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A Useless Argument Against Euthanasia

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Why do Vatican spokesmen continue to make pronouncements on moral issues based on appeals to democracy and the "dignity of the human person" instead of the law of God, which He enforces by eternal punishments?

On November 22, 2001 CWNews.com reported yet another such pronouncement by Father Gino Concetti, a theologian who frequently contributes to L'Osservatore Romano. According to CWN, Concetti's basic argument is that "Laws that allow euthanasia undermine the very basis of democracy, since they fail to recognize the intrinsic dignity of human life."

Pretty compelling stuff, eh? Just who exactly is going to be persuaded by these bland appeals to democracy and human dignity? Can anyone imagine a proponent of euthanasia exclaiming "Wow, I never realized that euthanasia could undermine democracy and human dignity! We have to repeal our euthanasia laws immediately!" On the other hand, given the grace of God, a euthanasia proponent, or a person tempted to suicide, just might change his mind if reminded by the Catholic Church that his life on this earth is short and that an eternity in hell will be very long.

Besides, what does "human dignity" mean in the absence of a God who created man and judges him? It is nothing but an empty phrase. Can man confer dignity upon himself? If so, then man can ignore his self-conferred dignity whenever he wishes, as well as the self-conferred dignity of other men. But if man's dignity is a gift from God, then it must be observed by all men and all nations.

Yet on and on Concetti drones in language which seems determined to navigate around any reference to divine law: "The dignity of the human person, defended in international declarations and in the constitutions of democratic states, is today contradicted by new cultural trends that follow individualistic and hedonistic criteria." So what? That's a statement of the obvious. And without the absolute standard of God's law, one man's hedonism is just another man's constitutional right. It is simply a matter of changing the "international declaration" or the constitution to create new "rights," including the right to euthanasia. Indeed, euthanasia proponents advance precisely the argument that euthanasia serves human dignity by allowing for a "dignified" death. On what ground does Father Concetti stand to say otherwise? Democracy? Constitutions? International declarations? Human dignity in the abstract? Thank you for your opinion, Father Concetti.

Father Concetti went on to plead that "democratic regimes are casting their own basic laws in question when they 'affirm the dignity and thus the inviolability of the person in general terms, but not absolute terms.'" Wow! Do you mean to say that democratic regimes are actually being inconsistent? Well, that ought to bring "democratic" lawmakers to their knees in repentance for having legalized euthanasia.

When did the Church militant, which spoke of divine law and divine retribution, become the Church milquetoast, which speaks of democracy and human rights? It seems to have happened at about the same time we entered into the "springtime of Vatican II." If this is springtime, we must pray for the advent of winter.