Currently, the Office of Life, Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is offering a parish online volunteer training program titled Caring for the Whole Person. This course is intended to educate the laity about Catholic moral teachings concerning end-of-life issues. It focuses on how to care for parishioners with serious illness, as well as topics like palliative medical care, advance care planning, and hospice care.
One of the presenters is Dr. Ira Byock, a self-described secular humanist and supporter of gay rights, Planned Parenthood, and abortion.
If that isn’t disturbing enough, Dr. Byock promotes “stealth euthanasia” by means of terminal sedation and “voluntary stopping eating and drinking” (VSED) in hospice. Furthermore, he has made erroneous remarks regarding the condition and death of my sister, Terri Schiavo. Clearly, Dr. Byock is no friend to the pro-life, pro-family, Catholic community.
In a 2005 edition of Assisted Living Consult, Dr. Byock made the following comments just after Terri’s death: “It troubles me that they now consider the thoughtful discontinuation of artificial nutrition and hydration—something we have done openly and within ethical guidelines for years in American hospitals and in hospice programs—as ‘killing.’” Dr. Byock continues, “It is not euthanasia to selectively choose medical treatments that enable someone with a progressive illness to orchestrate a gentle end to this life.”
The 1981 Pontifical Council Cor Unum document, after affirming that “a doctor must follow the wishes of a sick person who refuses [extraordinary] measures,” states:
There remains the strict obligation to apply under all circumstances those therapeutic measures which are called ‘minimal’: that is, those which are normally and customarily used for the maintenance of life (alimentation, blood transfusions, injections, etc.). To interrupt these minimal measures would, in practice, be equivalent to wishing to put an end to the patient’s life.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2277) is clear:
“Whatever its means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to 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 the respect due to the living God, his Creator.” [Emphasis added.]
For those who do not remember, in 1990, at the age of 26, my sister, Terri experienced a still-unexplained brain injury while home alone with her husband, Michael Schiavo, who subsequently became her legal guardian. Because Terri had difficulty swallowing, her life was sustained by food and water via a feeding tube. After a lengthy legal battle, Terri’s feeding tube was removed. It was the only life-sustaining care she needed. My sister’s life was deliberately ended by dehydration and starvation that took nearly two agonizing weeks.
Full story at LifeNews.