Friday, September 14, 2007

Life: Responses to Certain Questions Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration

Fr. Z has it (and I don't see it anywhere else online yet): a document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), dated August 1, 2007 entitled Responsa ad quaestiones ab episcopali conferentia foederatorum americae statuum propositas circa cibum et potum artificialiter praebenda. That is, "Responses to Certain Questions of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration".

The two questions and their answers, simply put, are:
  1. Is administration of food and water (naturally or artificially) to a patient in a "vegetative state" morally required, so long as the patient's body can process them and they cause no harm to the patient? Yes.
  2. Can the artificial administration of food and water to a patient in a "persistent vegetative state" be stopped when competent physicians judge with moral certainty that the patient will never regain consciousness? No.
Thank you, CDF. Requiescat in pace, Terri Schaivo.

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