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A BMJ editorial is now saying that our law should pay less attention to the sanctity of human life, and that lives not worth living should be ended: what’s going on?

It’s also saying that brain-damaged and demented people just cost too much: what’s happened to medical ethics?

By on Thursday, 19 July 2012

Under the arresting headline “When did it become acceptable for the British Medical Journal to advocate the murder of patients?”, Deacon Nick of Protect the Pope brings to our attention an outrageous BMJ editorial (headlined “Sanctity of life law has gone too far”) by one Raanan Gillon, a retired professor of philosophy, which argues, in brief, that some dementia patients should be starved and dehydrated to death, among other reasons to save money, since their care “skews the delivery of severely resource-limited healthcare services” to patients who can really benefit from them.

As the BMJ doesn’t give free online access to its articles, I rely here on the account given by Dr Peter Saunders on the official blog of that admirable outfit the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF). In his editorial, Professor Gillon reviews the case of M, a woman in a minimally conscious state, who was the subject of a court of protection ruling last year. The judge decided that M’s feeding tube should not be removed as she did not have a valid and applicable advance directive in place. Instead he gave priority to preserving her life. Gillon objected to this judgment on two grounds. First, that the judge “did not accord ‘significant weight’ to the patient’s previously expressed values, wishes, and views”. But these were not in fact clear and in the absence of a clear statement of the patient’s wishes, precedence was given in the judgment to the preservation of life over uncertain autonomy. The judge gave undue weight, in other words, to “the sanctity of life”.

Essentially, Gillon’s real point is that he doesn’t like the current law and considers that the lives of some people are not worth living and should therefore be brought to an end. He thinks that giving nutrition and hydration to people with severe brain damage or dementia is not beneficial and that they should have their basic care withdrawn and be allowed to die.

One important reason is that he thinks that not only is it not in the interests of the patient to continue living a life “not worth living”, it just costs too much: “The logical implications of this judgment threaten to skew the delivery of severely resource limited healthcare services towards providing non-beneficial or minimally beneficial life prolonging treatments including artificial nutrition and hydration to thousands of severely demented patients whose families and friends believe they would not have wanted such treatment. The opportunity cost will probably be reduced provision of indisputably beneficial treatments to people who do want them.” Now this statement is very interesting indeed, since M is not actually demented, just seriously brain damaged. In addition she has some degree of residual brain function.

It is noteworthy, says Dr Saunders, “that Gillon is very selective in his reporting of these facts and conveniently does not mention that M had some awareness of herself and her environment, some understanding of language, occasionally spoke, appeared to be able to appreciate some things that were said to her and responded to music. Although she regularly experienced pain, this was not constant or extreme, and her condition was stable. And unlike dementia patients, who are terminally ill, she had a non-progressive condition.”

Now, that notion that the patient M should have been “allowed to die” because her “life is not worth living” reminded me strongly of a talk given by the historian Michael Burleigh years ago at a weekend conference I attended, run as it happens by the CMF. His ideas were subsequently elaborated in his book Death and Deliverance: “Euthanasia” in Germany c. 1900–1945 (1995). Two diabolical Nazi phrases stuck in my mind from his talk: “the sacred right to death” and a “life unworthy of life”. Now, the Nazi euthanasia programme was of course an intrinsic part (not simply a precursor) of the so-called final solution, which came to its climax during the war in the death camps. It was all part of the programme of Nazi eugenics: “life unworthy of life” was the life of the brain-damaged and mentally handicapped”: it was also that of the Jews and other “inferior” races.

I am well aware that Professor Gillon isn’t going anything like that far. But what he is saying is part of the same family of ideas: it’s potentially on the way. For, once a society abandons or weakens the idea of the sanctity of life, as he expressly wants ours to, it has no ultimate safeguard against this and other hellish deformations. That’s why in modern Germany — in sharp contrast to Holland — there is such an absolutely rigid taboo against euthanasia, against “mercy killing”: for the Germans can never forget that that was another Nazi phrase dreamed up to give their euthanasia programme a sentimental veneer of supposed compassion: and it should never be forgotten, by us, too, that the Nazis in their propaganda films didn’t sell their euthanasia programme to the German public by emphasising specifically Nazi ideas about racial strength and purity: they appealed directly to the feelings of sympathy of decent Germans for those who were suffering from lives “not worth living”.

