answer was an unequivocal NO.

Brian August 21, 2009 12:35:19
I read the USCCB's article about Nutrition and Hydration - I agree. However this is vastly different from a DNR order; I believe that a DNR is morally acceptable.

BUD August 10, 2009 14:48:14
Do not resuscitate is absolutely o.k. Who would want to be kept alive by a machine?? Not me, and I'm a 73 year full term Roman Catholic. I would not want to live plugged into the wall !! No Thanks..

Richard August 6, 2009 07:55:08
Life is given to us by God and it is He only has the right over it.It is not the body alone which is embodied in any human being but it also carries one's soul which has to go through a phase of purification for which pain and suffering is very much part of God's Salvation plan for Mankind.So who are we to take the decision to end suffering which is given a status of respectability when Jesus accepted suffering at the hands of His Father.

Luanne August 2, 2009 12:50:35
What can be a sin for one, would only be reasonable for another. I know a family that had their elderly mother, bedfast and in advanced stages of Alzheimer's for years, resuscitated several times. Their viewpoint was if they could resuscitate, the facility should. At one point her son said to me that God would take her home when it was time. I had to think that God had TRIED and been told "not yet." And yet, for a younger person to have DNR orders that could be mistakenly applied, would be wrong. What if they were in an accident and could be fine eventually? Or what if life support was the means to healing? We have a responsibility to err on the side of life when life is possible. As for the DNR orders, I have been told they are usually not honored except in a long term care situation. A doctor isn't going to waste valuable time checking someone's chart, they resuscitate first. Which is the preferable method, who wants to find out their loved one could have been revived and wasn't?

Linda July 29, 2009 07:58:46
Everyone should be given some chance to live. Artificial life support could keep someone alive long enough for a cure to be found. God chooses when someone dies and it should be left up to God. Since God gave the option through scientists to keep people alive longer, why not take it?

James July 28, 2009 09:49:24
The Vatican statement does not speak to or address the morality of having a "Do Not Resuscitate" agreement. Nothing I know of in the defined doctrine of the Catholic Church identifies a "Do Not Resuscitate" agreement as being immoral or wrong. By a "Do Not Resuscitate" agreement, I am referring to an affirmation that technological equipment is not to be used on a permanent basis to force continued limited life in a body that cannot sustain itself, when there is no medical hope of recovery to a self functional state. Frankly and personally, I find that kind of conduct obscene. The issue of nutrition and hydration is distinct from the vastly more aggressive technological tools that are available today as is a transient and temporary use of such tools used to help the body recover from a temporary trauma. James Harris

Fred July 27, 2009 07:17:43
As for artificial life support, my mother was on a respirator and feeding tube for almost 3 weeks. During that time she was in an induced coma. What we did not know what that, during that 3 week period, she suffered two very severe strokes that would have left her paralyzed. She had a living will and, as her son and only living relative, I honored her request and had the tubes removed. She was put in hospice and allowed to die naturally. As her son, the last act of love I could show her was to honor her request and allow her to die with dignity. Her doctors agreed that she would never live a productive or meaningful life. While a part of me died honoring her request, I sleep at night with a clear conscience. It was her time.

Nancy July 26, 2009 19:12:25
I believe every moment is precious and a gift from conception to death. To respond to this question, many will remember the case of Karen Quinlin..when her parents said enough is enough and took her off all life support..Karen lived about 10 years after that. I believe if we are resuscitated or we are not if we are on machines or we are not God chooses when we go. Let's not put a burden on families when their Mother or Father chose "not to be resuscitated or be put on artificial life support". Communication is the key before someone gets demencia, etc. as to what their wishes are.

Julia July 23, 2009 05:39:36
Artificial Life Support is too general of a statement to make..."do not resuscitate" is a very dangerous statement to put on someone's medical chart or medical necklace. What is the point of medical science and medical care if we don't use the benefits of being resuscitated?? I know people who are leading very fruitful lives but must use a machine that is attached to them that causing them to breath automatically...if we did not use this we would be robed of the benefit of these human lives in the world. Furthermore we can not leave it up to an ill person to make a decision as this for many are depressed when they are ill. I agree with the comment by David who said "just follow the Golden Rule".

David July 22, 2009 02:14:35
Just follow The Golden Rule. Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.

Peter July 1, 2009 16:46:34
Speaking for myself, I have told my children that I do not want any heroic efforts to sustain my life in the event of some trauma that would leave me in an otherwise vegative state. It's over when it's over and whose choice is it to say when you you go? If science can keep me going beyond reasonable terms then it is wasted. I have had my chance and I am grateful for it. Prior to new medical developments many would have died in the natural course of events so why not leave it at that and devote time, skills and funds to more worthwhile pursuits. Surely someone has to exercise their judgement to determine when and if to "turn off the machine". I am 72 year of age. I look forward to meeting God when the time comes.

David June 30, 2009 17:48:03
Thank you for providing the link to the actual 2 questions from the USCCB and the answers approved by our Holy Father, Pope. The moral obligation to provide food and water (naturally or artificial) is clearly justified, precisely because it is ordinary and proportionate care. The economy for the No answer for the 2nd question related to "... a patient in a "permanent vegetative state", may they be discontinued when competent physicians judge with moral certainty that the patient will never recover consciousness?" is excellent. The answer eliminates the need to show the complete fallacy of the idea of a permanent vegetative state determined by competent physicians judge with moral certainty that the patient will never recover consciousness. Years ago we house two prolife law students for the summer who gave us great insight to exactly a case this like. The nurses would find the “permanent vegetative [sic.]” patient a number of times sitting a chair beside her bed. The doctor would come in, and observe the patient for 5 minutes, and slap the “permanent vegetative” label back on her. When the Archdiocese of Indianapolis put on a prolife seminar on this issue, this case was discussed. When I revealed the non-public information about nurses finding and the slapping of the label back on, everyone else, priest, doctors, and lawyers were horrified. After hearing this information the priest used the term “Star Chamber Events” to the relabeling of the patient as in a “permanent vegetative state”.

janice June 30, 2009 09:24:57
yes. if God will take away our life and its really our time,whatever support we give the patient to survive is useless..so lets just give the patient the best care or the artificial life support he needs for he might survive..

wanda June 21, 2009 18:23:11
DNR are acceptable if it's the patients decision. If a person has died, why use extremes measures to make them stay here. As far as artificial support, as a nurse I've seen real miracles happen, so yes. For Terry Shiavo- she was cruelly deprived of water and nutrition and was basically murdered for what reason only God and the one forcing the issue knows. Her parents wanted to take care of her-well you know the rest of the story.

wanda June 21, 2009 18:15:33
to Richard to return to the Catholic Church you only need go to Confession and tell your sins and why you've been away. It doesn't matter how long you've been gone, the Church will welcome you back. As a convert myself, I never had a bad confession experience. The priests today are great. My son's one.

Margaret June 15, 2009 11:03:27
I would like a draft of a letter letting my children know that I do not wish to be kept alive by artificial means if there is no chance of my recovering to a normal life.

Patricia June 13, 2009 08:13:08
Yes. Atrifical life support for variable periods of time.....until the body itself rejects the support. D N R agreement as long as it is an agreement.

Richard June 9, 2009 15:49:07
I am a 76-year-old fallen away Roman Catholic, who never returned to the Church during my teen years, after being Baptized; and made my First Communion, and my Confirmation. What would be involved for me to return to the Roman Catholic Church? And would I be accepted?

Bill June 8, 2009 09:44:42
To quote E.M. Cioran: It is difficult, it is impossible to believe that the Good Lord--'Our Father'--had a hand in the scandal of creation. Everything suggests that He took no part in it, that it proceeds from a god without scruples, a feculent god. Goodness does not create, lacking imagination; it takes imagination to put together a world, however botched. At the very least, there must be a mixture of good and evil in order to produce an action or a work. Or a universe. Considering ours, it is altogether easier to trace matters back to a suspect god than to an honorable one.

Marian June 7, 2009 15:52:28
I don't understand why you have a photograph of Terry Schiavo on a question about "artificial life support." Terry was never on artificial life support. She was simply deprived of the normal nutrition and hydration needed for all people to survive. Also, over the photo is the title "Artificial Nutrition and Hydration." What the heck does that mean? How is nutrition and hydration "artificial"? Lots of people with various medical situations have to be fed through a tube. It's not "artificial" it's simply a way to feed someone. The media promulgated the lie that Terry's situation was the same as keeping someone who is dying on life support systems just to keep them alive. Terry was NOT dying. She was breathing on her own and was legally murdered. Don't you Read? Also, spread the word, please, to stop referring to human beings with immortal souls as being in a "vegetative" state. People are NOT vegetables!

Carl June 4, 2009 19:30:18
No it is not sinful to have a DNR.

Jeffrey June 2, 2009 14:17:34
With regard to a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), so long as the person signing the order is of sound mind without any pressure, I think a DNR is a "leap of faith" in that we are saying to God, "Thy will be done". With regard to "pulling the plug" without a DNR, my biggest problem with this, as with euthanasia in general, is that I find it morally questionable because the question becomes what is our motivation? Are we actually performing an act of mercy or relieving ourselves of a burden? Where is the line dividing mercy and relieving ourselves on nonproductive units? By allowing euthanasia, we open the door to just such questions. As to "artificial life", one thing that has kept me in the Church is that our doctrine on life is consistent. We oppose abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia. I think we should maintain that consistency. This is my humble thought.

