Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ms Varga on euthanasia

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/elderly-cannot-rest-in-peace-without-humane-new-euthanasia-laws-20091009-gqoj.html?skin=text-only

The author Ms Susan Varga said something striking in an address to The Sydney Institute, an edited extract from which (the address, that is) was published in The Sydney Morning Herald last Saturday. So as not to be accused of taking out of context the part in which I’m interested, I’ll provide other parts as background: Ms Varga says early in the piece that her

mother died almost seven years ago. She threw herself under a train. Grief stricken and depressed after the sudden loss of her husband, she lost all will to live. She began to seek death with the same determination as she had once sought life. After several unsuccessful attempts at more peaceful means, she connived to go in secret to the train station. Her last attempt got her what she most desperately desired - death.
Now Ms Varga does not say whether her late mother was “depressed” in the medical sense of the word. But apparently, for Ms Varga, neither would it necessarily matter:

My mother was a kind of heroine. In the war years in Hungary she fought like a tiger to protect her small daughters, then battled to survive on her own after her husband's death in a labour camp. Postwar she came to Australia with a new husband whose first wife and two little sons had perished in the Holocaust and together they forged a new life.

She was the last person anyone would have thought would commit suicide. Yet in the end she was defeated by the accumulated traumas of her life. She had never had time to grieve, never indulged in introspection, never came to terms with all her losses.

Was she within her rights to say, ''enough, I want to go''? There is such a thing as genuine overwhelming grief or sadness that need not be medicalised as depression. Surely psychic pain can be as legitimate a reason to want to die as physical pain. We can also have good reasons for not wanting to be a part of life.
[my emphasis]

So here we have a reminder that, far from the pro-life movement’s fear of legalised euthanasia endorsing suicides motivated by ‘existential angst’ or an overwhelming feeling that one’s life is not worth living being a red herring, this fear is in fact well-founded, being espoused not just by fanatics like the notorious Dr. Nietschke, but by mainstream advocates like Ms Varga. After all, it’s arbitrary to uphold a right to suicide for those in severe physical pain but to deny it to those in severe emotional distress.
Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Callistus I, Pope, Martyr, A.D. 2009

12 comments:

Louise said...

The New Morality - that we might have death and have it more abundantly.

Cardinal Pole said...

Too right, Louise. Ahhh, but wait, we mustn't use the d-word, must we--they're not pro-death, just pro-choice; hence we see Ms Varga, in a letter in today's Herald, saying that

"And the real issue is not the difficulties posed for the physician, but choice for the old person who is suffering."
[http://www.smh.com.au/national/letters/nuclear-power-not-clean-not-cheap-not-safe-20091014-gxc9.html?skin=text-only]

Is this the first use of the 'choice' euphemism for elements of the pro-death agenda other than abortion? I wonder how long it'll be before abortion's monopoly on 'pro-choice' is broken and the term is widely used with regard to euthanasia as well?

(Another letter-writer in today's Herald had the following things to say:

"No one would want to put more pressure on health professionals but there is no need for them to be involved.

"The guardianship law already allows us to appoint an enduring guardian to make medical decisions for us in the event we become incapable.

"This person could have the additional function of deciding whether and when to end our life.

"As well, why not a law that anyone over the age of 80 has the right to suicide if they want to. The only documentation needed then would be their birth certificate."

Lynette Bennett Darling Point
[bold type in the original]

Sadly, I'm not sure whether that letter was offering serious suggestions or whether it was a harsh parody of the pro-euthanasia lobby; it's hard to tell these days.)

matthias said...

I fear that people with severe mental illness will be offered the way out as Ms Varga's mother did ,and i reckon that very soon the lapsed Lutheran Dr Phil Nitsche -is that right- will change his tune to support that. As Louise said death and more abundantly. We are becomming a society of "upper english class
(upper pratt?) well meaning ,naive,
politically correct,gutless moral relativists,godless and with no hope outside of Christ.

