Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Heaven by C.S. Lewis

‘I reckon,’ said St Paul, ‘that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.’
If this is so, a book on suffering which says nothing of heaven, is leaving out almost the whole of one side of the account. Scripture and tradition habitually put the joys of heaven into the scale against the sufferings of earth, and no solution of the problem of pain which does not do so can be called a Christian one. We are very shy nowadays of even mentioning heaven.
We are afraid of the jeer about ‘pie in the sky’, and of being told that we are trying to ‘escape’ from the duty of making a happy world here and now into dreams of a happy world elsewhere.

But either there is ‘pie in the sky’ or there is not.
If there is not, then Christianity is false, for this doctrine is woven into its whole fabric. If there is, then this truth, like any other, must be faced, whether it is useful at political meetings or no. Again, we are afraid that heaven is a bribe, and that if we make it our goal we shall no longer be disinterested. It is not so. Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to. There are rewards that do not sully motives. A man’s love for a woman is not mercenary because he wants to marry her, nor his love for poetry mercenary because he wants to read it, nor his love of exercise less disinterested because he wants to run and leap and walk .Love, by definition, seeks to enjoy its object.

You may think that there is another reason for our silence about heaven—namely, that we do not really desire it. But that may be an illusion. What I am now going to say is merely an opinion of my own without the slightest authority, which I submit to the judgement of better Christians and better scholars than myself. There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.

You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them,though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that.
Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw—but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported.
Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of—something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat’s side?

Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for?

You have never had it.
All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it
- tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear.
But if it should really become manifest— if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself—you would know it.
Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say ‘Here at last is the thing I was made for.’
We cannot tell each other about it.
It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work.
While we are, this is.
If we lose this, we lose all.

This signature on each soul may be a product of heredity and environment, but that only means that heredity and environment are among the instruments whereby God creates a soul.
I am considering not how, but why, He makes each soul unique.
If He had no use for all these differences, I do not see why He should have created more souls than one.
Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you.
The mould in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock.
Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the Divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions.
For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you—you, the individual reader, John Stubbs or Janet Smith.
Blessed and fortunate creature, your eyes shall behold Him and not another’s.
 All that you are, sins apart, is destined, if you will let God have His good way, to utter satisfaction.
The Brocken spectre ‘looked to every man like his first love’, because she was a cheat.
But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love.
Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it
—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.

It is from this point of view that we can understand hell in its aspect of privation.
All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness.
The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.
This may seem a perilously private and subjectivenotion of the pearl of great price, but it is not.
The thing I am speaking of is not an experience.
You have experienced only the want of it.
The thing itself has never actually been embodied in any thought, or image, or emotion.
Always it has summoned you out of yourself. And if you will not go out of yourself to follow it, if you sit down to brood on the desire and attempt to cherish it, the desire itself will evade you.
‘The door into life generally opens behind us’
‘the only wisdom’ for one ‘haunted with the scent of unseen roses, is work.’

This secret fire goes out when you use the bellows: bank it down with what seems unlikely fuel of dogma and ethics, turn your backon it and attend to your duties, and then it will blaze.
The world is like a picture with a golden background, and we the figures in that picture.
Until you step off the plane of the picture into the large dimensions of death you cannot see the gold.
But we have reminders of it.
To change our metaphor, the blackout is not quite complete.
There are chinks. At times the daily scene looks big with its secret.
Such is my opinion; and it may be erroneous.
Perhaps this secret desire also is part of the Old Man and must be crucified before the end.
But this opinion has a curious trick of evading denial.
The desire—much more the satisfaction—has always refused to be fully present in any experience.
Whatever you try to identify with it, turns out to be not it but something else: so that hardly any degree of crucifixion or transformation could go beyond what the desire itself leads us to anticipate.

Again, if this opinion is not true, something better is.
But ‘something better’—not this or that experience, but beyond it—is almost the definition of the thing I am trying to describe.
The thing you long for summons you away from the self.
Even the desire for the thing lives only if you abandon it.
This is the ultimate law—the seed dies to live, the bread must be cast upon the waters, he that loses his soul will save it. But the life of the seed, the finding of the bread, the recovery of the soul, are as real as the preliminary sacrifice.
Hence it is truly said of heaven ‘in heaven there is no ownership. If any there took upon him to callanything his own, he would straightway be thrust outinto hell and become an evil spirit.’  But it is also said ‘To him that overcometh I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.’

