The position of Abrahamic religions on end of life and palliative care
Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
Yesterday 28 October at the Casina PIo IV in the Vatican, 40 representatives of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths signed the joint Position Paper of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions on matters concerning the end of life.
Invited by the Pontifical Academy for Life, presided over by His Excellency Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the religious, including the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development Peter K. A. Turkson, have committed themselves in 12 points to stating that euthanasia and assisted suicide are morally and intrinsically wrong and should be prohibited without exception. Any pressure and action on patients to end their lives is categorically rejected.
A very important point for the mission of the Dicastery is that concerning Health Care Workers that states that no health care worker should be forced or subjected to pressure to witness directly or indirectly the deliberate and intentional death of a patient through assisted suicide or any form of euthanasia, especially when such practices go against the health care worker’s religious beliefs, because there should be always respect for conscientious objection to acts that conflict with a person’s ethical values. This remains valid, continues the Paper, even if such acts have been declared legal at a local level or by categories of persons.
Very significant, the joint declaration also addresses the spiritual and material accompaniment of the terminally ill and their families, as well as the use of medical technology at the end of life and the promotion of palliative care.
The Irish Catholic
“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience,” Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch tells his daughter in Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a powerful statement, and one worth bearing in mind by those who’d seek to make an idol of the ballot box.
It also homes in on one of the key issues facing doctors, religious or otherwise, who believe that they have duties towards all human beings, born or unborn, regardless of how the 36th Amendment to the Constitution permits the State to regulate abortion by law. . .[Full text]
Ireland’s reliance on Muslim doctors in hospitals around the country may derail Government plans to roll out a national abortion service, a leading obstetrician has said.
Large numbers of non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs) working in maternity units outside Dublin are Muslims from abroad, according to Dr Trevor Hayes of Kilkenny’s St Luke’s Hospital, who says he had been personally told that they have serious religious qualms about performing abortions. . .[Full text]
Research into human development involves the use of human embryos and their derivative cells and tissues. How religions view the human embryo depends on beliefs about ensoulment and the inception of personhood, and science can neither prove nor refute the teaching of those religions that consider the zygote to be a human person with an immortal soul. This Spotlight article discusses some of the dominant themes that have emerged with regard to how different religions view the human embryo, with a focus on the Christian faith as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Islamic perspectives.
Neaves W. The status of the human embryo in various religions. Development 2017 144: 2541-2543; doi: 10.1242/dev.151886
A law professor defends physicians’ right to conscientious objection
As abortion, euthanasia and other controversial procedures become more widespread, conscientious objection for healthcare workers is becoming a flashpoint for controversy throughout the Western world. Some doctors and ethicists have argued that conscientious objection itself is unethical because doctors are required to fulfil any legal request that their patients make.
MercatorNet interviewed Professor Michael Quinlan, dean of the law school at the Sydney campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia, about this contentious issue. He has just published an article on the situation in Australian jurisdictions. [Full text]