Marshall May 28, 2009 18:46:43
As a nurse I see all too often when we torture people's bodies in the name of prolonging "life", when despite all odds they pass away anyway. I do not see a problem with saying "this person has lived their life and is trying to pass away naturally". I think it can be a perverted sense of scientific ego that allows us to keep people alive when they would normally be on their way to heaven. I think it is morally acceptable to allow people to do what we are meant to do: die peacefully.

Mary April 24, 2009 18:38:49
Yes, I believe it is morally acceptable. Why do you ask, are you not sure? Also, one additional question came to mind after reviewing responses, what is "natural" death? Is it OK for someone to end their life because of severe depression at a time when we do not know how to manage depression effectively?

Jan April 23, 2009 18:38:04
I am a health care provider. I have seen where there are truly times where life is worse than death. Especially if death holds the promise of Heaven. I am more and more realizing that modern medicine can keep people alive, (relatively speaking) with the most grave of diagnoses. I believe people should be able to die a natural and peaceful death without artificial interventions or excessive resuscitation if the prognosis for a poor quality of life is probable. Playing God goes both ways. It saddens me to believe most of these issues are more about legality and liability than righteousness.

Cathy April 17, 2009 14:52:27
yes

Gina April 15, 2009 10:41:17
I think God gave man the knowledge to technology, so we should use it as far as we can, but not without prayers, keep the machines on, but pray and pray and never stop asking for His will. How can you use technology to save a baby who was born premature and would not have survived without this help, and then decide to switch off machines because it's convenient.

Madonna April 13, 2009 08:12:52
I think artificial life support is just that -- artificial. In the case of Ms. Schivo, she was allowed to die naturally. There was nothing wrong with taking her off artificial means to keep her alive. I do not believe in mercy killing, but do not think it wrong to allow someone to die naturally.

Matthew April 7, 2009 20:37:31
As a Paramedic I was fortunate not to have come across this situation. However, I believe that it is okay to honor someone's wish. (though difficult) After all, it is not the purpose nor pursuit of the physical death for this person, rather it is the acceptance of.

Carrie April 3, 2009 10:57:19
As an ICU RN for several years, I believe that a DNR is morally acceptable. I also believe that artificial life support is morally acceptable if that person is able to recover and have chance at a productive life.

Caroline March 29, 2009 15:35:48
As a professional in the medical field, I do believe that life support is morally acceptable. I've worked in ICU's and ER's for more than 20 years and I believe that as long as there is a chance that the person being sustained "artificially" has a chance to recover..then by all means let them have a chance.If,however, the patient has an irreversible and terminal condition that will not ever improve and it is known that the wish of the patient is to not go on any longer,then it is morally obligatory to let that person die with dignity. I can't begin to tell you how many patients are put through torture for weeks and months because of a family member's guilt or physician's ego. A DNR is morally acceptable,as well. Our bodies have expiration dates,if you will, and sometimes it is necessary to just let nature take its course without heroics and without intervention.

Kathy March 28, 2009 18:32:57
No, I don't believe that a "do not resuscitate" agreement is sinful. I believe that to hasten the time of death is sinful, but to allow natural death isn't. If the person is going to die, and the doctors and medical personnel allow that natural death to happen, that is God's will.

Craig March 25, 2009 21:23:06
As a practicing Catholic and a surgeon I run into these situations all the time. I believe and What I tell patients is that a DNR does not mean we'll let you starve to death. What it means is that if your heart stops we don't try to start it. I do not believe this is sinful. To starve someone or not give them hydration is.

Frederick March 24, 2009 12:08:30
A ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ agreement makes me scared. It makes me cry. Life is so precious. It has to be upheld by all means.

Christine March 23, 2009 11:36:11
A DNR order can be acceptable if it keeps you from being placed on life support in the first place. If you are technically dead before the machine is connected, then you are playing god.

Lucy March 10, 2009 05:32:48
People are quite literally hounded to agree to a Do Not Resuscitate order. To agree to a DNR is to allow denial of potentially life-saving treatments like cardiopulmonary resuscitation and medications that may enable survival. It saves the insurance companies money if the patient dies--and lots of money if many die. If the patient dies, there is cost-containment. It's probably best to really think it over very carefully before you agree to have Do Not Resuscitate orders initiated. Some are convinced (made to feel guilty) they have to do it, and later are left to wonder if they were inadvertently responsible for their loved one's hastened death, and they are left with guilt and doubt ever after. There are groups advocating euthanasia or "mercy killing" of the elderly and the mentally ill and even the currently, but not necessarily permanently, "depressed individuals" and some mention that these "mercy killings" would conserve money and resources. Some people are being told that it is their "duty to die" because someone else has decided that they "have no quality of life." It is a "slippery slope" religiously and ethically.

Stephen March 7, 2009 15:15:56
Having just read the pronouncement of the Congregation For The Doctrine of Faith on this matter, I have to agree that yes, it would be wrong to shut off life support for someone in a vegetative state. To shut off such life support would be the result of a subjective decision by the authorities in question. This would set a bad precedent, as subjective judgments of this nature could be extended to other types of medical problems.

Andy March 4, 2009 07:17:27
I am for DNR's. Life or death from an end stage disease is God's doing. Is is above the Doctor's pay grade.

Dennis March 1, 2009 05:28:08
DNR is acceptable, because it is an act of total surrender to God's will and mercy. It is an act of faith in the promise of the everliving and loving God.

Ashley March 1, 2009 00:06:28
Artificial life support is in itself artificially administered by humans/machines. In the past if medical science was not that advance, those who suffer terminal illness/coma would be left to live or die naturally (will of the divine). If they church argues against artificial insemination via in-vitro or artificial birth control via pills, then why are we arguing against artificial life support when it is also artificially created by humans?

Cathie February 28, 2009 07:46:03
I have always thought that "letting nature takes it course" was God's way since he is the author of life. Who are we to interfere with His ways. But I don't see anything wrong with keeping a dying person comfortable and if providing nourishment to them is the way to do it, then it should be done. I don't consider that to be "extraordinary".

Kath February 25, 2009 16:19:50
As a nurse I support DNR agreements, I have seen too much suffering not to. That being said, I don't think it really matters. The outcome will be determined by God, You'll either be resuscitated or not.

Michael February 25, 2009 16:12:38
I believe that the church teachings from the Pope on faith and morals should be accepted because they are infallible. When God calls us home there is nothing that any of us will be able to do about it, whether on a machine or not. Life on Earth should be valued to its fullest from conception until the very end. We do not know of the suffering in purgatory, but we do know through the teachings of the Catholic Church that there is suffering in purgatory. I believe that the sufferings that we go through in this world does purge us from many of the sins that we committed unknowingly so that we can be with God for eternity faster than we may deserve through God and His awesome mercy and love.

Lucy February 23, 2009 18:35:06
We were told that keeping a loved one alive through interventions was not "cost effective". What is the price of a life, the value of a life? Is it ten thousand dollars? Is it twelve thousand dollars? Is that what a life is worth? Is it the sum total of the insurance monies saved if they die instead of live? Who is worthy to live and who is considered not worthy? The bottom line is financial.

Ben February 23, 2009 11:13:48
I do not think it's wrong to have a DNR. To be supported by machines is not truly living.

William February 23, 2009 09:04:58
I am for it.

April February 18, 2009 09:28:00
I do not think it is morally wrong to have a DNR, that is between you and God. There is nothing "natural" about having machines and tubes keeping you alive. If it is my time to go to be with Jesus, then I should be allowed to let nature take it's course and not be kept chained to my earthly body by man-made machines.

William February 17, 2009 08:32:37
If the main objective of life is union with Christ, why cling so tightly to this world?

Garren February 16, 2009 16:15:53
I do not think that DNR is sinful.

cary February 15, 2009 16:02:21
i think that it is not wrong to have a do not resuscitate. my father died from ALS and one of his wishes was not to prolong his life he just wanted to die made peace with god and leave this world . I think it is cruel to keep someone alive that would die naturally with out support system in place god knows when we should leave this world and we should not interfere with that

Ronald February 15, 2009 14:42:30
If I can't take care of myself, willfully or autonomously, then I would not want to live.

Donna February 11, 2009 18:04:18
I believe only if the person is Terimal Let them go home to be with God:) My self I don't want my life prolong if I'm in Pain.

Nick January 31, 2009 22:39:04
I'm facing this now. Make a choice to resuscitate ('go all out to save me') or do nothing and let me die. I'm a strong Catholic and only want to do what the Church allows. I would just leave die, but I don't know what is right. I think I'm starting to lose my thinking abilities. Please make it perfectly what I can and cannot do.