The Nazi euthanasia programme was heavily influenced by the ideas of one Alfred Hoche, who coined the phrase “life unworthy of life”, and who believed that the killing of patients who, he insisted, had value neither for society, nor for themselves, should be allowed. He focused particularly on what he called the “mentally dead”, by which he meant those who have no clear imagination, no feelings, wishes or determination. These, he said, have no subjective claim to life: their feelings are just simple elemental ones such as those found in the lower animals.

Hoche also argued for the killing of the mentally disabled and handicapped for financial reasons. Calculating the “financial and moral burden” on an individual’s environment, hospital and on the state, Hoche claimed that those who were “mentally dead” at the same time weighed heavily on “our national burden”.

The dissimilarities between this and the BMJ editorial shouldn’t of course be ignored; Professor Gillon isn’t a proto-Nazi. But neither should the clear parallels be ignored. “The logical implications of this judgment,” says Professor Gillon, “threaten to skew the delivery of severely resource-limited healthcare services towards providing … minimally beneficial life prolonging treatments… The… cost will probably be reduced provision of indisputably beneficial treatments to people who do want them.” In other words, the “financial and moral burden” of these patients, whose “life is unworthy of life”, weighs heavily on “our national burden”. It’s precisely the same argument, and it depends on exactly the same assessment of the value of impaired human life.

The implications of Professor Gillon’s arguments – and of the support for them of the BMJ – for any assessment of the current moral condition of our society and of the current ethical awareness of the medical profession itself are deeply disturbing. Raanan Gillon is an emeritus professor of medical ethics: how many doctors-to-be, over the years, have sat at his feet, have had their own medical ethics influenced, even wholly formed, by his?

It simply doesn’t bear thinking about.

  • Cestius

    Pope John Paul II warned about “the culture of death”. Little by little the secular world is slowly getting there.

  • paulpriest

    Unfortunately Dr Oddie we do have to think about it…

    ..and worse we have to face the fact that it’s already happening – and not merely to the physically or mentally handicapped newborn; not merely to those in PVS, not merely those who have suffered brain damage yet are still alive without a ventilator; not merely to those who have demanded their ‘rights under the mental capacity act for themselves or their relatives or those placed in their legal care…

    permit me to quote Dr Jacqueline Laing, Senior Law Lecturer & director of Juris:

    The
    Mental Capacity Act 2005 authorises doctors, in certain circumstances,
    to withhold all “treatment”, including food and water, from patients who
    lack capacity. Importantly, in England and Wales, legally speaking,
    food and water administered in a medical environment may be classified
    as “medical treatment”.

     

    In
    2008 the Liverpool Care Pathway was recommended as the Department of
    Health’s End of Life Strategy and a year later 300 hospitals, 130
    hospices and 560 care homes in England had rolled out the programme.

     

    Medical
    concerns about the very possibility of diagnosing imminent death are
    familiar. Where this diagnosis is made, the combination of morphine and
    dehydration are likely to undermine a patient’s capacity. Persistent
    dehydration of even the fittest sedated patient will kill him. That is
    the problem with the Pathway. It reverses the burden of proof so that an
    incapacitated patient must speak on his own behalf in favour of water.
    Even assuming he is well enough, as Kane Gorny’s family found, his pleas
    may not be heard. The concerns of families, lawyers and healthcare
    professionals about this programme demand address.

     

    Healthcare
    costs, bed-clearing, political Malthusianism and the philosophical
    dehumanisation of the vulnerable pervasive in contemporary bioethics are
    all likely to rationalise bureaucratised homicide.
     

    Now I’m sure some readers of this blog will be thinking

     ‘Oh God he’s not going to harp on about the Liverpool Care Pathway gain is he?”

