Thursday, September 23, 2010

Notes: Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Angelus [magazine] Now Online"
(Link added at the right of this screen too. I discovered that link here:

A letter in The Australian on palliative care and euthanasia advocacy:

I WONDER whether your readers are aware of the appalling state of palliative care and pain management services in this country? If any of them have attempted to find palliative care services for a terminally ill relative or friend who wants to die at their appointed time in their own home with their family and friends around them, they will know what I mean.

It's a struggle to find someone to monitor pain relief and nutrition and help with nursing care to enable this most precious of times to proceed with dignity and love. Good end-of-life care is expensive and time-consuming, and doesn't win votes.

I will not accept that Bob Brown, Marshall Perron, Philip Nitschke or any other euthanasia campaigner has anything other than economics and convenience in mind until they lobby as noisily for good and accessible palliative care services as they do for so-called "mercy-killing".

Sally Parnis, North Adelaide, SA


Mr. Muehlenberg on euthanasia

A timely piece, citing various authors who explain some of the concepts involved in discussion of euthanasia. Some excerpts:

Monique David puts it this way: “Currently, there is much confusion; many accept euthanasia because they do not want their lives to be maintained artificially nor to become victims of excessive treatment. However, these practices can be legitimately refused by the patient or their family through the ethical perspective of the right to die within the limits of natural death. Euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates claim something else: the right to terminate life at the moment and in the way that the individual chooses – or that someone chooses for them.

“Therefore, we should not use these terms to refer to the right to die (because this right is intrinsic), but rather to the right to be killed. This desire, expressed as a personal right, demands the intervention of a third party and a legal system that authorizes it. In other words, euthanasia and assisted suicide imply that doctors become agents of death and that society legally recognizes a criminal act to be lawful; or even more pernicious, a medical act.”

[...] Margaret Somerville points out the differences between euthanasia and pain-relief treatment: “In both cases there is an effort to relieve suffering. The difference is that the primary aim of euthanasia is to do so by inflicting death, whereas the primary aim of pain-relief treatment is simply to relieve pain – not to shorten life or cause death (although either might be a secondary effect).”

Euthanasia, then, is about one thing only: the killing of another person. The intent is to kill someone. It does not matter whether this is done with a gun or a lethal injection – the effect is the same. No civilised society can permit the legalised killing of its own citizens, even if done in the name of compassion.

One point which Mr. Meuhlenberg does not make in there is the problem of consequentialism. If one judges the morality of an act by, and only by, the consequences which it produces, so that an evil act is an act whose evil consequences outweigh its good consequences (and vice versa for a good act), then there is no reason intrinsic to euthanasia for opposing it. Influenced by this kind of thinking, someone like Prof. Mirko Bagaric, who has written that

The doctrine of double effect has been discredited in philosophy schools for decades. In the end, there is no inherent distinction between consequences that are intended and those which are foreseen. The fact civilians will be killed is often just as certain as the killing of combatants. We are responsible for all the consequences which we foresee, but nevertheless elect to bring about. Whether we also "intend" them is largely irrelevant.

will also write, as I mentioned the other day, that "from the perspective of the parties directly involved in euthanasia (the patient and health worker), the practice is not inherently objectionable" (, though as I also mentioned, Prof. Bagaric opposes, for other reasons, moves to legalise euthanasia.

Union and university write "gender neutral" industrial agreement

In The Australian today:

Modern transition

THERE are times in the troubled history of industrial relations when the populace can only stand still and marvel. One such moment is upon us: the Community and Public Sector Union and the University of NSW have reached an enterprise agreement that is completely gender neutral. Take it away, CPSU secretary John Cahill: "This is an important start in making a safe and welcoming environment for . . . staff who may be trans or intersex workers who may not identify as either male or female, or who are transitioning."



Full text of an item from the Vatican Information Service daily e-mail bulletin:


VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At the end of his catechesis during this morning's general audience, and before greeting those present in various languages, the Holy Father invited people to pray for the success of the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, which is currently meeting in plenary session in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

"The theme of the current phase", he said, "is the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Universal Church, with particular reference to the first millennium of Christian history. Obedience to the will of the Lord Jesus and consideration for the great challenges facing Christianity today, oblige us to commit ourselves seriously to the cause of re-establishing full communion among the Churches. I exhort everyone to intense prayer for the work of the commission and for the ongoing development and consolidation of peace and harmony among the baptised, that we may show the world an increasingly authentic evangelical witness".
AG/ VIS 20100922 (180)

Which is a reminder that one can still pray for the Consecration of Russia. See also the discussion on this in the combox to this post at Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog, in which combox we read of the interesting story of St. Sergius of Radonezh, or of Moscow, in the first comment there.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Ember Wednesday, and, feast of St. Linus, Pope, Martyr, and of St. Thecla, Virgin, A.D. 2010

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