Anne January 25, 2009 22:12:00
I have always believed that this is a question that cannot be thrown out lightly to the public. Their response will inevitably be colored by their emotions and certainly by a lack of knowledge and experience of medical conditions and terminology. I have been a practicing nurse, a very Catholic one,for over 40 years and have always wrestled with this question. In the past two or three years I have witnessed several people in the long term care home where I work, being kept alive with artificial nutrition being administered via a tube inserted in to the stomach through an incision in the abdominal wall, in one case the flesh of the man who was subjected to this treatment actually began to rot to the point that one could not stand the smell of him; he was in constant agony because of this and the look on his face despite heavy pain medication was awful. Hardly a humane way to treat a human being. This man had a massive stroke before being subjected to the artificial feeding and the stomach tube was inserted and kept in place by the decision of his wife who was paranoid schizophrenic. My own beloved husband for three and half years suffered the deteriorating effects of multiple continuous TIA's and finally had a massive stroke that completely paralyzed his left side leaving him unable to swallow. On the advice of the Dr who is definitely Pro-Life and with my own knowledge of where this stroke was going to take him, a stomach tube was not inserted nor were IV fluids initiated. Many years before this when my husband would talk about the possibility of his death before mine, and in relation to recusitation following a Heart attack or a massive stroke, he would always say " please do not do that to me" (keep him alive in a vegetative state). If as Christians we regard this life as a pilgrimage to our Eternal life with Our Lord, then should we not accept that, when human life can no longer be sustained by the natural means of taking nutrition in the normal way that we should accept death. Finally, I think our late Holy Father Pope John Paul 11 showed us how to die with great dignity, just before his death he was asked if he would like to return from the Vatican to the hospital, he said "NO",because he realized that all further treatment would be in vain. Because I work with the elderly and infirm, this is a question that I think about every single day, I accept the Church's teaching in all things, but I really do think that this is a question that we have to stop trotting out to the public at large, because every single case is different.

Kathie January 11, 2009 13:32:31
It depends on the situation. For example, if my 89 year old dad had a heart attack and was not breathing for 10 minutes, I would say not to bring him back to the rescue people. However, what happened to Terri is the most disgusting, appauling thing ! This should never ever happen. It is so obvious that she knows who she is looking at. And, she didn't fit the criteria for brain dead...which is, in itself, a slippery slope. I still can't believe this happened was was sick all day over it and still think of her often.

aying January 10, 2009 05:20:17
NO!!!!!

Danette January 6, 2009 11:39:57
I support the Do Not Resuscitate agreement. I believe in temporary life support when there is an expected life outcome, but not continual life support for a person in a vegetative state who would die if the artificial life support was removed. We have only to remember the words, "For everything there is a season.....A time to be born and a time to die....." I have watched loved ones die peacefully with a DNR and no life support and have watched a loved one suffer with a 135 degree temperature while on a ventilator for 2 days and his mother and wife insisted the hospital staff try to resuscitate him. That was probably the most horrifying thing I have ever witnessed. I am a Catholic woman and I work in a health care facility. Death is a natural part of life. If the world had not made the medical discoveries that have occurred, we would still be living and dying as the Lord intended us to....on his terms and time, not what is desired by the family and physicians. I think that man has discovered too much and I believe that too much knowledge itself can be dangerous. We are humans, not God, and we are not supposed to make God's decisions for him.

Debbie January 4, 2009 10:26:39
I am a devote Catholic and I do have a medical directive that states: "Do Not Resuscitate." I believe that if I am not breathing, it is because God is calling me Home. I don't want someone beating on my chest, shoving tubes in me and hooking me up to a machine to feed me and breath for me. How else would God bring you Home! The process of death is scary for everyone but I don't want to live forever. Who are we to make people suffer day by day, month after month and year after year? Are we not also playing God with medical science? We don't even let animals suffer as much as we allow people to suffer! Medical treatments are fine but there comes a time when enough is enough! Accept the fact that God is calling you Home from this world of pain and suffering. So go Home in peace! God Bless!

BILL December 27, 2008 05:12:16
Life is a precious gift from GOD and I think it should be extended as long as possible. only GOD gives life and takes it away. We shouldn't make decisions to end it in any way.

mary December 24, 2008 15:59:29
I believe this is morally acceptable. These people are still human beings, and it is Gods choice when we are to die, not a doctors, and it is wrong and inhumane to make someone die by starving.

Bill December 24, 2008 15:37:39
I have mixed feelings. To watch a loved one suffer in pain from an illness that can not be reversed creates a challenge in my thought process. I believe deeply in the power of Jesus Christ and I also believe that part of that power is his willingness to allow mankind make some of our own decisions. It certainly is a controversial subject that I pray I never have to deal with on a personal basis.

Amanda December 17, 2008 08:41:33
Is artificial life support morally acceptable? We humans as creations of god have been granted a great many gifts. From our unique intelligence, to our opposable thumbs we have been built and modeled to change this world. With these gifts endowed to us by our creator we have created life saving techniques that when used responsibly have been used morally. The problem is that while Doctors and Scientist where so busy creating this technology, they never bothered to figure out how to use it responsibly. We as Catholics believe in an inherent right to life. That all people have the right to live until the day the lord calls them home. The question that you pose to us is can we (as human beings) tell when the lord god has called someone else home? I do not believe that is possible. The lord has granted us ability to create the technology to save lives so that we may fulfill his plans for us before returning home. We as humans need to use that technology wisely so as to not prolong someones suffering, but to prolong their healthy life. We as Catholic's know suffering for the lord is holy, but suffering for science is not. At what point does you're loved one suffer for sake of science. At what point are they clinging to life merely due to means of science, and not by the will of the lord? Are Do Not Resuscitate orders (DNR) morally acceptable? A DNR is what can be thought of as our fail safe against the greedy hands of science. With the help of science we humans can live to ripe old ages brain dead in bed, with no real air in our lungs, and no natural god given heart beat. Still a DNR is just a hairs breath from slashing ones wrists. To deny medical treatment is to deny life saving technology which as stated above we would not have if not for gods gifts to us. A DNR can and should be used as a means of preventing science from forcing a person to stay alive at all costs. Once again it is our human intelligence that will tell us when our bodies are benign abused by science, and when we are being saved by it. It is our responsibility and duty to god to not allow suffering in the name of science to ourselves or others. However it is every persons responsibility to recognize when they are suffering in the name of science, and to decide if they wish to prevent it.

robert December 5, 2008 21:31:46
I believe that if aged adults body functions fail and they are in a vegetable state, it is God's way of notifying us that our earthly time has come to an end and it is His wish that we join Him in paradise. To prolong ones suffering seems to me morally wrong. I do believe that water to be administered and the pain, if any, should be ad mistered to. Prior to this scientifically intervention to preserve life, people were let to die naturally with dignity. To do otherwise it seems to me that you are interfering with God's plan for us. I know I am making an assumption but I believe it is God's mercer that ends an aged person's life.

Deborah December 5, 2008 07:39:16
I feel that these are two separate issues. A do not resuscitate order would be allowing God's will to remain in effect. My great aunt, who had childlike faith in God, just passed away. She was 82 years old and - as she put it - wanted to go home to her Lord. Within a week, she passed away peacefully in hospice. If she had not had the DNR order on file, efforts would have been made to resuscitate her and place her on artificial life support (hydration and nourishment). I think there are times when we keep our loved ones here with us out of selfishness. A DNR or life support is only needed when we don't allow our loved ones to return to the Lord when HE chooses.

Dianna November 13, 2008 07:59:29
My Husband says that the no resuscitation agreement releases persons from the moral responsibility to artificially water and feed persons in a vegetative state by not creating the state in the first place. I can see both sides, when its time its time and what if a life can be extended by vegetative help. weather it is morally right I don't know. To what extent do we allow science to interfere with Gods choices or are they Gods Choices? I just seem to come up with more questions.

fish November 12, 2008 09:40:00
Just in case anyone is confused. I'm pretty sure the church has no teaching about living wills per say as a legal document. When it comes to life support most of the work is not worded in a way that would interfere with someone saying they did now want an attempt to resuscitate them made if they are dieing. (if I'm wrong please direct me to some documentation on this point). On the other hand I would be REALLY careful about what you put into your living will. I would also be REALLY specific. For instance in the state of Minnesota, 'no life support' includes no anti-biotic and no oxygen even from a tube. oxygen from a tube never extends life, it just makes death more comfortable and no force feeding without a tube or otherwise. My mother has seen more then one person die from pneomonia ,most likely caught because of weakness related to poor nutrition because patients who may have recoved in her nursing home refused to eat out of depression ( often having lost the family farm to medical bills). They are classified as 'no life support' because they are wards of the state and are not told they are classified that way unless they are smart enough to act. The get sick from not eating, they can't be given anti-biotic for the pneumonia and then aren't even allowed to be given oxygen as they die to make the comfortable. So , if you write a living will, be very explicit about what you do and do not want done under which circumstances.

Laurie November 11, 2008 21:09:43
I'm not Catholic, but have been an RN for many years. My father passed away last year from cancer which had spread through his bones. I had a lot of anxiety, even with experience, and even though I knew he wanted a DNR signed. The hospice nurse told me that as difficult as it is for families to see signs of dehydration, that dehydration from no longer wanting to drink is a natural anesthetia process. They do not feel 'thirsty' when they are in a natural dying process, and it actually eases their physical discomfort. She said that if we were to start IV fluids, his pain would actually increase and require even more pain medication. For me, some physiological information went a long way to understand why not wanting fluids anymore might be a blessing in the natural process of returning home.