    And the answer is “Yes I am”

    Because we’re all in danger…

    …and I’m sorry to say that we are presently in the middle of a ‘conspiracy of silence’ and deliberate cover-up in regard to the Liverpool Care Pathway by those who are both advisers to the Catholic Church & self-confessed ‘Catholic ethicists”…

    A strong indictment but bear with me:

    a] The Liverpool Care Pathway [now on Version 12] contravenes Catholic teaching
    [ref CDF & Benedict XVI, JP2 on PVS, Evangelium Vitae etc]
    in that Nutrition & Hydration [even by artificial means] are forms of Natural Care and are not removable clinical treatments.
    Even though v12 has ostensible safeguards which may appear to protect a patient’s access to hydration – arbitrary, ambiguous discretionary terms like ‘the patient’s best interest’ & ‘not detrimental to patient’ mean that any clinician, diagnostic team or post-prognosis any of the medical staff may remove hydration.
    Bearing in mind the normative use of Hyoscine as an anti-nausea/anti-emetic drug for end-of-life patients is also a desiccating agent – the combined removal of fluids will reduce the effectivity of pain-relief drugs, will induce excruciating pain as organs & muscles begin to necrotise and accelerate death by dehydration.

    b] Catholic teaching is categorical regarding the use of opiates as pain-relief in that it must be needs-based and not unnecessarily sedate anyone in their final hours. Pius XII in his speech to the anaesthetists [1957] called unnecessary sedation ‘barbaric’ and ‘gravely evil’.
    The Liverpool Care Pathway has prognosis-based opiate provision rather than needs-based for analgesia. This can lead to unnecessary sedation and deny the patient the opportunity to die a good, pain-limited, optimally-conscious natural death. Continuous deep sedation is rapidly becoming normative practice http://spuc-director.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/bbc-reports-on-practice-of-slow.html

    c] Not only is this non-analgesic opiate over-prescription sedative in nature – when it comes to non-cancer patients Trescot[2008] & Gomes[2011] studies reveal that this unnecessary opiate use actually accelerates death [thus disproving the cornerstone of the arguments in the CBCEW end-of-life pastoral care draft & final document]
    This directly contravenes the 5th commandment.

    d] Holistically speaking as a form of Palliative Care the Liverpool Care Pathway is irrevocably flawed and directly contrary to Catholic teaching regarding the sanctity and dignity of human life by a single premise

    - the actuation of irreversible end-of-life procedures after a 72hr prognosis.

    To quote a leading contributor to the Catholic Medical Quarterly

    “Once you are on the Liverpool Care Pathway you will die; even if you weren’t dying!”

    NOW LET’S MAKE THIS CLEAR:
    THE LIVERPOOL CARE PATHWAY’S USE ITSELF [NOT ITS ABUSE [as is so often claimed] IS PROVISIONALLY DIRECTLY CONTRARY TO CATHOLIC TEACHING AND IS A POTENTIAL FORM OF BACKDOOR EUTHANASIA.

    Now the President of the Catholic Medical Association is equally as forthright:

    http://spuc-director.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/euthanasia-is-being-practised-widely-in.html

    and others experts have stated similarly:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/6133157/Dying-patients.html#

    Now this sparked a response from LCP Consultant Prof David Albert Jones:

    The
    LCP has caused much heart ache in the Catholic community and the letter
    to the Telegraph in 2009 that sparked the media controversy was written
    primarily by Catholic physicians. The Catholic Medical Association
    (especially Philip Howard but also others eg Adrian Treloar) have been
    very critical and there is a Catholic doctor, Gillian Craig, who has
    been undertaking something of a crusade agaisnt withdrawal of Clinically
    assisted Nutrition and Hydration within palliative care from the
    1990s. 

    All
    this said my own view is that the LCP is a good thing both in principle
    and generally in practice and criticsim of it generally plays into the
    hands of the euthanasia movement.
    I am on the national referance group
    of the LCP (which you should know and I have been criticised for) but I
    am also a very strong opponent of euthanasia (and abortion and
    contraception just to be clear about my ecclesio-politics). It is very
    clear that if someone is dying then overtreatment is not only
    unnecessary but probably burdensome and even counter productive. The LCP
    aims to give appropriate treatment when someone is recognised to be
    dying: stopping unncessary
    treatment, giving pain relief and increasing communication (and
    spiritual care) with patients and relatives. There is an issue about how
    to diagnose dying but this is not unique to the LCP, and the LCP
    recognises assessment every 4 hours – which is more than NHS average
    even for dying patients.

