"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
As the pope is put on a feeding tube, it's worth noting the exemplars of hundreds of years of Catholic teaching in this area are the elderly Eskimo on the ice floe and the Spartan baby left on a hillside to die. So suggest theologians:
In the pope's speech, delivered March 20 of last year to a group of doctors, ethicists and scientists from 40 countries, he argued that a sick person, even in a vegetative state, "still has the right to basic health care (nutrition, hydration, cleanliness, warmth, etc.) and to the prevention of complications related to his confinement to bed."
The speech stunned many Catholic theologians, who said it was a distinct break from 400 years of Catholic moral tradition that held that a medical procedure was obligatory only if it offered hope of checking or curing a disease.
"We've had a longstanding tradition that you can't kill, but you can remove that which prolongs your dying," said the Rev. James Keenan, a professor of theological ethics…"The big question is, what will the Vatican take off the list of extraordinary means next?"
Stunning, indeed: Clean sheets, warmth, food and water, checking for bed sores – what next on the slippery slope?
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A Florida bioethicist comes out and says Terri Schiavo is not a person.
One expert told the New York Times that “no one is denying this woman food and water.” Really? Then why is she dying? Is it merely a coincidence that she might experience kidney failure from dehydration at any time?
This expert’s argument is that, since she is in a persistent vegetative state, she has “no knowledge of food.” By this logic it would be morally acceptable to suffocate her with a pillow since she has “no knowledge of air.” She could be dropped out of a 15-story window because she has “no knowledge of gravity.” She could be shot because she has “no knowledge of ballistics.”