When my mother was dying I was getting ready to leave the hospital before midnight to go home to sleep to be rested to be with her early next morning.
The charge nurse asked me not to leave just for a while.
Just after midnight two young female doctors entered my mother’s cubicle with a syringe full of a medication.
After they had left the charge nurse called us in and we were with my mother while she passed away peacefully
Three weeks earlier my mother had had a stroke which destroyed he ability to swallow either liquids of solids.
She was perfectly conscious for most of that three weeks and we had aotnof quality time with her – talking abd listening, etc.
I was aware that she was being given morphine.
Morphine is a great drug in the right setting.
But it has side effects – like weakening the heart.
So I realised that that night she died she had received her final dose of morphine – and probably a high dose.
But I did not object.
My mother would never have had any quality of life and I glad to see her going to God without pain or distress.
Was my mother’s three weeks of morphine not really a slow and compassionate form of euthanasia?
Personally, as a Christian a priest and a bishop I would have the IDEAL of going on the whole journey of my death with the Lord at my side – and join my suffering and death with His suffering and death on the Cross.
Will I have the faith and courage to do that?
I hope so.
But I cannot be certain.
What about other people who do not want to face a suffering and painful death?
Especially those who do share our Christian faith.
Should they be allowed to avail of a more up front euthanasia?
Personally, I believe that should be allowed to them.
I know that there are dangers in this area.
The danger of sick people being made to feel they are a burden on others.
The danger of greedy and unprincipled relatives and others putting pressure on the dying person- so that they can benefit from the estate.
Even the danger of overly zealous doctors putting pressure on the dying.
The danger of a “creeping euthanasia” – stretching from the dying elderly to the disabled, the depressed etc.
And so a state allowed euthanasia would need to gave the strictest possible laws and regulations built around it.
Maybe even involving judicial control?
Jesus does not need each of us to undergo a crucifying death.
He underwent that for all of us.
I think we must discuss this topic with intelligence, logic, compassion and lack of hysteria.
And in the end it is a decision for for the politicians guided by the wishes and votes of the electorate.