    My
    view of the Daily Telegraph is that they have decided this is a good
    story to attack poor care in the NHS, raise fears about care of the
    vulnerable, and oppose euthanasia (the Telegraph has many Catholic
    writers and sometimes seems to be the Daily Catholic Herald). I do not
    disagree with these aims but think the target is mis-identified as in
    reality the LCP is
    mainstream palliative care which even if it has some issues is able to
    be done very well. Furthermore I think attacking the LCP and alleging
    that euthanasia is widespread helps the euthanasia movement claim that
    ‘slow euthnasia’ is already with us so it would be kinder to have fast
    euthanasia.
    In fact the LCP is not a death pathway and certainly not a
    euthanasia pathway but is a care pathway for people who doctors are sure
    are dying.

    It
    may be that the LCP is attacked by people with excellent Catholic
    credentials and defended by some people with very dubious credentials
    but if you look at the pathway istelf and the evidence supplie by the
    audit i do not think
    there is anything that should be opposed by a good Catholic.
    I do not
    say you should trust your colleague but I do say that the LCP at least
    in its latest draft is capable of being used in a way that is fully in
    keeping with Catholic teaching
    and I would advise agaisnt using the LCP
    as a substitute for the real targets of inadequate care of the elderly,
    failure to respect those with disability and the push for euthanasia
    (and assisted suicide) by passive and active means. 

    Dr Tony Cole, Chairman of the Medical Ethics Alliance wrote to David Albert Jones expressing grave concerns re the LCP & requested he discuss it with Phillip Howard of the Medical Ethics Committee of the Catholic Medical Association [letter available on request]

    the response by Prof Jones  [also available] dismissed Dr Cole’s hydration concerns as v12 included the sentence

    ‘the patient should be
    supported to take fluids by mouth for as long as tolerated’.

    [?!!!! Do you see my point?]

    When it came to Dr Cole’s urging for mandatory training in the LCP the meandering response was a ‘[we emphasised] the need for training but I do not know what training is formally required”

    [This coming from a major consultant on the LCP who is telling us all it's all ok???!!]

    There’s more equivocating guff which follows…
    …but then Prof DAJ’s REAL CONCERNS are addressed:

    I was led to defend the Liverpool Care Pathway publically
    in part because I am convinced that attacks on it are both misdirected and play
    in to the hands of the euthanasia movement. Headlines such as ‘Sentenced to
    Death on the NHS’ (Telegraph 2
    September 2009) feed the fears and anxieties of vulnerable people. They also
    perpetuate the myth that palliative care generally involves euthanasia (that
    is, withdrawal of treatment with the aim of hastening death and/or use of
    opiates and sedation with the same aim). In fact
    such interventions and withdrawals typically have neither the intention nor
    even the expectation of shortening life. This has been demonstrated very well
    by Clive Seale’s work. Nevertheless, this misperception of palliative care as
    hastening death naturally leads people to ask why explicit euthanasia is not legally
    permitted.

     

    Fierce public attacks
    on the Liverpool Care Pathway also give the false impression that opponents of
    euthanasia are opposed to any withdrawal of life sustaining treatment even in
    those who are dying. This helps the euthanasia movement capitalise of fear of
    futile and burdensome overtreatment. It also serves to alienate and demoralise the
    palliative care movement just at a time when the possibility of a change in the
    law hangs in the balance.

    …are you  getting what this is all about yet?

    Meanwhile in the Universe a letter was sent dismissing and repudiating any of the concerns over the LCP’s euthanising nature and reassuring Catholics that the LCP was ‘fully in harmony with Catholic teaching’
    co-signed by:
    Prof David Albert Jones
    Mrs Lynn Bassett  [Chaplain of Peace Hospice]
    Frs Ashley Beck, Paul Mason, Peter Scott & Tim Gardner OP
    Profs Peter Gilbert & Michael Horan
    Drs Neil Weir, Catherine Gleeson & Agneta Sutton
    & Mr Jim McManus [Birmingham's Joint Director of Public Health]

    In other words reputable Catholic clerics, experts, professionals etc are all in favour of the LCP & dismissing any claims that in its correct use according to the guidelines is in any way a form of active or passive euthanasia.

    So why do Catholic Medical Experts like Dr Phillip Howard & Dr Adrian Treloar believe them to be dangerously wrong?