What can be more a man’s own than this new name which even in eternity remains a secret between God and him?
And what shall we take this secrecy to mean?
Surely, that each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the Divine beauty better than any other creature can.
Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently?
And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures for one another, the communion of the saints.
If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note.

Aristotle has told us that a city is a unity of unlikes,  and St Paul that a body is a unity of different members.  Heaven is a city, and a Body, because the blessed remain eternally different: a society, because each has something to tell all the others—fresh and ever fresh news of the ‘My God’ whom each finds in Him whom all praise as ‘Our God’.
For doubtless the continually successful, yet never complete, attempt by each soul to communicate its unique vision to all others (and that by means whereof earthly art and philosophy are but clumsy imitations) is also among the ends for which the individual was created.
For union exists only between distincts; and, perhaps,from this point of view, we catch a momentary glimpse of the meaning of all things.
Pantheism is a creed not somuch false as hopelessly behind the times.
Once, before creation, it would have been true to say that everything was God.
But God created: He caused things to be other than Himself that, being distinct, they might learn to love Him, and achieve union instead of mere sameness.
Thus He also cast His bread upon the waters.

Even within the creation we might say that inanimate matter, which has no will, is one with God in a sense in which men are not.
But it is not God’s purpose that we should go back into that old identity (as, perhaps, some Pagan mystics would hav eus do) but that we should go on to the maximum distinctness there to be reunited with Him in a higher fashion.
Even within the Holy One Himself, it is not sufficient that the Word should be God, it must also be with God.
The Father eternally begets the Son and the Holy Ghost proceeds: deity introduces distinction within itself so that the union of reciprocal loves may transcend mere arithmetical unity or self-identity.
But the eternal distinctness of each soul—the secret which makes of the union between each soul and God a species in itself—will never abrogate the law that forbids ownership in heaven.
As to its fellow-creatures, each soul,we suppose, will be eternally engaged in giving away to all the rest that which it receives.
And as to God, we must remember that the soul is but a hollow which God fills.
Its union with God is, almost by definition, a continual self-abandonment—an opening, an unveiling, a surrender, of itself.
A blessed spirit is a mould ever more and more patient of the bright metal poured into it, a body  ever more completely uncovered to the meridian blaze of the spiritual sun.
We need not suppose that the necessity for something analogous to self-conquest will ever be ended, or that eternal life will not also be eternal dying.

It is in this sense that, as there may be pleasures in hell (God shield us from them), there may be something not all unlike pains in heaven (God grant us soon to taste them).
For in self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm notonly of all creation but of all being.
For the Eternal Word also gives Himself in sacrifice; and that not only on Calvary.
For when He was crucified He ‘did that in the wild weather of His outlying provinces which He had done at home in glory and gladness’.
From before the foundation of the world He surrenders begotten Deity back to begetting Deity in obedience. And as the Son glorifies the Father, so also the Father glorifies the Son.
And,with submission, as becomes a layman, I think it wa struly said ‘God loveth not Himself as Himself but as Goodness; and if there were aught better than God, He would love that and not Himself’.
From the highest to the lowest, self exists to be abdicated and, by that abdication, becomes the more truly self, to be thereupon yet the more abdicated, and so forever.
This is not a heavenly law which we can escape by remaining earthly, nor an earthly law which we can escape by being saved.
What is outside the system of self-giving is not earth, nor nature, nor ‘ordinary life’, but simply and solely hell. Yet even hell derives from this law such reality as it has.
That fierce imprisonment in the self is but the obverse of the self-giving which is absolute reality; the negative shape which the outer darkness takes by surrounding and defining the shape of the real, or which the real imposes on the darkness by having a shape and positive nature of its own.