Beth November 4, 2008 16:37:27
I would add to my comments that if someone is dying then it would seem morally permissible not to force-feed that person. I think what made the Schiavo case unique and troublesome was that she was not dying. Recently we lost a friend of the family to Alzheimer's. She stopped eating in her final week or so, and no feeding tube was inserted. I think this was the right decision - her body was clearly shutting down and it was her time to go. She died with dignity surrounded by loving family. But they did not deny her food in order to hasten her death - she stopped eating because her death was imminent, and I think that is an important distinction.

Beth November 4, 2008 16:29:15
I believe that anyone with a terminal condition who chooses not to be resuscitated during respiratory/cardiac arrest has made a morally-justifiable decision. I believe that artificial life support in the form of artificial respiration is morally required when the patient has the possibility (according to reasonable medical judgment) of recovering independent breathing function. However, I don't believe that artificial respiration must be continued in patients who are found to be "brain dead" and will not recover the ability to breathe. This would constitute an extreme and disproportionate measure and is not required. Nutrition and hydration should be provided to all patients who are able to make use of them through their body's own metabolic process, even if the nourishment/hydration has to be delivered through tubes.

Casidy November 2, 2008 07:03:25
I believe that having a DNR is morally acceptable. In fact I believe that if it's your time to go, and you insist that you should be resuscitated it is sinful, because it is taking away your right to die in God's time.

S November 2, 2008 04:21:34
I think that everyone, no matter what situation they are in, has a right to life. I think that artificial life support is a good thing, unless the patient formerly in life had said that they did not want to be on artificial life support.

YOLANDA October 27, 2008 23:48:05
I think that artificial life support should and can be used if it's a temporary thing. Only to help someone recover from an illness or surgery. However, many times it's used to maintain someone alive artificially who would otherwise pass once it's removed. If people feel that only God decides when we die, why do they use these devices. Surely God doesn't need ventilators and defibrillator's to keep anyone alive. It's obvious that God in most of these cases has decided but people many of whom pray and pray over there loved one have a hard time accepting his decision.

Cecilia October 27, 2008 13:22:50
My husband and both have a living will. We like, Suzanne look forward to the day Jesus takes us home. Thanks for posting this artificial. Be blessed.

Suzanne October 23, 2008 05:58:10
Please do not keep me from my destiny. I have a signed living will. I look forward to the day Jesus takes me home.

Alexandra October 19, 2008 19:14:52
Good question. I personally believe that a DNR is morally acceptable as it is simply allowing the natural process of death to occur. Artificial life support is also acceptable because it enables medical professionals the opportunity to cure an individual. However, I've told my family that if I am ever in a coma and theres no chance for me to come out, they should turn off the life support. If God wants my life, I don't want a some breathing machine to prevent that.

Mitch October 18, 2008 21:37:14
On our side of the argument it is a question of FAITH, we have to believe that this is right, since most of us cannot know all the details first-hand of what occurs to people in 'vegetative states'. Continue prayer and pray that what is done is right. Trust God that if He wishes to take a person he will do so in such a way that His decision cannot be overturned by we people our our technology.

Tara October 18, 2008 21:23:54
I believe in DNR's 100%. As a nurse I feel the physicians got to far at times. Many do not want to accept they can not heal or cure a patient. People may say a DNR goes against God's gift of life and will for a person to live. How many times does a person have to be in a near death situation before he/she is allowed to decline resuscitation? We do not live forever, despite man's best efforts. Whether it be resuscitation or life support.

Rosalind October 16, 2008 10:38:21
Though I do not like to see anyone suffer, I do not know that, as a Christian, if we have the right to determine when someone else's life should end. I find it difficult to say "yes" as to the Do Not Resuscitate agreement.

Troy October 13, 2008 08:36:25
I do not believe in 'Do Not Resuscitate'. This undermines the power of God and prayer. God has the power to save anyone and to agree to 'Do Not Resuscitate' would be to say that you do not accept the gift of life. To those who believe in 'Do Not Resuscitate', it might be something that pains you, but strengthens another in Christ. To think, "I wouldn't want to experience that much pain", would be to forget that you are not living this life for you, but for God.

Brenda October 8, 2008 23:09:50
As a practicing nurse in the field of oncology, I believe there is a time and a place for a DNR. People can have control over the amount of suffering they feel if we, as nurses, are able to hold painful treatments when there is little chance the person will survive. There have been times that by holding painful treatments and administering pain medication, the patient has been able to relax enough to let their body's immune system heal the individual. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. It is a painful decision for family to decide on a DNR but it allows for the patient to die comfortable instead of dying after (or during) a futile attempt at CPR or in ICU. There is a time to heal by all medical means necessary and there is a time to heal family bonds by allowing the patient to say goodbye.

Tyler October 1, 2008 20:35:09
I believe that having a DNR order is morally acceptable, I have one, and I am a devout Catholic. IF you have a DNR, you are following the course of natural death, we live from conception to the point of natural death. To prolong life would be wrong, because then we are taking the role of God.

Nancy October 1, 2008 11:42:15
Yes I do. The most precious gift God gives us is free will. If the appropriate Living Will and Directive to Physicians is executed while a person is in good mental health, then it reflects their own morality.

Kim September 30, 2008 19:30:56
The answer to both is it depends. There is not enough information given for a for a Catholic to answer these questions. Kim

miriam September 22, 2008 19:51:47
In everything we do, we should primarily think of one's life first, the effects of our deeds etc. I think one of our purposes why we do not only exist but also live is for us to live to give life to others in its fullness-a life that they will recognize as a wonderful gift, in spite of greatness or littleness of our ways will be.

margaret September 11, 2008 01:28:43
What do you mean by artificial life support? Feeding tubes can sometimes be neccesary if the person is not to die of thirst or starvation. What i do have aproblem is that in the uk DNR on medical notes has become all about legalities. If it is not documented in a persons notes all patients must be resusitated. What happens when it is a elderly person who can be 90 and beyond and whoses heart suddenly stops beating. The ribs of an elderly person this old are very fragile. 20 or so years ago you would have held there hand and said a prayer. Why is it you can have doctors carrying out cardiac massage/resus on someone who is almost 100 and yet poor terri who was stable and doing ok with the help of a feeding tube was forced to starve to death?

Cindy September 5, 2008 23:26:40
First, the statement was not referring to all situations, but to those in "a vegetative state" only. Most people who have a "DNR" advanced directive in place will not be in vegetative state when this DNR directive is (or isn't)carried out. For example, if I have a car accident and suffer massive brain injury and my heart stops as well, I will not be resuscitated (at my request). I'm not in a vegetative state, I'm just mortally wounded. Other scenarios could be: I have Alzheimer's disease which has advanced to the point that I am no longer interested in food. I refuse to eat or drink enough to sustain life. I am NOT in a persistent vegetative state. I also do not want (and have an advance directive stating so) artificial nutrition (via a stomach tube)and IV fluids without nutrition are futile. When my body shuts down, eventually, I do not want anyone attempting to resuscitate me. Therefore, this withholding of artificial life support is not going against the position expressed by the "Congregation," as I read it.

I think the dilemma the "Congregation" is addressing is the person in a persistent vegetative state who cannot speak for himself. He or she needs to be cared for in a humane manner and, if they are in this state, then somewhere along the line the decision was made to preserve this life. How can one suddenly change their position about preserving the life when the person cannot tell you to do so? It would be better to err, if you will indeed err, by continuing rather than ceasing to support life. So,I would have to agree with the statement as issued. This does not mean that having a DNR agreement or desiring artificial life support is morally acceptable or unacceptable; as others have stated, that IS a choice.

David September 3, 2008 20:12:20
I believe artificial support and a "do not resuscitate" agreement is like everything else in life.... a choice.

Carlos September 1, 2008 13:27:34
Hello. I don't think a 'Do Not Resuscitate' agreement is morally acceptable because in the Bible many people were raised from the dead and it was not forbidden by Jesus Christ or God.

Terry September 1, 2008 08:15:58
I am a licensed nutritionist who has worked in long term care and rehab settings for many years. I have worked with elderly as well as young trauma victims. My role in helping patients and/or their families with this decision has always been more technical. Sometimes it is easy to make the decision. For example, the patient needs chemo and/or radiation for head or neck cancer. The hope is that the tube will come out.

For issues of decreased po intake, the decision becomes much more difficult. I have seen some advanced stage Alzheimer's patients lay in bed with a feeding tube with no visible ability to communicate day after day, acquiring bed sores or pneumonias without constant attention (and sometimes even with good attention). Still I have seen other patients both young and old extend their lives with many happy days lived on a feeding tube as well. Science has not brought us to the day when we can look inside the mind of that person in the coma, or the one with Alzheimere. We can only pray and seek guidance from the church, and do what we think is best.

Pat August 14, 2008 14:06:20
For many centuries persons near death would often slip into a vegetative state and become unable to eat or drink enough to sustain life. Until medical advances in the last 50 or so years this was considered an accepted progression toward death. I fail to see why, if death is expected due to the failure of physical systems, medical or church authorities should prolong this natural process. This does not mean that those who have even minimal mental faculties should be denied all means of care just because they have some physical disability. For the families facing a decision when the line between life or death, minimal function or brain dead is blurred we can and should allow families to make a prayerful decision based on their conscience. I fail to see why medical science's advancements should prevent anyone from answering God's natural call to heaven.