    So to recap:
    a] The Liverpool Care Pathway contravenes Catholic teaching in four very distinct ways:
    i] Nutrition & hydration
    ii] Unnecessary Sedation
    iii] Non-analgesic opiate prescription accelerating death
    iv] Proactive irreversible prognosis-based procedures rather than reactive needs-based palliative care.

    b] Leading Catholic ethicists, clerics and medical/administrative professionals have said it does NOT contravene Catholic teaching.

    c] Prof David Albert Jones – together with many others – have initiated a response dismissing and repudiating claims against the Catholicity and euthanising-potential of the LCP. URGING PRO-LIFERS & CATHOLIC COMMENTATORS TO DEFEND THE LCP AND VOCIFEROUSLY QUASH ANY OPPOSITION TO IT AND TO DENY ANY POTENTIAL FOR EUTHANASIA IN ITS USE WITHIN THE GUIDELINES.

    d] WHY?

    e] Professor David Albert Jones has repeatedly made the reason perfectly clear:

    NOT BECAUSE IT ISN’T POTENTIALLY EUTHANISING [but it is!!!]
    AND NOT BECAUSE IT MAY POSSIBLY BE CONDUCIVE TO CATHOLIC TEACHING [which it isn't!!]

    BUT BECAUSE – IN HIS OWN WORDS :

    Furthermore I think attacking the LCP and alleging
    that euthanasia is widespread helps the euthanasia movement claim that
    ‘slow euthnasia’ is already with us so it would be kinder to have fast
    euthanasia.

     
    IN OTHER WORDS – SAYING IT IS EUTHANASIA WILL MAKE LEGISLATION FOR EUTHANASIA MORE SIMPLE – FOR BY SUGGESTING ANYTHING IS WRONG WITH THE LCP WILL BE PLAYING INTO THE HANDS OF PRO-EUTHANASIA ACTIVISTS WISHING TO MAKE IT LEGAL.

    f] Do you see the scenario?

    “Better that a few thousand die unofficially through the unsafe Liverpool Care Pathway than hundreds of thousands being officially killed through a legislated Euthanasia Act”

    In other words – This is a CAIAPHAS COROLLARY

    We are being told by our ethical experts and advisers to shut up, keep our mouths shut over the euthanasia of our neighbour via the LCP because if we don’t shut up we will be accelerating the introduction of Euthanasia Legislation by allowing them to say it’s already normative medical practice in the NHS.

    Anyone else feel sick?

    This is an outrageous scandal
    This deplorable conspiracy of silence with euthanasia occurring in the LCP for the gravely immoral utilitarian reasons that it’s better for a few to die than the many…

    …has left us now at the very brink of the precipice of diabolism!

    How DARE we claim to be pro-Life?
    How DARE we as Catholics claim to respect the dignity and sanctity of life when we refuse to acknowledge that the Liverpool Care Pathway contravenes Catholic teaching and its safeguards aren’t safe?
    How DARE we remain silent and allow our neighbour to die – grounded upon the Caiaphas principle that if we try to save their lives we’ll be opening the gates for many more deaths?

    Remember 29% of All UK deaths occur via the Liverpool Care Pathway – the audit revealed that half of those patients were placed on the LCP without any consent of patient or relative.
    It may be scaremongering and hyperbolic but when some Doctors are claiming there may be as many as 130,000 being prematurely euthanised every year on the LCP

    …and we are being ordered to stay silent?

    THIS IS A NIGHTMARE FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THIS COUNTRY

    THIS IS THE GRAVEST SCANDAL IN WHICH WE HAVE EVER ENGAGED

    …AND SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT IT – NOW!!!!

  • Honeybadger

    This is eugenics by the back door, and no mistake.

    Nazis who had similar views were regarded as evil war criminals.

    It appears that the BMJ is going down the same road.

    Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

  • theroadmaster

    They know the cost of everything but the value of nothing, to paraphrase a famous saying by Oscar Wilde.  The promoters of the euthanasia model of healthcare use the so-called “financial burden” argument to try to give their arguments a scintilla of respect.  They also use a  subjective “standard of living” index, in terms of physical and mental health,, to put the ultimate value on the intrinsic worth of human beings.  Serious brain impairment or grave illness would seem to effectively disqualify patients from meeting the criteria for them to receive ongoing, live-saving medical treatment.  The argument in favour of the withdrawal of hydrating liquids and food sustenance, on the grounds of the supposed futility of employing “extraordinary” means to keep the very seriously ill recipients alive, demonstrates the calculating, cruel and heartless rationale at the heart of this policy.  This dark ideology must be confronted with a holistic medicine which treats the whole patient, mind, body and soul.  This will also help to restore the ailing ethical health of the medical bodies which govern and regulate the whole area of healthcare in GB and the western world.

