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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Here's to hoping you're not born into an Anglican family

Abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and embryo research. What's next? Killing disabled babies. At least that's what our neighbor across the Pond is tending towards.

Last week, England's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology called for an opening of the debate on the mercy killing of disabled infants. Well, as a general rule, doctors seem to be in favor of killing disabled babies in the womb, so what difference does a little geography make? After all, there's no real distinction between being in the womb and being out of the womb.

But I didn't expect the Church of England to agree. After all, they presumably still read Jesus's words in the King James Bible: "And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me." (Matt. 18:5)

Yes, the Anglican Church has adopted the policy that doctors should be permitted to let sick newborns die. From its official statement, written by Bishop Tom Butler:

It may in some circumstances be right to choose to withold or withdraw treatment, knowing it will possibly, probably, or even certainly result in death. . . . There may be occasions where, for a Christian, compassion will override the 'rule' that life should inevitably be preserved.

Perhaps this is just another instance of what happens when you've broken with the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Magisterial teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

UPDATE: The American Papist reports that the media has conflated the Anglican Church's position supporting the right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment from sick newborns with outright infanticide, and points to this recent Lifesite article, which cites experts attempting to make the distinction between the two positions. I'm not entirely convinced that a good distinction can be made between withdrawing life-sustaining treatment for newborns and infanticide. Newborns are helpless and will perish within a few hours if they're not given nourishment. A direct act of killing is not required in order to terminate the suffering of a newborn in a timely fashion; all that has to be done is to leave the newborn alone on the operating table. I think that it is a very small step to thinking that the refusal to give the newborn baby nourishment is simply "withdrawing life-sustaining treatment" and, I think it is clear that such refusal to give nourishment to a newborn is euthanasia or infanticide.