Joey August 12, 2008 20:12:15
I believe the DNR agreement is, but artificial life support is not morally acceptable. Artificial life support is resesutating (sorry if I spelled it wrong) someone dead, but making them also unable to do anything or even do so much as think. Take this case- Nazi torture kept some members of the Holocaust alive, but they went through extreme torture that caused them to end up dying twice. Many say they attempted suicide or were praying for their own death to escape it. I strongly disagree with the Church's decision on this case. I agree with them on almost all other life issues, but this was bad law, science, and faith reasoning.

Lucille July 26, 2008 23:58:32
I do believe 'do not resuscitate' is morally acceptable. However, we should never withhold water or food from one who is in the dying-process, since that is a natural life-support.

Amy July 23, 2008 21:32:20
I do think we should decide who should live or die. God has a plan for everyone and if it is there time to go then God will decide.

Bob July 7, 2008 20:13:50
I believe a DNR is a hard decision to make, but a very morally acceptable decision. My wife became ill with end stage renal failure, she was on dialysis, however it was not helping. After having been in the hospital for 6 weeks, she contracted sepsis. At that point she was in a drug indused coma, the medical staff in the ccu worked around the clock, her condition just got worse, the type of sepsis she had had no known cure. She and I had talked many times of what we wanted should this should ever arise. If there is no hope of survival, sign a DNR. The evening of Oct. 25, 2006, I signed the DNR. The next day the Doctors spoke with me about taking my wife off the respirator. I told them I would let them know within the hour. I sat by wife's bedside and prayed. At that time, I heard her say "help me", I new what she wanted. She passed away 5:59pm Oct 26, 2006. Yes a DNR is a hard decision to make, but it is the right decision. The worst thing anyone can do is to let a loved one lie in PVS, without any hope of recovery, and suffer in silence. I know I did what my wife wanted, she is with her Father and her Brother. I know I will see her again. I know God is taking good care of her.

Harmony July 1, 2008 01:23:57
I've worked in the health care industry (agedcare & hospital). Under an informed concent deal DNR is morally right. Artifical life support is crule especially when people can die peacefully (comfortably) without such overall high cost (socioeconomic & medical) interventions. As is our medical system / services is over stressed & financially streched. The workforce & families involved in the care of terminally ill people takes a lot out of each person. Yes, we all want to take good care of the ill but we need to let go ASAP so that God can do his thing: take them home or heal them. Don't be selfish let the terminally ill die in peace. If humans were alnimals or plants such issues don't even cross anyones/society minds. When pets get sick & or dying with a non cureable illness such as cancer we urgetly do the right ethical thing to control their pain/suffering levels with pain relivers (morpine for humans)so they can be comfortable than let God take them home as per destiny. Bottom line I'd be glad to die with dignaty at a comfortable state where I can still can enjoy loved ones interactions. Why be in a 'vegetative state' & not even know who is in your room , much less be able to lead a healty lifestyle for ones compramised condition. Everyone can donate their organs/ body parts to people that need them. You don't need your physical body in heaven.

Chelsie June 22, 2008 15:06:14
I believe a 'DNR' agreement is morally acceptable if it was signed and agreed upon by the person in question. I do not see it unfitting for a person not wanting to put their family through the struggle and financial difficulties that are accompanied with taking care of a person in a permanent vegetative state.

c. June 18, 2008 12:43:26
Absolutely, to your above question of DNR. Life support to a specified degree is too,acceptable. I am against prolonging the inevitable, working in health care makes you realize how difficult this is. I agree that suffering is necessary for Grace, however, I too feel greatly that one should have the right to chose when enough is enough when it comes to ones own body. I don't think anyone else (beside my Lord of course) is responsible for my life decisions.

Marilyn June 16, 2008 23:16:05
The article doesn't say anything about a DNR order. Clearly... everyone NEEDS food and water to survive no matter what state your body is in. There have been a few cases where someone is "labeled" in a Permanent Vegetative State and has been able to come out of it. It is not up to US to judge their life since they are incapable. Unborn babies aren't capable and look at where that is in our society. Food and water doesn't pump your heart or keep you breathing... it is a necessity for ALL. DNR means you died (naturally) and let it be... naturally. Not deprived or starved to death.

Becky June 16, 2008 21:09:54
Absolutely I believe a do not resuscitate agreement is moral. I believe the naturyal order of affairs, death is one, is absolute and moral. We are only on earth for a minute compared to eternity. Why be selfish:

Mary June 16, 2008 07:26:38
Yes, I believe DNR is morally acceptable. In order to be resuscitated, one must be dead - no longer breathing and heart no longer beating. Without the advancement of modern medicine, these questions would not be issues.

Katee June 16, 2008 02:00:26
I feel that someone is responsible to explain to all of these misinformed people that a DNR, obviously, requires resusitation, which requires DEATH! It is not suicide, not euthanasia. The person has already died!

Katee June 16, 2008 01:56:01
I consider myself to be very pro-life, but I am sickened by the Vatican's decision to prolong the unnatural existence of someone in a PVS. I completely agree with the Church on euthanasia and abortion, but cannot possibly understand how this unnatural "existence" could be obliged by the Church! If there is NO CHANCE that someone will come back to life, what is the point of operating a body just because technology can? Further, what happens to the soul? I believe that this is an abhorrent example of bad judgment and lack of understanding. I will write my instructions regarding my DNR and living will today, lest some ignorant, blind follower decides to prolong my death!

I understand, further, that suffering is a part of human life, but once someone is in the PVF, there is nothing registering in the mind of the person, including pain! The person is simply a body being pumped with air and other nutrients to keep it functioning. There is not any conscious suffering going on!

John June 10, 2008 19:22:32
I do feel like it is morally acceptable--they could end up killing the person anyway, or they could do many worse things if they were alive. Anyway, they can see God sooner.

Kathie June 5, 2008 00:29:58
I feel that a dnr order is a personal and family descision and yes your faith plays a part on who you are but what ever decision you make is between you and GOD.

Maria May 27, 2008 06:51:46
My husband of 9 years was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors told us from the start, there was no hope but we could try chemotherapy. We had two boys at that time ages 5 and 6. We spoke about the day his heart would no longer work, he told me, "sign the papers, and let me go when it happens" with my heart destroyed by pain and sorrow I signed the papers he asked me (DNR), knowing that my children will no longer have their father and my beloved husband would not be by my side anymore. My husband said to someone a few days before his death (which will be 5 years tomorrow) " I am at peace with God " and from that day one, he refused to take his meds and eat. This is a very difficult subject to have the right answer about it.. I don't believe I acted based on Euthanasia, he asked me to let him go and I did, knowing that one day, I will see him again...

Michael May 25, 2008 13:23:32
I have been having complex partial seizures for the past twelve years or so and they are getting worse. I average between 10-15 a month that I know of. While in the hospital recently they had me wired up for 72hrs and I knew of two seizures. The doctors stated that the computers reflected that I had 14; again in only 72hrs.

If it comes to the situation that I get to where the Good Lord is ready to come and get me, I do not want someone to keep me alive with so called artificial food and water. I want to go to heaven. I want the Good Lord to come and get me!!!

With the prior answer of someone stating that they slapped the doctor after being revived. I know it is true. I gave blood as a child and I did die and they brought me back. It is a feeling that you cannot explain. There was a bright light and I asked God to not take me yet, because I was still so young and then I heard the staff state that we have him back. These stories are true. So yes, I have now lived my life and I do not want to be wired up and kept here in the hateful world anymore.

Kevin May 22, 2008 08:01:34
"DNR" means a person does not want to be artificially resusciated if they should die. In other words, if a person's heart stops beating and they stop breathing, then by virtue of a DNR they do not receive chest compressions, cardiac shocks, and do not have an artificial breathing tube placed in an attempt to bring them back to life. This concept of "DNR" is completely different from artificial nutrition and supplemental hydration. If a person is still alive, then certainly it is mandatory to provide food and water; to withold these measure would be to not help those in most need. I have read the applicable parts of JPII's Evagelium Vitae, and believe the above view fits.

Mercy May 19, 2008 15:13:01
I believe that it is a mortal sin to have any documents that state "do not resuscitate". The family that loves one another and has arificial support for a love one will have God's mercy. The Vatican must be very firm and tell the church because we have a very grave situation in America---Euthanasia.

Michelle May 12, 2008 22:09:40
I understand that nutrition and hydration should never be removed from a person, unless they are in the actual process of dying and can no longer assimilate them. In this regard, we understand that providing food and water are not medical treatment, but only common care. However, under appropriate circumstances, a person may forego medical treatment that would otherwise prolong the life, when death is otherwise imminent. (The necessity of a peg tube or ng tube to assist with feeding and hydration, which insertion may be a medical procedure, do not in themselves constitute treatment such as to cure an otherwise terminal illness, in that having the feeding tube is only a means of achieving the basic care of a person, much as they would use a knife and fork. The tube merely overcomes the present disability, just as a wheelchair would. Yet a wheelchair no more attempts to cure a disease than does the feeding tube, but merely overcomes the obstacle to normal function, be it ambulation or nutrition/hydration.

