Saturday, October 1, 2016

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos) on Euthanasia

Arabic original here.


What is euthanasia?

A sick person cannot be healed. He suffers for a long time and his family suffer from this severe agony. The sick person puts an end to his agony through suicide or through medical intervention (removing tubes, for example) in order to end his life out of mercy and pity.

What is the Church's stance in such a situation? The Church regards euthanasia as a crime of murder because she believes that God alone is the Master of life and death, despite all the mercy or pity that comes from qualifying it as "mercy-killing" to relieve suffering and agony.

In the eyes of the Church, suicide is murder. The general mentality of the contemporary world rejects the divine commandment "thou shalt not kill," as in the case of abortion or euthanasia.

What is the standard for us Christians in this case? Is it social and political laws? Or is it divine moral rules? No doubt, the economic factor has a great role in this issue. That is, in the situation of severe illness or permanent disability.

The material element for the family-- and even for the state-- is an important factor because the family hopes to avoid exorbitant expenses, just as contemporary society finds an increase in the number of elderly, retired and disabled people to be burdensome.

What should we Christians do when the situation is like this? We must, first of all, to the degree we are able and despite all the human and material difficulties, provide medication that reduces the suffering patient's pain. We do not seek out suffering and regard it as expiation for our sins unless it is involuntary, then it benefits us for repentance and patience. The suffering patient is in need, in any case, of someone to accompany him with love and moral and material care, especially in the case of poverty, abandonment and loneliness, because anxiety and psychological agitation accompany such cases.

Last but not least, after all these attempts to reduce suffering and to make social and material effort, there remains-- and this is the most important-- prayer to God that He will reveal His dispensation in the continuance of life or death. In any case, the final decision is left in practice to the conscience of the patient and his family, and not only to society's laws.

Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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