PARIS (Reuters) – Pope John Paul, now being fed through a nasal tube because of his throat problems, effectively wrote his own “living will” last year in a speech declaring some life-extending treatments a moral duty for Roman Catholics.
The ailing Pontiff sharply narrowed Catholic guidelines for treating patients nearing death in March 2004 when he described tube-feeding as a normal treatment rather than an extraordinary measure that can be stopped if all hope of recovery fades.
This indicates he would want to be kept alive by artificial means even if he fell into a coma or a persistent vegetative state . . .
It seems to me that the Catholic Church is on it’s way to quite a mess. If you read the entire article, you’ll find that some think that the church changing it’s beliefs about end of life measures during the illness of the Pope is, shall we say, bad timing. I’m not Catholic, so I don’t know how the system works. It seems that the idea of the person whom God speaks through being on a vent for a few years would be concerning. I’m not near ready to hold this debate on a theological level, but I’m guessing that the Pope being on a feeding tube and a vent would cause enough debate to dwarf everything that went on surrounding the Terri Schiavo case.
I hope and pray that all goes well both for the Pope and for his church.