Seth May 7, 2008 19:55:30
My father is a registered nurse and a clinical rehab specialist, and some of his most touching and shocking stories are those whom he brought back by shocking their heart, those who had stopped breathing and then suddenly awoke. Once, he told me an elderly woman went into cardiac arrest, he got the kit and shocked her several times. Then, suddenly, after one of the shocks, the woman sat upright in her bed and slapped him across the face and exclaimed "Why did you do that! I was with my family again and it was so happy, why did you do that!" and if that is not the most solid proof I have of a god, and one who accepts death, then I don't know what is.

Debra April 25, 2008 16:14:33
Thank you for the answer to this question. It is a little bit surprising to me even though the person is in a vegetative state and with no chance of coming out of it that they be given food and water but after reading the Popes response I understand better now.

fern April 22, 2008 21:33:35
If I could not breath, heart & brain fails to function as it was designed, it's time to go. I would not choose artificial life support for myself nor my love ones. Rather, prepare a jolly farwell party beside my death bed as I will be heading to my Lord. However, if HE wishes me to live on, I should simply gain back my vital signs and no scientific intervention required. God is kool - all the time!

Harold April 18, 2008 16:21:10
I do not believe having a "Do Not Resuscitate" agreement is morally acceptable. In my mind it is just another form of suicide, which, if I am not mistaken, is an unpardonable sin. I believe it was Mother Angelica on EWTN who stated years ago words to the effect that you cannot go to heaven if the last action of your life was to commit murder, your own. I believe in the concept "Where there is life there is hope."

Norma April 9, 2008 12:51:00
As a nurse, I must say that I see families fill out Do Not resusciatate forms every day, many people feel that instituting life support measures (artificial) is in itself against God's plan as life support measures utilize high tech science to preserve life, if they left it up to God, these patients would die, example, many parents of multiples thank God for their babies as they should, but the fact of the matter is, many of these babies were conceived using pharmaceutical agents and high tech in vitro means and then these children are saved using pharmaceitical means and expensive ventilatory support to get past the neonatal period, if you left it up to God pulled the plug on the ventilator and did not give Surfactant, these babies would not survive, I am personally glad that we have these life-saving options, but we have to be honest about the situation, we can't have it both ways

christopher April 3, 2008 12:37:10
First of all I don't know what this declaration has to do with DNR or living wills. It seems to have more to do with what should and should not be considered life support and I agree wholly with it's content.

Anyone declaring a DNR should realize in some states that: oxygen ( which makes you more comfortable but does not extend life). Food, water and antibiotics may be considered artificial life support.

All of which is a far cry from a heart lung machine. If we can withdraw nutrition from someone who does NOT need a heart lung machine to survive , then why not from someone who is severally retarded and 'vegative' from birth having never needed a machine, but always a feeding tube?

I don't think there are any simple answers to the living will / DNR question. If you are willing to allow a DNR are you willing to allow the opposite. I have read about court cases where people had living will specifying they wanted all and every possibly measure no mater how extreme to be taken to preserve their life and the hospital sued to circumvent the will and the families wishes.

I do think it is better that certain things remain within the decision making power of the patient or their family. however , I also would insist that suicide should be illegal. Depending on how it is worded and it's intent a DNR can easily be suicide so their should be sever restriction on them. Even a heart lung machine can be used temporarily and the patient can make a complete recovery depending on the situation so I think it is wrong to make a blanket statement about them ahead of time without all the situation facts.


Paddie April 2, 2008 03:52:52
I would haved freaked out a few years ago at the very idea that I would be given life support-but almost 2 years ago i had a perforated gastric ulcer and following emergency surgery my whole system went into failure and I was put on a life support system. Although to other people (including hospital staff) I appeared to be a "cabbage" I could in fact hear most of what was said to me, although being paralysed could not give a sign that this was so. I am in fact a lapsed Catholic but a friend had prayers said for me and my health immediately began to improve. i am in acceptance that I will never be as fit as I was-but I can walk, eat and enjoy my life! I was one of very few survivors in that hospital bay, thus:If God wants to take me-he will chose the time. Choose life everytime-and prayer really helps!

Michael March 15, 2008 21:08:54
A do not resuscitate agreement should be morally acceptable. You submit yourself to the will of God rather than modern medicine to determine whether or not you are called Home. As Catholics we speak out against Artificial Life... Wouldn't Artificial Life Support be in the same category? If we are kept alive only by artificial means, doesn't that negate God's plan in some instances? If something happened to me that would hasten my journey Home, I would be resentful of being wrenched back to existence on this plane... But that is my own personal wish, not my will, but God's be done.

david March 14, 2008 14:02:59
First of all, how did artificial life support system happen? A question we need to ask of our selves. Did the Idea come to a human through God. Did God give the inventor the vision to create the artificial life support. Maybe something we haven"t thought of before...

We are always thinking that science isn't of God. but< maybe it is. Maybe God put those thought into the scientists mind to be helplful for all. Maybe the lifesupport isn't for the one dying but maybe it is for the living, so we can handle the death in a slower passion in something we can deal with instead of something that could be devastating. I don't have any answers except it is not ours to judge, it is just our to love and let God judge who he needs to judge when the time come. Jesus said for us to Love.

Stephen March 8, 2008 06:51:11
I believe that we are obligated to take necessary and ordinary steps to preserve the life of our disable friends and family. Feeding and hydrating a "vegetative" person is necessary and ordinary, in so much as you would do this for a young helpless child. There is no physician capable of saying with 100% certainty that a vegetative person will never regain some level of mindfulness. In addition, if the body and soul continue to thrive under ordinary measures- food and water, then it should be allowed to do so in God's natural way. This is not artificial, but human support. Even the assistance of a feeding tube is ordinary if the body is accepting of it. A DNR order should address the matter of inordinate measures to preserve life such as extended ventilation, heart-lung machines, and other extraoridnary means to sustain life. A person in this state will most likely not thrive and die naturally anyway. If they show signs of recovery, then all ordinary medical attempts should be made to ween them off life support and give the body a chance to thrive. We do not own the priviledge of choosing death when we feel that our life, or anyone elses, should end. Therefore, we cannot demand that we be euthanized if our body continues to thrive. The body and soul are inseparable until complete death is achieved. Only God has the priviledge of making that decision. Although it may appear that a vegetative person's life has no value, we do not see with the eyes of God. He can see the value given to others and our community when we must care for those who cannot care for themselves. Nothing or no-one is ever a waste to God- ever!

Christine March 7, 2008 17:49:57
Would people please do their reading BEFORE writing or talking? The Vatican's statement is NOT addressing the terminally ill that are so close to death that food and water aggravates the process of death. Terri Shaivo was NOT dying. The Vatican's statement addresses those in a "vegetative" state-not those at the very end of their life.

alana March 1, 2008 17:44:15
I was priviledged to keep my father at home with me with the assistance of hospice. Artificial life support in terms of mandating artificial hydration though intravenous fluids and artificial nutrition through a feeding tube is only allowing the patient to continue to suffer. The Creator is waiting for them to return home.

mike February 27, 2008 05:54:26
Yes

Roberto February 26, 2008 19:39:25
I think that life and dignity should be preserved regardless. Let's think of love and kindness, and trust in our sweet Lord to decide when to bring us home.

Steve February 23, 2008 11:08:21
For birth control we talk of trusting the Lord and not using human controls such as pills or condoms. For death why do we then jump into the opposing camp and feel the need to control and use all manner of extensions and worry about DNR? Why should we not trust God, as in conceptions? Are we supposed to use human controls to cause folks to linger and suffer rather than trusting God to usher us into the next life? In fact some hospitals now use the acronym AND or Allow Natural Death.

Sometimes we seem to become fixated on savoring suffering. We do well to acknowledge the sacred and the learnig that can come from suffering but we also do well to allow God, both in birth and in death, to take charge. If we begin to see suffering as an end in itself aren't we becoming a little strange? I vote for "allow" and an absence in prevention in both birth and in death.

Fred February 22, 2008 12:25:51
Giving water and food by any method are not extraordinary measures but normal and necessary. Terry Schivo should not have been murdered by the judge and Micheal Schivo, having committed no crime and without due process. President Bush did not fulfill his oath to protect Terry Schivo by holding the judge and Micheal Schivo over for trial on murder charges.

If the USA keeps on at this rate we are all next!


Franco February 14, 2008 10:14:00
No. You do not have the right to tell someone not to follow the "Golden Rule" if by that it means saving your life through providing you with adequate nutrition and hydration. However, what does the act of having a "DNR" cause, is it akin to suicide or is it murder through negligence by the person following your orders?

Br. February 14, 2008 07:41:27
Personally I would want everything possible to resuscitate me. I do not have a licing will either.I do have someone that willbe incharge in a situation like thiss to make the decicion. He knows I would want every messure taken to save my life. But at the same time I am elderly and I am ready to meet Jesus anytime he feels like call me home. When he decides , nothing you do will keep you here on earth.

