Living and Dying With Dignity
Haute Fidélité, Volume 129, Number 1 (2011)
Bioethical end-of-life questions are an ever-present part of our collective and individual concerns. Quebec’s recent “Dying with Dignity” hearings turned the issue into a province-wide debate. On a more personal level, whose family has not been faced with a loved one’s terminal illness and suffering?
The medical and ethical questions raised by euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, and palliative care are difficult and complex. As Catholics, how can we understand such notions as human dignity, compassion, solidarity, and responsibility? The content of this “topic of the month” should bring some light to the matter.
In addition, how can we enter into dialogue with a secular society, which may or may not care for the Church’s point of view? The Church does not have the credibility and persuasion it once did. If it is to engage in social debate, then the attitudes and manner which shape its stance must be those of accompaniment and common citizenship – a shared responsibility in building a better world. The same goes for priests, deacons, laywomen and laymen, who minister to those who seek truth and meaning in and outside our churches. With them, we are seekers, building the Kingdom of God.
DEFINING HUMAN DIGNITY
VIDEO: Archbishop emeritus Bertrand Blanchet, renowned author and speaker on bioethical issues, provides elements for understanding human dignity.
THE JOURNEY OF DISCERNMENT
Joseph is 58 and single. Cancer has progressively taken over his body. He is in severe pain as the end draws near. He asks a nurse to help him die quickly, for nothing holds him to life anymore.
END-OF-LIFE ISSUES AND DIGNITY
VIDEO: How can the concept of human dignity impact our outlook on the end of life, and bioethical issues?
PALLIATIVE CARE OR EUTHANASIA?
VIDEO: Supporters and opponents of euthanasia both use words like dignity, compassion, and autonomy to argue their point. Some useful clarifications may help to prevent confusion.
It is often assumed that polls are scientific and objective, although they are sometimes contradictory. This is notable in the case of bioethics, and makes it difficult to obtain an accurate perspective on opinion trends.
SURVEYS ABOUT EUTHANASIA
VIDEO: Many surveys show that a majority of respondents are in favour of decriminalizing euthanasia. How can these results be interpreted?
THE CHURCH AND EUTHANASIA
VIDEO: Can the Church take part in public debates like the one on euthanasia? What attitudes and approaches will allow for dialogue within society?
On April 16, 2011, ethicist Margaret Somerville spoke at the "Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide" panel, organized by Pastoral Home Care Services.
DR. SOMERVILLE ON EUTHANASIA
DR. FERRIER ON EUTHANASIA
On April 16, 2011, geriatrics specialist Catherine Ferrier spoke at the "Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide" panel, organized by Pastoral Home Care Services.