The golden apple of selfhood, thrown among the false gods, became an apple of discord because they scrambled for it. They did not know the first rule of the holy game, which is that every player must by all means touch the ball and then immediately pass it on.
To be found with it in your hands is a fault: to cling to it, death. But when it flies to and fro among the players too swift for eye to follow,and the great master Himself leads the revelry, giving Himself eternally to His creatures in the generation, and back to Himself in the sacrifice, of the Word, then indeed the eternal dance ‘makes heaven drowsy with the harmony’.
All pains and pleasures we have known on earth are early initiations in the movements of that dance: but the dance itself is strictly incomparable with the sufferings of this present time.
As we draw nearer to its uncreated rhythm, pain and pleasure sink almost out of sight.
There is joy in the dance, but it does not exist for the sake of joy.
It does not even exist for the sake of good, or of love.
It is Love Himself, and Good Himself, and therefore happy.
It does not exist for us, but we for it.
The size and emptiness of the universe which frightened us at the outset of this book, should awe us still, for though they may be no more than a subjective by-product of our three-dimensional imagining, yet they symbolise great truth.

As our Earth is to all the stars, so doubtless are we men and our concerns to all creation; as all the stars are to space itself, so are all creatures, all thrones and powers and mightiest of the created gods, to the abyss of the self-existing Being, who is to us Father and Redeemer and indwelling Comforter, but of whom no man nor angel can say nor conceive what He is in and for Himself, or what is the work that he ‘maketh from the beginning to the end’.
For they are all derived and unsubstantial things. Their vision fails them and they cover their eyes from the intolerable light of utter actuality, which was and is and shall be, which never could have been otherwise, which has no opposite.

Peter Kreeft - How to Win the Culture War

Friday, 26 October 2012

Átaremma - The Lord's Prayer in Elvish (Quenya)

Three Versions in a Boat : DEBUSSY, PETITE SUITE I: En Bateau

If there's a tune which could be described as my background theme - it's this... As with everything - the reason, the motive, the ability, the experience, the intention, the vision and ultimately the reason why one is here and why one stays DO make a difference...I'm not suggesting any version's better...but the difference makes a difference:

 The Professionals
The Lovers
The Amateurs

Happiness - Peter Kreeft

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Mahlers 7th

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Philosophy of Abortion - Peter Kreeft vs David Boonin

catholic apologetics part2

Year of Faith: Oecumenism & True Christian Unity: Pius XI Mortalium Animos


Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

Never perhaps in the past have we seen, as we see in these our own times, the minds of men so occupied by the desire both of strengthening and of extending to the common welfare of human society that fraternal relationship which binds and unites us together, and which is a consequence of our common origin and nature. For since the nations do not yet fully enjoy the fruits of peace - indeed rather do old and new disagreements in various places break forth into sedition and civic strife - and since on the other hand many disputes which concern the tranquillity and prosperity of nations cannot be settled without the active concurrence and help of those who rule the States and promote their interests, it is easily understood, and the more so because none now dispute the unity of the human race, why many desire that the various nations, inspired by this universal kinship, should daily be more closely united one to another.
2. A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matters which concern the New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord. For since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.
3. But some are more easily deceived by the outward appearance of good when there is question of fostering unity among all Christians. 
4. Is it not right, it is often repeated, indeed, even consonant with duty, that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united in mutual charity? Who would dare to say that he loved Christ, unless he worked with all his might to carry out the desires of Him, Who asked His Father that His disciples might be "one."[1] And did not the same Christ will that His disciples should be marked out and distinguished from others by this characteristic, namely that they loved one another: "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another"?[2] All Christians, they add, should be as "one": for then they would be much more powerful in driving out the pest of irreligion, which like a serpent daily creeps further and becomes more widely spread, and prepares to rob the Gospel of its strength. These things and others that class of men who are known as pan-Christians continually repeat and amplify; and these men, so far from being quite few and scattered, have increased to the dimensions of an entire class, and have grouped themselves into widely spread societies, most of which are directed by non-Catholics, although they are imbued with varying doctrines concerning the things of faith. This undertaking is so actively promoted as in many places to win for itself the adhesion of a number of citizens, and it even takes possession of the minds of very many Catholics and allures them with the hope of bringing about such a union as would be agreeable to the desires of Holy Mother Church, who has indeed nothing more at heart than to recall her erring sons and to lead them back to her bosom. But in reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.
5. Admonished, therefore, by the consciousness of Our Apostolic office that We should not permit the flock of the Lord to be cheated by dangerous fallacies, We invoke, Venerable Brethren, your zeal in avoiding this evil; for We are confident that by the writings and words of each one of you the people will more easily get to know and understand those principles and arguments which We are about to set forth, and from which Catholics will learn how they are to think and act when there is question of those undertakings which have for their end the union in one body, whatsoever be the manner, of all who call themselves Christians.

