Pope Francis needs to butt out in commenting on personal end of life decisions like Brittany Maynard's
First, let me give props to Pope Francis - good news before bad: His courageous standing up to the reactionaries at the Vatican who seem to believe they can comment on anything the Pope says or does. (Note: They are under him in the Vatican hierarchy, I can comment since I am not a Catholic but an outside observer, hence not shackled by Church authority.)
Props are especially due for removing the reactionary Cardinal Raymond Burke, former St. Louis archbishop, from his post as head of the Vatican high court, after the little miscreant said that: "the Church is like a ship without a rudder under Francis." Burke is lucky, because under the Borgia Pope he'd have been boiled in oil by now. But this sort of constant challenge to papal authority has been ongoing for years now - questioning and commenting on almost everything Francis puts forward, including his statement a year earlier that "even an atheist can get to heaven" (homily delivered at the Chapel of the Domus Santa Marta).
According to John Thavis, former Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service, quoted in a Denver Post piece ('Bishops Clashing With Francis', Nov. 9, p. 9A):
"Many of the U.S. Bishops have been disoriented by what this new pope is saying and I don't really see them embracing the pope's agenda."
Really? Aren't these miter -headed twits obligated to follow him unquestioningly in matters of faith and morals? Infallibility and all that? Besides, what would their predecessors have done if faced with a REALLY audacious Pope - say like John Paul I (Albino Luciani) repealing the idiotic opposition to artificial birth control? (See David Yallop's book, 'In God's Name' detailing how the Vatican's fossil reactionaries had it in for him, and assassinated the poor guy in 1978)
Of course, make no mistake that just as the reactionary press and media here in the States have sought to cover up the conspiracy in the murder of JFK, so also the reactionaries in the Catholic Church - e.g. using the 'National Catholic Reporter' have declared "myths" about Luciani's 33-day reign - and sought to do the same. Vermin never ever want the truth to out because it threatens their hegemony - whether in a nation or a church. Meanwhile, dumb conspiracy phobics play right into their hands as useful idiots.
But let me now deliver a 'brickbat' or two to Francis - who is no Pope John Paul I, nor will likely ever be. This is in regard to his weighing in last Saturday on the matter of euthanasia and especially as it pertains to personal use by a terminally ill person. These comments follow earlier ones by Igniacio Carrasco de Paula, "President of the Pontifical Academy for Life", whatever the hell that means. Carrasco, high on his high horse, actually said:
"Assisted suicide is an absurdity. Dignity is something different to putting an end to your own life. Society does not want to shoulder the cost of disease and this risks becoming the solution,"
To which I responded in an earlier post:
"To the moral provisionalist what is absurd is allowing a sentient being to descend into a totally vegetative state lacking any life quality - with excruciating pain to go with it. Hence, Brittany's choice to end her life is a greater good over merely existing in a debased vegetative condition based on the specious presumption of "sanctity of life" demanded indiscriminately for any and all conditions.
Hence, the greater good here is ending the suffering and degradation of life quality rather than allowing it to progress to the stage one can make no authentic choice. "
And I stand by that, including that it is a choice for dignity as opposed to indignity in descending to an unconscious vegetable. Further, Brittany's decision was a PERSONAL one, not to do with "cost to society" or having it take on her expenses. Even given the latter, Brittany didn't wish to wallow in her poop and urine endlessly while barely conscious and in agonizing pain until drawing her last breath - or being put on some fucking machine. She demanded an END to her suffering, and took it - something this Vatican asshole would certainly do if in the same predicament.
As Brittany herself said in her final interview (with Jan Crawford of CBS), when Crawford asked her to respond to some critics' assertions that she is ending her own life:
"It is cancer that's ending my life. I am choosing to end it a little sooner and in a lot less pain and suffering."
Reality and reason for once!
But evidently Francis doesn't. In his Saturday statement he opined:
"Euthanasia is a sin against God, the Creator".
Which is astonishing given the words issue from the mouth of a former scientist (chemist) who ought to know and grasp what an MRI scan for a terminal brain cancer patient means, and the suffering it portends. So either he doesn't know, or is of the mindless take that humans have no right to take action and perhaps they must offer propitiation for their "sins" or some such tommyrot..
If the latter, then his words merit dismissal, because the sign of an advanced being is to at least grant what we would to a suffering animal and put it out of its misery (though humans are allocated the choice as to how much they are willing to bear). In the words of Brittany's mom (Deborah Ziegler), as seen this morning on CBS Early Show - from a letter she posted online:
"Such strong public criticism from people we do not know is more than a slap in the face, it's like kicking us as we struggle to draw a breath. The right to die for the terminally ill is a human rights issue. Plain and simple. The imposition of belief on a human rights issue is wrong."
Which is spot on correct and reinforces what she said in an interview last month:
"As an adult you are in charge with how much pain or suffering and plodding forward you want to do."
But the Vatican's reactionary clowns and the Pope would take that away because, well, they don't wish the choice to be a human right - just as centuries earlier they didn't acknowledge that for many humans being free of slavery was not a fundamental right. Author Julian Pleasants has observed ('Contraception and Holiness'., p. 88) the
"Aristotelian modes of thought which tend to fix behaviors within very limited and fixed definitions and categories."
Thus, the Church once believed it "natural" that some men be enslaved because they were “unable to manage their own affairs” (ibid.).
So why be surprised when the same Church now seeks to deny humans facing the "slavery" of agonizing suffering from disease (and literally being 'unable to manage their own affairs'), the free choice not to endure it? Clearly neither pope or Vatican has moved from these limiting Aristotelian modes of thought to define a misbegotten ethics.
The rest of us can't afford to be so blasé given it impacts critical life choices.
Hence, a virtual brickbat at the Pope!