EUTHANASIA – A VIEWPOINT FROM MALAYSIA

Following is an extract of an article quoting Fr Clarence Dass’s views on EUTHANASIA that appeared in THE SUN (20th June 2005)

Catholic priest and moral theologian, Rev Clarence Devadass: “Life is sacred. Life originates from God and only God determines when life comes to an end. We do not decide when a person should die.

“The normal reaction to suffering and pain is to find ways to end it so the patient starts thinking, why not just die and not suffer. People in pain may not be in the right frame of mind to make requests to die. Furthermore, suffering is part of life, much as you want to avoid it.

“There is the argument focused on the quality of life today and many of us have forgotten the sanctity of life.

“Some people say if a person is old and sick, or disabled, they are worthless but who determines the worth of a person’s life? What makes you think that a person with one arm less has a lower quality of life? For that person, that is the fullness of his life. Each of us has our own defects but God loves us just the same.

“Can people say you are old and sick and worthless so we might as well just kill you? We cannot be playing God. Medicine is there to help people. It is a gift from God. It is God working through science and technologies. They are instruments of God’s healing, an aid to society not a hindrance. If the prognosis is bad and treatment is of no help, we may say ‘No’ to extra-ordinary treatment like those in advanced stages of cancer because you will only be prolonging the agony. Nevertheless, basic nutrition and hydration must be provided and cannot be withheld or withdrawn.

“‘What about costs?’ people ask. Well, society should not wash away its responsibility over an individual in a society. Society is responsible to an individual as much as an individual is responsible to society. Healthcare costs are escalating and the state has to provide for the well-being of its citizens. So it has to help people who cannot afford healthcare. If not then there is something wrong with the system.
“People sometimes call it mercy-killing, but how can you kill somebody out of mercy or love? It is a contradiction in itself. It does not make sense. Life is sacred and this applies in all circumstances. It is absolute. The problem is, people are seen in terms of their usefulness. We look at youth or the usefulness of a person to society as a measure of a person. Only if you are of any use to society will it take care of you. If you burden me and are of no use to me, you can die. That seems to be the trend today. Fortunately, still has a strong sense of God and religion. So it is hoped that cases like Terri Schiavo’s do not happen in Malaysia. Thank God euthanasia is not allowed in Malaysia.

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