6. We were created by God, the Creator of the universe, in order that we might know Him and serve Him; our Author therefore has a perfect right to our service. God might, indeed, have prescribed for man's government only the natural law, which, in His creation, He imprinted on his soul, and have regulated the progress of that same law by His ordinary providence; but He preferred rather to impose precepts, which we were to obey, and in the course of time, namely from the beginnings of the human race until the coming and preaching of Jesus Christ, He Himself taught man the duties which a rational creature owes to its Creator: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days, hath spoken to us by his Son."[3] From which it follows that there can be no true religion other than that which is founded on the revealed word of God: which revelation, begun from the beginning and continued under the Old Law, Christ Jesus Himself under the New Law perfected. Now, if God has spoken (and it is historically certain that He has truly spoken), all must see that it is man's duty to believe absolutely God's revelation and to obey implicitly His commands; that we might rightly do both, for the glory of God and our own salvation, the Only-begotten Son of God founded His Church on earth. Further, We believe that those who call themselves Christians can do no other than believe that a Church, and that Church one, was established by Christ; but if it is further inquired of what nature according to the will of its Author it must be, then all do not agree. A good number of them, for example, deny that the Church of Christ must be visible and apparent, at least to such a degree that it appears as one body of faithful, agreeing in one and the same doctrine under one teaching authority and government; but, on the contrary, they understand a visible Church as nothing else than a Federation, composed of various communities of Christians, even though they adhere to different doctrines, which may even be incompatible one with another. Instead, Christ our Lord instituted His Church as a perfect society, external of its nature and perceptible to the senses, which should carry on in the future the work of the salvation of the human race, under the leadership of one head,[4] with an authority teaching by word of mouth,[5] and by the ministry of the sacraments, the founts of heavenly grace;[6] for which reason He attested by comparison the similarity of the Church to a kingdom,[7] to a house,[8] to a sheepfold,[9] and to a flock.[10] This Church, after being so wonderfully instituted, could not, on the removal by death of its Founder and of the Apostles who were the pioneers in propagating it, be entirely extinguished and cease to be, for to it was given the commandment to lead all men, without distinction of time or place, to eternal salvation: "Going therefore, teach ye all nations."[11] In the continual carrying out of this task, will any element of strength and efficiency be wanting to the Church, when Christ Himself is perpetually present to it, according to His solemn promise: "Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world?"[12] It follows then that the Church of Christ not only exists to-day and always, but is also exactly the same as it was in the time of the Apostles, unless we were to say, which God forbid, either that Christ our Lord could not effect His purpose, or that He erred when He asserted that the gates of hell should never prevail against it.[13] 
7. And here it seems opportune to expound and to refute a certain false opinion, on which this whole question, as well as that complex movement by which non-Catholics seek to bring about the union of the Christian churches depends. For authors who favor this view are accustomed, times almost without number, to bring forward these words of Christ: "That they all may be one.... And there shall be one fold and one shepherd,"[14] with this signification however: that Christ Jesus merely expressed a desire and prayer, which still lacks its fulfillment. For they are of the opinion that the unity of faith and government, which is a note of the one true Church of Christ, has hardly up to the present time existed, and does not to-day exist. They consider that this unity may indeed be desired and that it may even be one day attained through the instrumentality of wills directed to a common end, but that meanwhile it can only be regarded as mere ideal. They add that the Church in itself, or of its nature, is divided into sections; that is to say, that it is made up of several churches or distinct communities, which still remain separate, and although having certain articles of doctrine in common, nevertheless disagree concerning the remainder; that these all enjoy the same rights; and that the Church was one and unique from, at the most, the apostolic age until the first Ecumenical Councils. Controversies therefore, they say, and longstanding differences of opinion which keep asunder till the present day the members of the Christian family, must be entirely put aside, and from the remaining doctrines a common form of faith drawn up and proposed for belief, and in the profession of which all may not only know but feel that they are brothers. The manifold churches or communities, if united in some kind of universal federation, would then be in a position to oppose strongly and with success the progress of irreligion. This, Venerable Brethren, is what is commonly said. There are some, indeed, who recognize and affirm that Protestantism, as they call it, has rejected, with a great lack of consideration, certain articles of faith and some external ceremonies, which are, in fact, pleasing and useful, and which the Roman Church still retains. They soon, however, go on to say that that Church also has erred, and corrupted the original religion by adding and proposing for belief certain doctrines which are not only alien to the Gospel, but even repugnant to it. Among the chief of these they number that which concerns the primacy of jurisdiction, which was granted to Peter and to his successors in the See of Rome. Among them there indeed are some, though few, who grant to the Roman Pontiff a primacy of honor or even a certain jurisdiction or power, but this, however, they consider not to arise from the divine law but from the consent of the faithful. Others again, even go so far as to wish the Pontiff Himself to preside over their motley, so to say, assemblies. But, all the same, although many non-Catholics may be found who loudly preach fraternal communion in Christ Jesus, yet you will find none at all to whom it ever occurs to submit to and obey the Vicar of Jesus Christ either in His capacity as a teacher or as a governor. Meanwhile they affirm that they would willingly treat with the Church of Rome, but on equal terms, that is as equals with an equal: but even if they could so act. it does not seem open to doubt that any pact into which they might enter would not compel them to turn from those opinions which are still the reason why they err and stray from the one fold of Christ. 
8. This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ. Shall We suffer, what would indeed be iniquitous, the truth, and a truth divinely revealed, to be made a subject for compromise? For here there is question of defending revealed truth. Jesus Christ sent His Apostles into the whole world in order that they might permeate all nations with the Gospel faith, and, lest they should err, He willed beforehand that they should be taught by the Holy Ghost:[15] has then this doctrine of the Apostles completely vanished away, or sometimes been obscured, in the Church, whose ruler and defense is God Himself? If our Redeemer plainly said that His Gospel was to continue not only during the times of the Apostles, but also till future ages, is it possible that the object of faith should in the process of time become so obscure and uncertain, that it would be necessary to-day to tolerate opinions which are even incompatible one with another? If this were true, we should have to confess that the coming of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, and the perpetual indwelling of the same Spirit in the Church, and the very preaching of Jesus Christ, have several centuries ago, lost all their efficacy and use, to affirm which would be blasphemy. But the Only-begotten Son of God, when He commanded His representatives to teach all nations, obliged all men to give credence to whatever was made known to them by "witnesses preordained by God,"[16] and also confirmed His command with this sanction: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned."[17] These two commands of Christ, which must be fulfilled, the one, namely, to teach, and the other to believe, cannot even be understood, unless the Church proposes a complete and easily understood teaching, and is immune when it thus teaches from all danger of erring. In this matter, those also turn aside from the right path, who think that the deposit of truth such laborious trouble, and with such lengthy study and discussion, that a man's life would hardly suffice to find and take possession of it; as if the most merciful God had spoken through the prophets and His Only-begotten Son merely in order that a few, and those stricken in years, should learn what He had revealed through them, and not that He might inculcate a doctrine of faith and morals, by which man should be guided through the whole course of his moral life.