Louise said...

I am sick of "choice" as a principle.

Louise said...

"Every Granny a wanted Granny"

"My Granny, My Choice"

"Get Your Rosary Off My Nitschke"

Louise said...

that we might have death and have it more abundantly.

BTW, that came from GK Chesterton (of course) - probably in Orthodoxy

Cardinal Pole said...

"I am sick of "choice" as a principle."

Hear, hear, Louise. I think that Mr. Muehlenberg has some thoughts on that notion in his latest blog post.

matthias said...

Well Cardinal the SA parliament are hoping to vote on 'voluntary euthanasia' this week. of course a member of the Toxic greens is pushing it-the party of death as louise so aptly says.

Cardinal Pole said...

"Well Cardinal the SA parliament are hoping to vote on 'voluntary euthanasia' this week. ..."

That's sad to hear; I hope that it fails. I'd expect that it will indeed fail, but, if the following news item is anything to go by, I'm not sure how long we'll be able to hold the line against the death merchants:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26262019-26103,00.html

"SUPPORT for voluntary euthanasia is on the increase in Australia, with a new survey showing 85 per cent of the country is in favour of it.

"The result from the poll, conducted by Newspoll on behalf of Dying with Dignity NSW, saw a five point increase in support from the results of the last survey, conducted in 2007.

"The 2009 study, involving 1201 adult respondents, found 10 per cent of Australians opposed voluntary euthanasia while five per cent were unsure.

"Support was at its greatest in Western Australia where 88 per cent of respondents were in favour of voluntary euthanasia, while 87 per cent of South Australians were in favour of it, with six per cent opposed.

"New South Wales residents were 87 per cent in favour, an increase of 12 points on the last survey, while Victoria had 84 per cent support and Queensland 82 per cent.

"[...] The poll also found no real difference in support between men and women when it came to voluntary euthanasia. Eighty-six per cent of women were in favour of it, compared with 84 per cent of men."

I wonder what, precisely, was the wording of the question which was put to the survey respondents. But whatever the wording, eighty-five per cent is an appalling figure.

Robert said...

The original speech was given, according to Cardinal Pole's post, at the Sydney Institute.

Given that the Sydney Institute is notoriously run by ex-Catholics Gerard and Anne Henderson, and given that the current religious beliefs of this gruesome couple are an open fraud (Mrs Henderson was recently wittering on ABC television about being some sort of "cultural Catholic", whatever that might mean), some of us would like to know whether they are still - like plenty of other ex-Catholics and pseudo-Catholics in Australia and the States - receiving Communion.

If Cardinal Pell and the NSW hierarchy in general wish to be respected, then barring the Hendersons from any attempt they might make at receiving Our Precious Lord in the Eucharist would be an extremely good start.

Louise said...

SUPPORT for voluntary euthanasia is on the increase in Australia, with a new survey showing 85 per cent of the country is in favour of it.

Lies, lies, damned lies and statistics. I completely dispute that figure. The party of death and co have never been above making stuff up if it suits their purposes. I want hard evidence before I'll accept this as a fact. I want to know, too, if "euthanasia" in the minds of most people just means legitimate pain relief or the refusal of a patient to undergo extraordinary treatment.

We must not let the Pro-death merchants do what they alwsys do in declaring their victory as inevitable.

Louise said...

If Cardinal Pell and the NSW hierarchy in general wish to be respected, then barring the Hendersons from any attempt they might make at receiving Our Precious Lord in the Eucharist would be an extremely good start.

Interesting, Robert.

I have to say, it's about time our bishops in general swatted up on canon law re: excommunications. It's an enormous scandal to the laity that so many public, dissenting Catholics are free to receive communion.

I know a woman who was once excommunicated by +Guilford Young in the sixties, for sending her kids to a state school.

(She died over a year ago, having been restored to full communion years ago, God rest her soul).