Monday, September 21, 2009

My Pax Sinica article against Euthanasia (Bill C-384)

誡命就是誡命

在我們日常的語言中,利用「委婉詞」是十分普遍。字典網址(Dictionary.com)把「委婉詞」形容為「以溫和或含糊的言詞表達,代替了含有侵犯性的言語用詞」,無怪贊成謀殺或自殺的人,以「安樂死」去扭曲或美化觸犯第五誡的犯罪行徑。

本國國會復會後,正要討論C384號私人法案,意圖將「安樂死」合法化。這對加拿大未來影響甚為深遠。作為天主教教徒,我們有責任奮起反對這法案的通過,應視為「生命之戰」!

「安樂死」的荼毒,在近世紀的西方社會漸趨熾熱,歸咎有三個原因。第一,人類科學和醫學的發達和進步,讓人自以為可主宰宇宙的一切,包括操生死之權。第二,人類的自大,醉身於物質豐盈的生活,對俗世生命以外的事情,漠不關心。第三,在一些地方,某些壟斷的傳媒,極力吹捧「安樂死」。現在讓我們從信仰及社會的角度,闡述反對安樂死合法化的原因。

從信仰的角度來說,反對安樂死是建基於天主的絕對權威和人性的尊嚴。只有創造萬物的天主,擁有主宰所有生命的權力,人類生命均隸屬祂的權限之內,我們極其量只是自己的生命的管理人而不是主人,故不能超越、甚至凌駕天主的權能。所以,執行所謂「安樂死」就等同自殺或謀殺。教宗若望保祿二世在他的通諭中,毫不含糊地宣諭:「安樂死」是不能接受的一種蓄意違反倫常的殺人行為,嚴重地違反了天主的法律。

每一個人生命的價值與尊嚴,都是固有及不容侵犯的,不能因生活環境而變得減值,或甚至予以結束。無論怎樣,人的生命本身是神聖的,是天主親自賜予的,但祂並沒有賦予我們操生殺之權。

在社會的角度來評論,反對安樂死大概可分三個大理由:把安樂死合法化會推廣死亡文化、危害了保健制度、打開了妄殺之門。

推廣死亡文化:安樂死合法化很容易會變成「死亡的義務」。在我們當中,老弱殘疾會被認為應該接受死亡的一群,以免成為精壯者多餘的負擔;也誤導無知的一輩,以為自殺亦有合理合法的一面。在加拿大,年青人自殺並非鮮聞,莫叫此變本加厲,而某些安樂死合法化的地方,年青人自殺率正在上昇。

危害了保健制度:保健制度是為保障生命,非為摧毁生命。醫護人員的職責是治療生命,而非結束生命。合法的安樂死使醫護人員變得可怕,不再是老弱殘疾可信賴的醫者,某程度上,也讓他們不能安心留在醫院或護理院。醫生應消除的是痛楚,而不是病人。合法了的安樂死會使挽救生命和減少病痛的研究變得不被重視。多年來加拿大在「臨終護理」發展驕人,相反,通過了安樂死合法化的荷蘭,卻沒有「臨終護理」。

打開了妄殺之門:在荷蘭,安樂死合法化後,每年數以百計的病人,未經同意,被醫生結束了生命。有些安樂死實為刑事謀殺。亦有醫生在失去耐性下或在一怒之下替病人執行了所謂安樂死。缺乏道德的人,會因私慾私利,利用安樂死合法化去殺害異己或謀財害命。所以,為了保障所有人的生命,任何人都不能有結束他人生命的權力。安樂死是嚴重抵觸了社會公義。

讓我們一起阻止通過C384號法案,並去信各自地區的國會議員表達我們强烈反對的聲音。可参考有關網址www.euthanasiaprevention.on.ca


A commandment is a commandment

Euphemisms are ubiquitous in our language. According to Dictionary.com, they are “the substitution of a mild or vague expression for one thought to be offensive.” It’s no wonder, then, that advocates of murder and suicide bandy the word euthanasia around in an attempt to soften the “offensive” fact of going against the Fifth Commandment.

Now that Parliament is back in session this battle for life, with its immense consequences, is coming to Canada.

Over the next few months members of Parliament will debate bill C-384, the so-called “right to die” bill. It’s a private member’s bill seeking to legalize euthanasia. It is the duty of us Catholics to oppose this bill.

Euthanasia is being considered in western society for three reasons. First, the progress of science has given human beings a sense of mastery over the universe, and they erroneously believe this includes a right of mastery over life and death.

Second, human beings, who immerse themselves in the satisfaction of this world, have become indifferent to whatever lies beyond earthly experience. Third, in some places, advocates of euthanasia have monopolized the media.

There are reasons of faith and social reasons against the legalization of euthanasia.

Reasons of faith

The two main reasons of faith against euthanasia are: first, the right of God, and second, human dignity. God alone, as our Creator, has dominion over all life. He alone has the ownership of human life, and man is only steward of his own life.

Those who advocate euthanasia assume ownership of human life, thus infringing on the sovereign right of God. Hence euthanasia is either murder or suicide. In Evangelium Vitae Pope John Paul II unequivocally declared, “euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person.”

The life of each human person has inherent and inviolable worth and dignity, which cannot be reduced or taken away by life’s circumstances. Human life is sacred, in and of itself, apart from its usefulness. God has given each of us the right to live, but He has given us neither the right to die nor the right to kill.

Social reasons

There are three categories of social reasons against euthanasia: it promotes the culture of death, it endangers the health-care system, and it opens the doors to a list of deadly abuses.

The legalization of euthanasia can easily become “the duty to die” for the most vulnerable: the sick, depressed, elderly, and disabled in our society. They will want to spare others an emotional and financial burden.

Legalization will send the message to young people that it is all right to take one’s own life, and suicide is already the second leading cause of death for adolescents in Canada. In places where euthanasia has been legalized, the rate of teen suicide has also increased.

Euthanasia endangers the health-care system. The purpose of health care is to save lives, not destroy them. The duties of doctors are to cure and to heal, not to kill. Legalized euthanasia will make the doctor a person to be feared rather than trusted.

If euthanasia is legalized, we can expect the sick, the disabled, and the elderly to have good reason to fear going to hospitals and care-giving institutions. Doctors should kill the pain, not the patient.

Legalized euthanasia will deter the search for better methods of pain control and treatment of disease. Palliative care has been making advances here, but not in the Netherlands, where euthanasia is practised instead.

Euthanasia also opens the doors to a list of deadly abuses. Doctors in the Netherlands annually kill hundreds of patients who have not requested death. In scores of documented cases euthanasia has turned out to be the result of criminal scheming. In other reported cases, doctors carried out euthanasia because of impatience or because of outbursts of anger.

We need to work together to stop bill C-384. For an analysis of the bill and some sample letters to help you in writing to your MP, please visit www.euthanasiaprevention.on.ca.

Here is my other Pax Sinica articles