Assisted death and martyrdom
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

Against the backdrop of ancient, mediaeval and modern Catholic teaching prohibiting killing (the rule against killing), the question of assisted suicide and euthanasia is examined. In the past the Church has modified its initial repugnance for killing by developing specific guidelines for permitting killing under strict conditions. This took place with respect to capital punishment and a just war, for example. One wonders why in the least objectionable instance, when a person is already dying, suffering, and repeatedly requesting assistance in dying, there is still such widespread condemnation of assisted suicide and euthanasia. In a Gedankexperiment, I suggest that certain stories of martyrdom in the history of the Christian Church shed some light on the role of taking one's life, or putting one's life in danger out of love. I further suggest that requesting assisted suicide and/or euthanasia from the motive of love of one's family or care givers might possibly qualify as one instance of justifiable euthanasia, although I acknowledge that the Church will not be making changes in its stance any time soon.

Author(s): 
Thomasma, David C.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
Christian Bioethics
Journal Abbreviation: 
Christ Bioeth
Publication Date: 
1998-08
Publication Year: 
1998
Pages: 
122-142
Volume: 
4
Issue: 
2
ISSN: 
1380-3603
DOI: 
10.1076/chbi.4.2.122.6905
Library Catalog: 
PubMed
Extra: 
PMID: 11657102

Turabian/Chicago Citation

David C. Thomasma. 1998-08. "Assisted death and martyrdom." Christian Bioethics 4: 2: 122-142. 10.1076/chbi.4.2.122.6905.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = 10.1076/chbi.4.2.122.6905 | issn = 1380-3603 | volume = 4 | pages = 122-142 | last = Thomasma | first = David C. | coauthors = | title = Assisted death and martyrdom | journal = Christian Bioethics | date = 1998-08 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>