Here in Canada we’ve gone from offering ‘medical assistance in dying’ to those on the point of death – in articulo mortis, as we used to say of the sacrament of extreme unction – to now offering the option of murder-suicide to those who are mentally ill, to minors or to those just tired of life. And, what is more, doctors are now advised to take the lead in suggesting this as an option, even if patients do not request it or even mention it, a violation of medical ethics, even from a secular and atheistic standpoint. The politicians are already calculating how much money can be saved by just killing of patients, rather than healing them, or helping them die a noble and natural death. The way this is going, medicine as an art of healing may be a thing of the past, as any illness, even interior suffering, depression or despair, is now seen as good enough grounds just to give up the ghost.
What happened to primum non nocere – first, do no harm? I was only mildly surprised in reading the aforelinked article that physicians are no longer required to take the Hippocritic – sorry, Hippcratic – oath. I dimly recall that, but what good would it do to those who no longer believe in the sanctity and dignity of human life?
On a note of hope, this is what medicine should be doing. But the way things are going here, we’re going to be putting such little tykes in pine boxes. To be fair, most of our medical personnel are still in the noble business of actually healing their patients. But the metastasis of the culture of death spreads even amongst those who demur from the death spiral, with each referral, each compromise, every blind eye and see-no-evil turn of the head, and with every hail-fellow-well-met bestowed upon medical murderers. What else is one to call them? This spiritual infection is far worse than any cancer or virus, for it deadens the conscience, corrupts the soul and, without repentance, leads to eternal death. We should recall that that horrors of the Nazi regime began with ‘compassionate’ euthanasia. And, as in the aftermath of that era, we may soon need a new Nuremberg.
I hope not. But Pope Saint John Paul II warned, back in 1995, that by these crimes against life the very nature of the medical profession is distorted and contradicted, and the dignity of those who practise it is degraded. And what is even worse, they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator. (E.V., 3) If we do not stop, the Pontiff goes on to warn, we are in danger of reverting to a state of barbarism which one had hoped had been left behind forever. (ibid., 15) (See the accompanying post on Belloc’s New Paganism)
Woe are those physicians who so distort and degrade their profession, and misuse the skills God gave them. We must pray that more than a few of our good medical practitioners resist this insidious evil. God’s grace and strength be with you!
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear him! (Lk 12: 4-5)