Chris February 12, 2008 13:04:10
We cannot be naive, when there are medical personnal who think suffering equates with having less or no dignity. This is when I wish there were more sisters (nuns) running Catholic hospitals-women who would trust the Holy Spirit breathing in the Church and passing on wisdom, rather than their inflated opininion.

Melanie February 11, 2008 09:31:12
God has endowed human beings with the ability to navigate between right and wrong. The outcome of their choice lies entirely with God. Why should we circumnavigate God by trying to legislate what people can and cannot choose? Whether they choose life support, or a dnr, the outcome of their choice lies in God's hands. That is exactly where it belongs.

Lynn January 22, 2008 10:19:12
I agree with your position on the "do not resuscitate" idea. I think that when life is preserved, that is God's plan. I also feel that the sanctity of life has taken a hard hit from the liberal press and that is why there is hardly a mention of abortion these days. Jesus came that we might have LIFE and that more abundantly. God forbid that we play God and try to control the power over life and death.

Prayerfully submitted. We denied the holocaust until years later, can we turn our heads now and say that we did not know?

mariah December 30, 2007 18:05:29
Life support is a right no matter what religon.

Bill December 21, 2007 08:41:19
I think that it is a case by case basis answer. I cannot assume to answer except for myself. Regardless of what the Church teaches (and I have been been on a fast track to Hell for a long time when it comes to "Church Teaching") I would not want to exist as a vegi. Go back to the time of Jesus, if one even performed CPR They would be Stoned for desacrating the dead. Look DEAD is DEAD. Don't bring me back I am already with the Lord. I will face Him and depend on his Sacrifice on the Cross. I do not want to be a a useless ;and very expensive (by the way) lump of used to be me.I do not want to suck up a lot of resources better used on younger people( I'm 60) don't waste organs or time on me. I've led a full and happy life. I have fulfulled God's expectations for me. I have been married to one wife for 40 years had 3 good Kids Believed in Him and His mercies all my life. Don"t cheat me out of my day with Him . He knows when He wants me, and I want to go then. Regardless of Doctrine or what some Bishop teaches God understands.

Bob December 18, 2007 14:07:24
Ronald hit the nail on head. Our Church guided by the Holy Spirit, and our Popes for 2000 years,has givin us the guidelines we need if we remain humble. We don't need thousands of self appointed "Popes" with a myriad of opinions.

elaine December 17, 2007 02:52:56
I am an RN who works in a Catholic hospital. I do not think a DNR is sinful. People come into this world with love. Caring hands hold him or her as they emerge from their mother and take their first breaths of life. It is much lovelier when someone who has struggled with a long illness such as cancer can leave this world with the same experience of caring hands letting them go back to Jesus. Resuscitation in real life is not like in the movies. Most often, the patient is being poked, prodded, compressed, and aerated, and loses all dignity in the process. Meanwhile the loved ones are often either standing to the side of the room or out in the waiting room anxiosly awaiting a report. How much better it would be for them to hold the hand of a spouse, daughter, son, or grandchild. There are times when resuscitation is the right thing to do, drowning, electrocution, a heart attack etc, but for the chronically ill, I believe it is OK to sign a DNR. Technology has left us with ever more difficult choices. In our grandparents age, it was not an option. Death occurred naturally. I see all too many people who come from a nursing home to our hospital, unable to speak, fed through a tube, incontinent; their bodies and souls seem to be fighting with one another.

Bill December 14, 2007 18:23:15
The linked communication does mot treat the question of "artificial means of life support' but rather narrowly speaks to feeding and hydration only. The question of drastic and highly difficult "life support" techniques involving maintenance of heartbeat and respiration is significantly more difficult and raises entirely different questions about the actual presence of life -- and therefore the soul -- of the patient.

It is easy to moralize on these issues but the final decision in each individual's case must be a matter of conscience. In my own situation I have a DNR order which is made available to any medical facility. It specifically calls for nutrition and hydration only if there is brain activity indicating that life continues. With the cessation of brain activity, no farther mechanical interference with normal life processes is permitted.

You picture the Schiavo case -- did not an autopsy reveal that her brain was severely deteriorated and essentially absent? There can be no intellect without the brain and therefore no "person" in that body. Without a person, can there be a soul?

Michael December 13, 2007 17:03:16
More than a response it is a question.

Ileigha December 8, 2007 20:51:13
I think both are morally acceptable.... depending of course, on the circumstances. This is all, still, a very "slippery slope" and will need continuing clarification from the Congregation For the Doctrine Of Faith.

As Catholics we are mandated to follow the teachings of the Faith; if one disgarees with the bedrock, foundational beliefs of The Holy Roman Catholic Church then obviously, they shouldn't BE Catholics, nor call themselves Catholics.

Deborah December 3, 2007 17:02:57
I think that if the body can not work by itself it is morally acceptable to let him or her go.

I think a Do not resuscitate agreement is morally correct also, is not killing, is just let him go once he or she had actually died for natural or others reasons

Jacob December 3, 2007 16:13:18
Artificial life support is to deprive the suffering person to die peacefully in a natural way. It will extend the suffering fo the dying person. Let the person be natural before he/she dies.

Elizabeth November 12, 2007 11:48:43
I think that Rachael sums up this statement eloquently...why take life of an infant (abortion) and deny a person the right to be with Jesus (DNR). As a nurse, I have seen first hand the struggles of families making the brutal decision to let their loved one join Jesus Christ. As a wife, mother and daugher, I cannot fathom making those decisions. For myself however, I want peace and tranquility upon my death. I do not want my family to sustain my life for their own needs and sadly, people cannot 'let go' of a loved one.

Hilary November 8, 2007 10:43:37
"The Catholic Church leads us to all truths." I agree with that statement, Nilo, but I find different significance in the words that you do.

As Catholics, we are the Church. Therefore, we must lead the Catholic Church towards truth. We are the teachers.

By means the divine inspiration, doctrine has changed over time. This change is not evil, but good because it draws us closer to universal truth.

I believe that life is sacred and murder is always wrong. At the same time, I do not believe that life must be prolonged by all means for all time. We do not gain eternal life through living but by dieing. If we believe, why are we scared?

Nilo November 7, 2007 10:36:54
The Catholic Church leads us to all truths. It is the pillar and bulwark of truth (1 Tim 3:15). So whatever the church teaches, one must abide.

A lot of people opposes the Catholic Church because it touches on the subject of the gravity of their sins.

John November 6, 2007 13:43:01
No.

Hilary November 6, 2007 09:58:10
Ana, babies do have conscious thoughts. This has been proven with the use of EEGs. Just because a baby cannot communicate his/her conscious thoughts does not mean he/she is not having them.

I like Rob's idea that the church needs to focus on a definition of life. I like Descartes, "I think, therefore I am." By this definition, once the process of thought can no longer be preserved, life ceases to exist. Once life ceases to exist, what is it that we are trying to preserve? A mere shell of what once was.

Julia November 6, 2007 09:51:30
As a nurse and a daughter who has had to make the hard decisions at the end of life for a loved one, I see the highly technical interventions made on individuals who have no possibility of survival as invasive and against the plan of God. Isn't there a point where we offer ourselves or our loved ones into the loving hands of Jesus and allow death to happen?

John November 5, 2007 19:00:36
Artificial life support is not feeding tubes and oxygen alone. It is very complicated and when in the critical or intensive care setting is truly life support. I am going to tear up my "living will" and replace it with "a will to live". We all may be pulled off life saving measures of any kind by profit driven insurance companies in the future. It is not immoral to have a DO NOT RESUSCITATE agreement. When diagnosed with terminal cancer or other life ending illness,this is death with dignity. As a health care giver we continue all life support functions except CPR. Which is chest compression, when heart stops and forced breathing, when breathing stops.

Anonymous November 4, 2007 19:00:31
Ana, your reply to what I said in my comments below yours were foolish. A baby who has just been born is NOT the same as an adult with a grave illness or injury. Apples and Oranges my dear.

Thats what makes all this so silly. Its more complex that Romes statement makes it out to me. Why are Christians so scared to pass on? I thought the true home was with Christ? Your statement, and others like it make it seem that Catholic are scared to meet God, and want to fight nature to keep from doing so. How silly.

Joaquin November 2, 2007 20:48:46
God has provided us with doctors and medicine and it is our responsability to do everything that we can to heal our bodies with the medicine available. We are not call to end our lives because it is painful and unbareable we are call to carry our cross and follow the Lord Jesus and it is only God's will that allows to heal or die...That is why God is God and we are just humans

lorenzo October 30, 2007 09:41:26
"Do not resuscitate agreement" is an unusual expression. Using term like "resuscitate" is not correct, is partial.

alisa October 29, 2007 21:51:47
I'm orthodox, but I think that if it has come to the point where the person needs something to breath for him or her... its their time to go. Gods will is for them to pass on.

Mark October 26, 2007 11:32:34
Having a DNR is not immoral, a person has the right to die naturally. If you do Resuscitate, the person will likely end up on life support and it then becomes a morality issue. Do we pull the plug? No, because thats immoral, do we keep them alive? I think no, because it's hypocritical to not let a person die naturally. People are going to die, we need to come to terms with that. There is nothing valuable or important about keeping a persons soul prisoner where they have nothing to live for except to comfort our mourning... thats immoral.

