Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


End-of-Life Issues

Tonight in the Christian Ethics discussion at King of Peace, we'll be looking at end-of-life issues. This is the session that really led to the whole class as Terry Schiavo's case was so much in the news. But now we approach the subject with a good bit more information on ethics in general. Yet, in real life, it is never possible to make end-of-life decisions in a detached way, and thanks be to God that is true. For what care someone receives at any stage in life is something to consider carefully and prayerfully. The end of life is a time for doing what we should do each day—really trust that our lives are in God's hands.

Two places with a bit more information have recently been shared, but are worth a look if you haven't seen them. There's a column from the Tribune & Georgian on Making End-of-Life Decisions and there's David Simmon's post on Euthanasia. There is also a statement made on end-of-life issues by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, which says in part:
Although human life is sacred, death is part of the earthly cycle of life. There is a "time to be born and a time to die" (Eccl. 3:2). The resurrection of Jesus Christ transforms death into a transition to eternal life: "For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead" (I Cor. 15:21). Despite this hope, it is morally wrong and unacceptable to intentionally take a human life in order to relieve the suffering caused by incurable illness.
The statement also says:
However, there is no moral obligation to prolong the act of dying by extraordinary means and at all costs if such dying person is ill and has no reasonable expectation of recovery.
Tonight we will consider this distinction while looking at some case studies.


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