  • James H

    Ol’ Nick always uses the worst betrayals – ever since Judas.

  • Oconnord

    Surely the piece was one to enable discussion, not a “working document”. It was written by  “one Raanan Gillon, a retired professor of philosophy”, not a medical doctor or administrator. Such articles are often written in a provocative manner to encourage discussion of important points.

    It does raise an important discussion, if medical resources are limited, who should be given preferential treatment? If one considers the idea of “moral triage”, (my phrase), the questions raised are valid. 

    For example, should care be given to the patient described in this article above live-saving treatment to a drunk driver, if a choice had to be made? One may well be innocent, the other reckless but how could one judge? What are the criteria… possible life span, past sins, the grief of surviving family members?

  • Parasum

    What we badly need to pay much less attention is all this PC nonsense. That, & Elfin Safety.

    The notion of the sanctity of human life is theologically absurd – it is not holy, but it is is inviolable. There is nothing about holy about human life, except by God’s grace.  To ascribe sanctity to human life in itself sounds like a symptom of confusion of nature with grace. If to be human makes us holy, then Jesus Christ is a massive irrelevance: for we are human, therefore holy, therefore in no need of any help from Him, thank you very much. The idea is Pelagian to the core, & worse:

    “Glory to man in the Highest
    For man is the master of things.”

    It’s a shame that the author of those lines did not live to see these “glorious” & “highest” beings slaughter one another like cattle in WW1; to say nothing of the behaviour of some of them a generation later, who took to slaughtering their fellow-men on a scale that no slaughter-house could possibly accommodate. Idolatry of man by other men is a dead end; it leads only to evil.

     

  • Nicolas Bellord

    But we are not necessarily talking about medical treatment but the ordinary provision  of food and drink.  We are commanded by the Gospel to provide both – Matthew 25.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    Hoche’s paper on life unworthy of living was published in 1920 long before the Nazi adoption of his ideas.  The point I would like to make is that one does not have to be a Nazi to believe in euthanasia.  The promotion of euthanasia in Godless circles in Germany and elsewhere existed long before the Nazis – it is something that does not need Nazis and to equate present-day enthusiasts for euthanasia with Nazis does have its dangers as being over the top.  However it is  valid to point out where it can lead.

  • Ave Verum

    We live in dangerous, very dangerous times – a cruel far right secular ideology grips this country abetted by a materialism and relativism that smothers any hope of an ethical or moral understanding of the gift of life.  The Church, certainly to the point of incessant media ridicule, perhaps even eventually to the point of types of martyrdom, will need  to be bold and clear in its divine proclamation and teaching … and in its social action

  • Iréne

    Sadly, we should not be too surprised by the absurdities going on in the medical field; many years ago, I read the account of a German historian who reminded his readers how, during the Nazi terror regime, one group of professionals stood out; namely, the German doctors. How? Already BEFORE the Naziz came to power, that is, in the early 1930´s, NO other profession could match the high number of members FREELY joining the nazi party. Doctors, then, enjoyed a very high status in society, more than today, and one man proved, many years ago, in his  thesis(Phd), how the upper class and middle class citizens in a country ALWAYS have bowed to the existing powers- whether naziz or communists- in order to improving their careers. Too many doctors seem to have forgotten that this profession, in the first place, is about saving and protecting life, without exceptions.
    Absurd and evil comments like these are now prevalent in several countries; one example is the well known professor Peter Singer´s infamous comment: “A healthy dog has a greater value than a sick child”. If you don´t believe this,( many people I have told this remark just seem to find it too evil to believe) I kindly advise you to read it on the net. Also, too many people seem to “accept” the thought of the dement, or retarded, being “helped” to end their “useless” lives, but when hearing that this could include children, handicapped and/or sick, they jump. As I see it, this reaction is only a logic consequence of decades of adoration – not of the one and true God, but of man- not man old and weak, but only man as eternal young and healthy.
    I hate to say it, but also in the Church, the key word all too often seems to be “the young”. It is almost as if most of the activities have to revolve around “the young”. One sometimes gets the feeling that the attitude regarding the middle aged and the elderly in the Church is: “pay, pray and obey”. We read about an alarmingly and increasingly narcisism, especially among the young today. Isn´t this attitude leading to many young people, of course unconciously, to somehow regarding themselves as somewhat ” superior ” to adults? Naturally, I understand that the young ones ARE very crucial for the future,and many initiatives are very admirable, but paying such comparatively little attention to the adults and their needs – for ex education and formation- seems unwise.
    Also, it is very worrying that so many catholics, especially the “culture” and “cafeteria” ones, seem more or less totally unaware of, or, even worse, indifferent of what is going on out there.