Jacob October 23, 2007 20:01:28
Very vague question. However having a do not resuscitate is not immoral.

Frank October 16, 2007 18:40:40
I think that the question is somewhat vague in its description of life support. If a person is determined to be dead in every physical sense of the word by a physician than placing them on a respirator is purely selfish. All this does is to keep their body breathing. They have been invited to join our Lord in Heaven. By keeping them alive without hope, we prolong the inevitable and seperate them from God. On the other side of the question if you only refer to an IV that keeps them from starving than it opens an entirely new argument. If that is the only form of life support they require than they are not technically dead and deserve every bit of kindness, love, hope and prayers that anyone else does. God will come for each and every one of us in his time. Not ours. Love on another like tomorrow may be your day to meet our Lord. And treat your neigbor just the same. God Bless

Ross October 16, 2007 05:16:48
Don't like the question as "artifical" life support and "Do Not Resuscitate" are two totally different things. I think that life support (food & water) should ALLWAYS be given. A person should never starve to death. I also think a "Do Not Resusciate" agreement is acceptable. If a person is dead how is it morally wrong to let them remain so?

Philip October 15, 2007 20:43:26
Yes, I think having artificial life support is nothing wrong cause at the end of the day life is more valuable and important.

Bernadette October 14, 2007 21:08:44
My father died last Oct. 6. We were already expecting it but not that soon. He had a lot of pains and most of the time was giving everyone a hard time because he wanted somebody to attend to him even in the wee hours of the morning. Doctors knew about this since he was in and out of the hospital until they advised us that he can no longer be accepted in the hospital but undergo hospice instead with a DNR agreement. We cared for him at home taking turns and it was really hard for us esp. for our Mom since he weighs 250 lbs and needed to be lifted to stand up. My mom had a real big sacrifice on him until we got a caretaker to help her at night.

Thing is I didn't know that hospice was like putting a death sentence on my dad. They seemed like caring and giving relief but the day before my dad died it just occurred to me that they might have overdosed him with morphine which led him to die so soon. It is already acceptable to me that he is dying but having someone to do it besides the hand of God seemed unacceptable. I, for one do not seem to understand why they should do such a thing to a human being esp. my Dad. I may be wrong and I hope I am because it is a sin to judge and to put the blame on others when I am not certain that it happened. Please give me some advise and pray that God may enlighten my mind. Thanks.

Mark October 12, 2007 08:32:52
If life can be maintained then medical intervention to do so should take place! Human life is sacrisanct and God decides when we are to die and not mere mortal human beings; venerable physicians or otherwise. Sadly, there ia also these days the talk of the "economics" of keeping some alive who is in a "permanent vegetive state" or "vegetive state" in order to free up a hospital bed and equipment. This surely is putting a cheap price on human life AND a few people have MIRACULOUSLY recovered after many years of unconciousness.

Brendan October 8, 2007 22:45:44
"When competent physicians judge with moral certainty that the patient will never recover consciousness", how can it be justifiable to maintain a person in a "persistent vegetative state"?

If there is a chance for recovery I can sympathise with the arguments for maintaining life, however where there is no chance I cannot see how we can be morally certain that maintaining a person beyond the term of their "natural" life is what God would want.

Rachael October 6, 2007 15:37:14
I think that if as a Catholic you believe it is not right to take life from an infant to whom God has given life, then you should think it equally abhorrent to give life to a person whom God has invited to join him in Heaven.

John October 6, 2007 04:06:41
This is a misleading question. The text of the response specifically was addressed only in the context of someone assessed as being in a persistent vegetative state and dealt with the classification of nutrition and hydration. It was not a blanket statement concerning artificial life support or DNRs.

The statement clarifies clearly that food and water are not extraordinary means and that someone diagnosed as PVT still has dignity as a human person. The Catholic position does not condemn the withdrawal of extraordinary life support measures for someone who has entered the final stages of death, nor does it condemn the use of a DNR in that context. It does, however, condemn the withdrawal of food and water for a disabled person not entering the final stages of death and also would extend to condemning a decision for a DNR exclusively on the basis that the person was mentally disabled.

I have previously made a decision to withdraw extraordinary life support and a DNR for a dying child and that decision was made in full compliance with the Church's teaching on the Gospel of Life.

Charles October 5, 2007 21:44:48
The pope who is the human voice of Jesus is right in the approved statement given by the Vatican. Life needs to be sustained in/by any means necessary.

Joe October 5, 2007 08:49:45
A "Do not recusitate" request is wrong and probably shows ignorance of what it really means. Many people who are comatose, with the help of medical science, become perfectly normal again in relatively short periods of time. We must not assume God's perogatives for ourselves, or hand them over to what may be unethical or faithless medical people or even relatives without first establishing what is right and what we want in such cases.

Anna-Maria October 3, 2007 07:52:32
Life, in all its forms is a gift of the Lord! Everyone who has an experience of the Holy Spirit knows all too well that the Lord is present with us in aboslutely every situation on Earth at each and every moment of our lives. We, Roman Catholics, are in this world, but are not of this world (!!!), meaning that in all possible circumstances the Lord lifts our human spirit "above" the material world if only we allow it. Prayer and holy sacraments become the wings of our souls! This is not an insinuation, self persuasion or whatever you might call it; it is an authentic experience of our Christian Faith. Lord's mercy envelopes the faithful at even the gravest moments and provides absolutely everything necessary for the sustencance of our whole beings even though our physical bodies may appear or be ailing. We can certainly remember the last moments of our beloved late pope JP II, can we not? Didn't we all spiritually reap such rich fruits of his drawing nearer to the Lord? My only conclusion is that some of the participants on this page unfortunately have never encountered a person who, although sinful, desires to totally succum to the Lord and allows the Holy Trinity to take full control of his/her life. Enjoying the strength and abundant grace from our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacraments the faithful is conquering all inadequacies of this physical world. The agony is not an agony at all, but turns into a grace and belssings for everybody around the patient and it resounds far more stronly than than any words or empty discussions about our rights - "Lord, Have mercy on us sinners!" However, this is impossible to comprehend without the experience of the immesurable grace offered to us within the Church and its Holy Sacraments!

Sara October 1, 2007 18:41:46
I am an RN with 40 yrs experience. I have already written my own "Do not resuscitate" and have forbidden my children to allow a tube to be inserted into my stomach for feedings. When the body begins to die, one of the first things to go is the desire or need for nutrition. If a person is unable or unwilling to swallow that is a sign that death is coming, and food is not meant to be given. Men, priests, in Rome have no idea of reality and I believe that they do not have the right or knowledge to issue such a statement.

Seminarista October 1, 2007 13:33:39
Acredito que a luta pela vida é válida, pois é dom de Deus, se chegamos ao ponto de podermos contruir máquinas para ajudar a vida e esperar reações da qual a realidade humana se encontra, devemos sim dispor do aparelho para a luta pela vida, do contrário é preferível a não construção.

Stella September 24, 2007 02:24:18
It pains really so much to see a loved one suffer helplessly for a long time without living or dieing. But I think I share Ana"s Idea. Life is precious no matter what it has turned out to be, no one has the right to take it except God. There is no situation that God cannot change, and any thing He permits is for a purpose and leads to good. It is not the suffering itself that matters but our attitude to it that really makes the whole lot of difference. precisely our acceptance or rejection of suffering, and it is this same attitude of avoidance of suffering that make people commit suicide when they think life is worthless. But we all know that there is no situation that God cannot change. So, let's give God a chance to do as He will. That was Christ prayer at Gesthamany ".....if this cup cannot pass me by, let your will and not mine be done". Finally, suffering is edifying and purges away sins, purifying our souls to make it fit for the kingdom.

Steven September 23, 2007 22:34:35
I do not believe a do not resuscitate agreement to be sinfull. I believe that God will cause whatever he wants to happen. If a person is placed on life support and after an accident, they are only prolonging the wishes of the Father. If the person is removed from life support and God really wants that person to continue in this life, God will not allow that person to die.

Ana September 20, 2007 12:51:12
Life is LIFE, no matter how crippling it may be to some. Breathing, even if it is by artificial means, is a gift from God. Who are we to be judge of who is worthy to live or die. In response to Rob's comments: Conscious thought? Do babies have conscious thought? No, and yet we know that they are living human beings. Or is this just a "century old belief" too?

Rob September 19, 2007 02:11:24
A person should have the right to end thier life when they see fit. Not being kept alive after being brain dead is one of those rights. I think that the real issue here that needs to be answered BEFORE the church makes any real further commitments is, "what is life"? What makes a person, a person? Is it flowing blood, or is it human, conscious thought? If the church can not properly answer this, then it needs to keep quiet until it can. What is needed here is real facts, not simple assumptions nor century old beliefs.

Ronald September 18, 2007 18:49:25
People employed in the healing professions are always encouraging people seeking healing help to make an sign a living will. I just tell them I am a Roman Catholic. That means my faith informs me how to live as a Roman Catholic under ALL of life's conditions. Roman Catholics need to see that the people involved in the healing arts don't violate our faith and that we make our faith clear with regard to life support.

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