Sunday, 20 January 2013

Our impoverished response to human frailty

Katherine alerted our group this week to the story of two Belgian twins, deaf since birth who, when they discovered they were also losing their sight, requested (and received) euthanasia two weeks before Christmas because "they thought they had nothing to live for".  They were only 45 years old.  The Telegraph covered the story here.

I will leave the comment on this story to Professor Chris Gastmans, of the Catholic University of Leuven, who (in the words of the BioEdge site) "criticised the deaths as an impoverished response to disability".   Professor Gastmans said, "Is this the only humane response that we can offer in such situations? I feel uncomfortable here as an ethicist....  In a society as wealthy as ours, we must find another, caring way to deal with human frailty."

It seems to me that our view of what human life is and what makes it worth living has become so diminished that we no longer have any way to offer hope in suffering.  And that's bad news, because not only will suffering inevitably makes its presence felt to some degree or another in all our lives, but the degree of suffering considered bearable will likely diminish in a worldview that has less and less to offer to balance it.

1 comment:

  1. A tragic story, made even worse because the grounds given are psycholgical suffering