    Iréne 
     

  • awkwardcustomer

    Let’s face it, they’ve reverted to Paganism. Is the modern, Western world actually secular? Or do modern Westerners worship a false god – themselves – which naturally gives them the right to decide who should live and who should die, inconvenience and distaste being the criteria which determine the answer.

  • Oconnord

    “which argues, in brief, that some dementia patients should be starved and dehydrated to death, among other reasons to save money, since their care “skews the delivery of severely resource-limited healthcare services” to patients who can really benefit from them.”

  • http://ttonys-blog.blogspot.com/ Ttony

    Where has Paul’s comment (it was the second) gone?

  • http://twitter.com/CCFather Ben Trovato

    I wanted to read Paul’s comment too: it was too long to read when I first saw it, and now it has disappeared without trace!  Why is that? Ben Trovato

  • http://twitter.com/CCFather Ben Trovato

    I wanted to read Paul’s comment too: it was too long to read when I first saw it, and now it has disappeared without trace!  Why is that?  

  • http://blog.echurchwebsites.org.uk/ Stuart @ eChurch Blog

    Yes, I’ve also been guided over here to read Paul’s comment as the LCP issue is a hot potato right now.

    Surely the CH is not censoring traddie Catholics, or opinions that run counter to the editorial?

  • Nicolas Bellord

    And what point are you making?

  • paulpriest

    Sorry all.

    Some time ago after a heated online debate on the Liverpool Care Pathway I was included in a mailing list which provided arguments in defence of the LCP with the intention that there was some informed resource material, support and a more-balanced objectivity within further private discussion among a select few on opposing sides.

    Out of respect for third parties’ confidentiality certain personal details were omitted from the received material and this inadvertently led to my mistakenly presuming specific parts of the material were already within the public forum.

    Without any prior knowledge or malicious intent I inadvertently included confidential correspondence within yesterday’s post believing it to be already within the public sphere.

    For that I apologise unreservedly to Professor Jones, the person who sent me the material [who is in no way to blame for my indiscretion] and of course to the Herald.

    However I do not in any way withdraw my statements on the contra-Catholicity and potentially euthanising nature within the present LCP & its unsafe guidelines; nor do I retract the indictment of its defenders seeking to dismiss any grave concerns over the LCP as “scaremongering and playing into the pro-Euthanasia lobby’s hands”
    .
    It is my solemn belief that for the best of misguided intentions they have adopted the role of a modern-day Caiaphas ; their quashing of dissent and conspiracy of silence is risking the lives of their neighbour on the grounds of fearing and attempting to prevent any potential future Euthanasia legislation.

    It is a grave scandal; no matter how well-intentioned.

  • Kevin

    “I am well aware that Professor Gillon isn’t going anything like that far. But what he is saying is part of the same family of ideas: it’s potentially on the way”

    This is the common “slippery slope” argument that for many years has failed to stem the tide of anti-life law reform. It is in fact a logical fallacy known as the appeal to terror, and the anti-lifers will bat it away with their usual zeal. What matters is the immorality of the specific case being discussed. The quotes above talk about “wanting” or “not wanting” treatment, but the cost-benefit analysis surely only makes sense if one actually means, “taxpaying” and “non-taxpaying”. It is the demotion of divinely created human beings to the level of “worker ants” that marks the immorality of this approach.

    No-one, moreover, should drop the ball by saying, “but some people don’t believe in God”. Argue in your own words, not your opponents’.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    It would be very useful if Paul could repeat his comments leaving out confidential material.  It seems to me that this is a classic case of guidance/regulations that can be abused by somebody who  does not adhere to a moral code which strictly forbids intentional killing by act or omission.  Does the LCP state that such killing is wrong?

