2 Chapter OverviewThe fifth commandment mandates us to respect the life of the unborn.Respect for life is a principle that guides us in caring for those who are sick or who are near death.The fifth commandment forbids intentional euthanasia.Church teaching addresses the issues of life support and physician-assisted suicide.
3 V VocabularyEuthanasia (p. 191): “An action or an omission which, of itself or by intention, causes the death of handicapped, sick, or dying persons—sometimes with an attempt to justify the act as a means of eliminating suffering.” (Catechism, Glossary)Ordinary means of life support (p. 194): Medical procedures that offer sufficient or reasonable benefits without excessive or undue burdens to the patient or his or her family.
4 V VocabularyExtraordinary means of life support (p. 194): Medical procedures that offer little hope of benefit and which cause undue or excessive burdens to the patient or his or her family.Physician-assisted suicide (p. 196): A person who is incurably ill killing himself or herself with the help of a physician.
5 Review1. According to the text, what is the central question in the abortion debate? What are the two dominant positions people have on this question?2. List the four key points made about the beginning of life in the Declaration on Procured Abortion.3. What stand does this document take regarding the many difficulties that pregnancy can cause for some people?
6 Review4. What experience of Jesus’ gives us hope in facing death?5. Which two views about death are balanced in Catholic teaching?6. What is the difference between active and passive euthanasia?
7 Review7. What is the difference between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia?8. Which two questions determine whether a life-support measure is an ordinary or an extraordinary means?9. What is the Catholic teaching regarding extraordinary means to preserve life?
8 10.6 Review 10. Define physician-assisted suicide. 11. Why does Pope John Paul II call physician-assisted suicide “false mercy”?