The Fractured History of the Hemlock Society

By Brian Clowes, PhD and Marisa Cantu / April 21, 2023 /
hemlock poisonous flower

A judicial determination should be made when it is necessary to hasten the death of an individual, whether it be a demented parent, a suffering, severely disabled spouse or a child. ~ Former Hemlock Society Executive Director Faye Girsh.1   British journalist Derek Humphry had a bit of a problem on his hands in early…

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6 Types of Euthanasia: Is It Ever Justified?

By Brian Clowes, PhD and Marisa Cantu / April 15, 2023 /
active euthanasia cutting off medication

The term “euthanasia” means any action committed or omitted for the purpose of causing or hastening the death of a human being after birth. It is usually done for the alleged purpose of ending the person’s suffering.  The word is derived from two Greek words: “Eu,” meaning “easy,” and “thanos,” which means “death.” The Vatican’s Declaration…

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Are DNRs Ethically Permissible?

By Christine Ebbink / December 16, 2022 /
A DNR order on a clipboard

  Do-not-resuscitate orders (DNRs) can be ethically permissible. However, certain criteria, as described below, must be considered in determining whether a DNR can be ethically implemented.   What’s a DNR? A DNR is an order that healthcare workers (including paramedics) will not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a patient if the patient’s breathing or heartbeat…

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May Catholics Donate Organs?

By Adolfo J. Castañeda / September 16, 2022 /
kidney transplant

Caleb Beaver died when he was 16 years old on Christmas Day 2011. His death was caused by a congenital malformation in his circulatory system that was never diagnosed. His parents were devastated. They decided to donate his heart, kidneys, lungs, liver, and pancreas. Several months later, Caleb’s parents met the person who had received…

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Catholic Bioethics and the Moral Treatment of Human Beings

By Susan Ciancio / June 25, 2021 /
young nurse caring for an elderly man

Respect, compassion, care, kindness, empathy, and love. These actions come about when people recognize the inherent dignity in every person. And nowhere is it more important to understand people’s inherent dignity than in a capacity where someone has to take care of another or provide for his well-being. This occurs most often in the medical…

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25 Bible Verses and the Problem of Euthanasia

By Susan Ciancio / June 18, 2021 /
The Holy Bible

In nine states and in Washington, DC, it is legal to decide the day of your own death should you feel that your suffering is too much to bear. Though this is defined as euthanasia—according to Merriam-Webster, “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals…in a relatively…

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The Hippocratic Oath: A Pledge to Respect Life

By Sofia Infante / April 21, 2021 /
happy elderly lady in a plaid jacket

In 400 B.C. the Greek doctor Hippocratis of Cos, regarded as the father of medicine, wrote the Hippocratic Oath. This pledge of ethics outlines proper conduct and basic principles to be observed by doctors. All graduating medical students once pledged first to “do no harm”—the most well-known and fundamental promise. However, the original Oath has…

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New Euthanasia Laws Drop Illusion of “Choice”

By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet / October 26, 2020 /

“Even when not motivated by a selfish refusal to be burdened with the life of someone who is suffering, euthanasia must be called a false mercy, and indeed a disturbing ‘perversion’ of mercy. True ‘compassion’ leads to sharing another’s pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear. Moreover, the act of…

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Ordinary and Extraordinary Means of Treatment

By Brian Clowes, PhD / September 2, 2020 /
patient in hospital bed, sick

When preparing our own advance medical directives, or when assisting others to do so, it is critically important for us to know precisely where ordinary means of treatment end and extraordinary means begin. Pro-euthanasia groups have made a lot of progress by lodging in the public mind the specter of power-hungry doctors “playing God” and…

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What May We Do about Pain?

By Brian Clowes, PhD / August 18, 2020 /
woman patient praying rosary

As we or our loved ones get older and begin to consider advance medical directives, we should also think about the question of pain and how we intend to deal with it. Those who diligently practice their Catholic faith commonly ask three questions regarding the ethics of pain management drugs near the end of life:…

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Resource Articles:

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