Saturday, February 14, 2009

ERDs Desperately Require Update, re: Nutrition & Hydration

....In spite of Section 120 of the Vatican's 1995 Charter for Health Care Workers < ...[Terri Schiavo's] situation revealed tremendous theological confusion, in regard to food and water! In addition to the late Holy Father's address of 3/20/04 <>, the Vatican's 2007 "Responses to Certain Questions of the USCCB Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration" <> definitively removed any possible cause for confusion:
  • "The administration of food and water even by artificial means is, in principle, an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life. It is therefore obligatory to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient. In this way suffering and death by starvation and dehydration are prevented....
  • "A patient in a 'permanent vegetative state' is a person with fundamental human dignity and must, therefore, receive ordinary and proportionate care which includes, in principle, the administration of water and food even by artificial means."

This past Thursday, I spoke with the USCCB's...Pro Life Activities and ...Doctrine. I expressed dismay that "Ethical & Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, 4th Ed" (ERDs) <> has not been updated & remains posted on the USCCB web site with this section full intact....

  • "Some state Catholic conferences, individual bishops, & the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities (formerly an NCCB committee) have addressed the moral issues concerning medically assisted hydration & nutrition....These statements agree that hydration & nutrition are not morally obligatory either when they bring no comfort to a person who is imminently dying or when they cannot be assimilated by a person's body. The USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities' report, in addition, points out the necessary distinctions between questions already resolved by the magisterium & those requiring further reflection, as, for example, the morality of withdrawing medically assisted hydration & nutrition from a person who is in the condition that is recognized by physicians as the 'persistent vegetative state' (PVS)" (from Part 5, "Issues in Care for the Dying", Introduction).

Please join me in asking the USCCB to update the ERDs or, at minimum, to remove this outdated material from the internet.

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About Me

I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

And yup, that's me!

And yup, that's me!
(from page 1 of the NY Sun, 3/22/04)

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12/12/08 Interview with Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D. of the National Catholic Bioethics Center

March for Life 2010