Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has released an editorial about the death of Eluana Englaro.
Eluana died yesterday after being deprived of the feeding tube the comatose woman required in order to receive food and water.
Her death has sparked an outcry in Italy and around the world against this so-called act of “euthanasia” of a patient who is in a long-term coma.
Here is the text of the L’Osservatore Romano editorial about Eluana’s death, as translated by Register correspondent Edward Pentin:
“As happened in the United States with the terrible agony and end of Terri Schiavo, so the death of Eluana Englaro has similarly shocked and upset Italy. It has divided and torn the country apart. Now, in the face of death, it’s necessary to bow our heads and remain silent after weeks of anguished controversy and confrontation. Catholics, Christians, believers are joined together without distinction in prayer, in meditation and recollection.
“And we all have a duty to return to thinking about death, this dimension that is part of human life and that will never be possible to erase. The obligation to reflect concerns everyone. Thus, all must question a process that, in a wealthy society, has removed death and hidden it, even in language. The cancellation of death is inevitably accompanied by the devaluation of life, and that has many frightening faces: from the dissipation of death to the use of embryos, from abortion to euthanasia.
“The progress of science, especially in medicine, which was unthinkable only a few decades ago, is now to be saluted with admiration, but it poses new and very difficult questions at the moral and social level, to the point that bioethical issues have become political. For this reason, reflection and prudence are very necessary. For this reason, the responsibility of politicians, legislators and judges is ever greater.
“Now, after weeks of anguish and controversy, it is time to reflect and to again gather believers and unbelievers — as has happened throughout the history of Italy — but this time to reflect on the meaning of death and life. To preserve the dignity of every human being in whatever condition he finds himself in.”