Two forty-five-year-old Belgian twins were born deaf. For all their life they worked as cobblers. Recently they became almost blind. They could not bear their condition to be both deaf and blind; therefore, they went to the hospital and asked a doctor to make them die.
The doctor established that their life condition was unbearable, and gave them a lethal injection.
In Belgium where this tragedy happened, there is a law which allows a doctor to practice euthanasia if he judges that the person who asks it cannot bear his life.
It seems that in future the range of the law will include euthanasia for children and insane people.
In the case above described, the petitioners for euthanasia were the persons who wanted to die, while in Italy and USA, two ladies who were fed artificially were put to death legally respectively under the request of their father and husband.
What happened in Belgium, Italy and USA is due to misconception about suffering. According to someone, suffering of the body involves suffering of the soul. I don’t think so.
When I was a volunteer to help disabled people in England, I looked after a young man who was paralyzed completely. He was able to move only his eyes. He was forced to lie on the stretcher. I still remember his name. He was Neil.
At that time, I volunteered in an organization called Vitalise at Skylarks in Nottingham. When I had to feed Neil, I asked the nurse how to do that.
“You have to feed Neil as if he were a little bird,” the nurse answered. “When he wants to say yes, he lifts his eyes, and when he wants to say no, he lowers them.”
So did I. I fed Neil as if he were a little bird. At the beginning, the mouthful was too big and he had some difficulties to swallow, but little by little, I learned how to feed him. Looking at Neil’s eyes, I could notice that he was happy at that moment. He couldn’t smile because even his lips were paralyzed, but his eyes radiated joy.
If some of Neil’s family members wanted to give Neil euthanasia, alleging that he was suffering and he had better die, I would have shielded Neil with my body.
Suffering is basic for Christians.
Emblematic case of suffering is given by Jobs. In the Bible it is said that Jobs lost all his children and goods. He suffered from all kinds of disease and his skin became purulent. Nevertheless, he kept living.
Another emblematic case is given by Saint Bernadette who suffered very much during her life and to whom Our Lady promised happiness after death.
A great saint called Saint Therese of Lisieux is another emblem of suffering. She was proclaimed a doctor of the Church and patron saint of the missions.
Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Pius suffered because of the stigmata.
For Christians suffering is a mystery. If it happens to someone to suffer, he has to accept his condition. Jesus is an example of acceptance of suffering.
According to Buddhists, suffering is caused by negative Karma. The term Karma indicates the result of the actions performed previously in this life or in the past lives. It is necessary to accept suffering and expiate negative Karma in this life; otherwise, the person will experience negative Karmain the next life.
Atheists and materialists who are for euthanasia will find my argument ridiculous. But who knows? They might be right and I respect their point of view. But if they were in doubt, they would refraining from giving euthanasia, following the old Latin saying in dubio pro reo which means “if you are not sure, opt for the accused person.” Hence, if you are not sure, opt for life not for death and give another chance for life to the person who is about to die by euthanasia.
Ettore Grillo author of Travels of the Mind and The Vibrations of Words