Skip to content

Can Catholics choose to end their life in comfort?

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
4/17/2018 (4 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Barbara Bush, 92, has chosen to forgo medical care in favor of comfort.

Former First Lady, Barbara Bush is about to end her life on comfort care, after choosing to forgo future medical care. Is it acceptable for Catholics to do the same? 

Barbara Bush, 92, has made the decision to begin palliative care. We pray for her.

Barbara Bush, 92, has made the decision to begin palliative care. We pray for her.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
4/17/2018 (4 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Barbara Bush, end of life, comfort, euthanasia


LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Prayers are with the Bush family today as Barbara Bush, the wife of former President H.W. Bush, prepares to pass away. She is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. While she could be kept alive longer with medical care, she has instead chosen to forgo such care and to spend her last hours or days surrounded by loved ones, and being made comfortable. 

The decision to stop fighting her declining health may sound like a form of suicide to some, but it is not considered such. 

Catholics are taught that suicide is a mortal sin. Suicide is a violation of the Fifth Commandment, "Thou shall not kill." It is an expression of disrespect for human life which is bestowed by God alone. God gives life, and God takes away life, according to His will. 

In addition, the Church teaches that a person should avoid acts or omissions that would lead to an untimely death. For example, refusing medical care and permitting a disease to become lethal for no reason other than to allow oneself to die. 


2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.
Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.
2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.
2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.

In the case of First Lady Barbara Bush, it appears that death is imminent and unavoidable, and her decision is to engage in palliative care only. She has fought her illness for some time, but now it has advanced to the point of inevitability.  

There does not appear to be any moral issue with her choice. At this time, all we can do is pray for First Lady Bush and her family, especially her husband, President Bush. 

In our own lives, we may be faced with such a decision. We must not will ourselves or permit ourselves to die by neglect. Nor should we seek to hasten the end of our lives by artificial means. Instead, we should use the time we are given to turn towards God, to reflect, to repent and receive reconciliation, and after that, communion. Suffering has a purpose and is not something that should be avoided at all costs. 

Unnecessary suffering should be alleviated, but suffering is not a justifiable excuse to end one's life prematurely. 

If we have questions, we should seek the counsel of our parish priests. 

Support FREE Catholic Education

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2018
Priests and their Pastoral Ministry.
That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.


Comments


More U.S.

Praying for Peace at the Pentagon Watch

Image of Facing the Pentagon, we held signs calling for an end to all nuclear weapons.

Every Monday morning for the past 30 years, members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community in Washington, D.C. have been making their ... continue reading


The Assumption or Dormition of Mary Reveals the Fullness of Redemption for all Christians Watch

Image of The Assumption or Dormition of Mary. It is not just about Mary. It is also about all of those who say Yes to Jesus Christ. We will experience the fullness of redemption in the Resurrection of the Body and life in the coming Kingdom.

Mary's response reveals the meaning of life. We were made to give ourselves away to the Lord who has given Himself to us - in a Holy ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier on Lawrence the Deacon and the Call of Catholic Deacons in a Missionary age Watch

Image of Lawrence the deacon of Rome engaged in ministry

Catholic Deacons are ordained members of the Catholic Clergy, ordained not to the priesthood but to the ministry. We are not laymen any ... continue reading


St Dominic Invites Us to Answer the Question: Who is Jesus Christ to me? Watch

Image of A rendering of St Dominic, the great preacher, pointing to the Gospel

The Saints put legs on the Gospel. They show us by example how we are to respond to the question, Who Do You Say That I Am?  They ... continue reading


Struggles and Trials in Life? Look to Jesus in the Fourth Watch of the Night Watch

Image of We live our lives now in Jesus Christ and we are at home in the Boat of the Church. We can always find Him in the fourth watch of the night, if we choose to respond in faith. When we turn our faith into a verb, we too get our sea legs, as they say in the nautical culture. We also learn a new way of living - and of loving. Fear simply becomes a field of choice, an occasion for trust. Even in the fourth watch of the night, there is a bridge between fear and freedom, it passes through Jesus who tells all who will fix their eyes upon Him - Take Courage; it is I; Be Not Afraid.

We can miss a real encounter with the Lord if we think that this account is only about Peter and the disciples - something distant which ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.