  • Pugin

    The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger was a Eugenics supporter whose views were no different from the Nazis; however, because of the dictatorship of political correctness, the Planned Parenthood supporters can use buzz words to make themselves out to be the good guys and Pro Lifers to be the Nazis. The root of the problem is that the liberal elite has been controlling us through buzz words. Kill political correctness and you kill their power over the masses.

  • orthodoxpriest

    Euthanasia is always promoted in terms of providing a voluntary option for the wellbeing of those suffering, but it will always end up being imposed for the supposed wellbeing of various organisations tasked with caring for those whose ability to participate in society is severely limited. It must be resisted strenuously since, as with all aspects of the liberal and anti-life agenda, the constant chipping away at Christian based morality and ethics will eventually achieve their goals, if we are not vigilant.

  • hopefroreurope

    Human beings are holy because they are made in the image and likeness of God, we are not holy by our own means! Glory goes to the One True God not the false gods of relativism.

  • hopefroreurope

    Your words are callous and cruel, not to mention unethical about an age group of people some of whom fought tooth and nail to win a war that brought victory and freedom to YOUR country and who have more about them than people such as yourself. Perhaps you work for the Government or the NHS who are always trying to cut costs. I suggest you avail yourself of the works of Blessed John Paul II or Pope Benedict XVI on the dignity of ALL human life’ 

  • johnny

    the liverpool care pathway is a twin to the final solution, it took a long time for that to be stopped and millions of men women and children were starved to death and this pathway is the identical twin. it will take time when the public become to realise of the extermination being done in our n h s hospitals, maybe a different governent or prime minister who has the brains to see patients are being starved to death to save  beds and money, instead of giving billions of pounds to other countries who tell you they dont need it , it should be used to save lives in england.

  • x nurse

    i think paul has emmigrated to save being starved to death on the death pathway, he will come back when it has been exterminated i dont blame him fair play paul. 

  • x nurse

    lets not hope you get a taste of dementia in your early days which can happen, would you dash for the syringe driver i doubt it its a case of put the shoe on the other foot your foot and enjoy it, i think you are sick and i would oblige to put you on the death pathway.

  • watchman

    i think they should put mad professors  raanon gillon on the pathway, i am not saying all professors are mad but this guy has obviously lost the plot or has he got a share in the pathway, i am wondering if he could be a relative of alfred hoche the cruel nazis administrater  who persecuted men women and children, these were war crimes  against humanity, in case your cracked up brain cannot remember,  you should be starved and dehydrate and at the same time a syringe driven pump full of morphine into  your veins and give you some dignity, the correct word is murder, at its worst.

  • Robin Leslie

    Professor Gillon’s instrumental measure of human life is, as a lot of us now know, continuous with
    other similar measures of human degradation such as lives that are on benefits, State  pensioners,
    those in prison, protestors, trades unionists, abusers of one sort or another, one could go on.
    The point being that we ‘live in the lie’ of ‘liberal democracy’ and ‘free markets’, of ‘hard working families’, of ‘successful achievers’ of ‘meritocracy’.
    This Lie is continuous with the Corporate Lie of  Communism, we can call it the Corporate Lie of
    Capitalism, it was more or less predicted by Vaclav Havel (Power and the Powerless) that the West would resemble the East after the fall of the Berlin Wall once Capitalism became the only ideology around, it would, in other words, become the religion of the West.
    The New elites are now the New Priesthood of the Neo-Liberal meta-narrative, a religious narrative
    (Nicholas Lash The Beginning and End of Religion) and they dictate through infallible science
    (or rather scientism, science as ideology) their right and entitlement to distribute the sacrament of
    Money and Power, of virility and age. After all did they not proclaim the ideology of liberal democracy (free-market capitalism) to be the the ‘societas perfecta’.
    The Nazi analogy is just too close for comfort now. If you come across medical practitioners who are involved in euthanasia or neglecting the aged and infirm, consider a citizens arrest!

  • Max

    Why does the Church look the other way. Elderly people in hospitals in the U.K. denied food and water until they die. Brave Doctors have spoken out .Nearly every day we read of another horror story. I implore the Church to act you are fast losing the respect of your congregation