9. These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment "Love one another," altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ's teaching: "If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you."[18] For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful? For example, those who affirm, and those who deny that sacred Tradition is a true fount of divine Revelation; those who hold that an ecclesiastical hierarchy, made up of bishops, priests and ministers, has been divinely constituted, and those who assert that it has been brought in little by little in accordance with the conditions of the time; those who adore Christ really present in the Most Holy Eucharist through that marvelous conversion of the bread and wine, which is called transubstantiation, and those who affirm that Christ is present only by faith or by the signification and virtue of the Sacrament; those who in the Eucharist recognize the nature both of a sacrament and of a sacrifice, and those who say that it is nothing more than the memorial or commemoration of the Lord's Supper; those who believe it to be good and useful to invoke by prayer the Saints reigning with Christ, especially Mary the Mother of God, and to venerate their images, and those who urge that such a veneration is not to be made use of, for it is contrary to the honor due to Jesus Christ, "the one mediator of God and men."[19] How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians. But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it. Those, who are unhappily infected with these errors, hold that dogmatic truth is not absolute but relative, that is, it agrees with the varying necessities of time and place and with the varying tendencies of the mind, since it is not contained in immutable revelation, but is capable of being accommodated to human life. Besides this, in connection with things which must be believed, it is nowise licit to use that distinction which some have seen fit to introduce between those articles of faith which are fundamental and those which are not fundamental, as they say, as if the former are to be accepted by all, while the latter may be left to the free assent of the faithful: for the supernatural virtue of faith has a formal cause, namely the authority of God revealing, and this is patient of no such distinction. For this reason it is that all who are truly Christ's believe, for example, the Conception of the Mother of God without stain of original sin with the same faith as they believe the mystery of the August Trinity, and the Incarnation of our Lord just as they do the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, according to the sense in which it was defined by the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. Are these truths not equally certain, or not equally to be believed, because the Church has solemnly sanctioned and defined them, some in one age and some in another, even in those times immediately before our own? Has not God revealed them all? For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. But in the use of this extraordinary teaching authority no newly invented matter is brought in, nor is anything new added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of Revelation, divinely handed down to the Church: only those which are made clear which perhaps may still seem obscure to some, or that which some have previously called into question is declared to be of faith.
10. So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it. During the lapse of centuries, the mystical Spouse of Christ has never been contaminated, nor can she ever in the future be contaminated, as Cyprian bears witness: "The Bride of Christ cannot be made false to her Spouse: she is incorrupt and modest. She knows but one dwelling, she guards the sanctity of the nuptial chamber chastely and modestly."[20] The same holy Martyr with good reason marveled exceedingly that anyone could believe that "this unity in the Church which arises from a divine foundation, and which is knit together by heavenly sacraments, could be rent and torn asunder by the force of contrary wills."[21] For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one,[22] compacted and fitly joined together,[23] it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.[24]

11. Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, "the Mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful"?[25] Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind."[26]
12. Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs,"[27] not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth"[28] will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,"[29] would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped-for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."[30]
13. You, Venerable Brethren, understand how much this question is in Our mind, and We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us: if these latter humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it, being united with us in perfect charity. While awaiting this event, and as a pledge of Our paternal good will, We impart most lovingly to you, Venerable Brethren, and to your clergy and people, the apostolic benediction.

Given at Rome, at Saint Peter's, on the 6th day of January, on the Feast of the Epiphany of Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the year 1928, and the sixth year of Our Pontificate.


Monday, 15 October 2012

The Liverpool Care Pathway is Backdoor Euthanasia - and we have a moral duty to rescue our neighbour.

Remember this face - remember the name - It's Kane Gorny - and he was murdered in his hospital bed.

Now there was public outrage about Kane - but for those tens of thousands being euthanised
in our hospitals by other means and through other circumstances or from other ethical deliberations?
There is silence...130,000 are placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway every year - that is 1-in-6 of all our national dead. 69,000 of these were placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway with neither consultation with the Patient nor their families.

In March 2010 Damian Thompson warned us that Bishops' Conference was rushing through Palliative Care guidelines after a consultation period on the LCP of which nobody was actually made aware!!!
...and even though [despite being vociferously promoted in the draft proposals] the LCP was removed from being directly mentioned in the final BCEW document -  it has been repeatedly promoted and endorsed by Catholic Bishops [more importantly Archbishop Smith], clerics, journalists and professional laity...including an intensive letter argument in the Universe where many senior clergy & ethicists not merely supported the LCP but strenuously dismissed anyone's grave concerns over its practice and even hinted at the reckless irresponsibility of suggesting the LCP may involve euthanasia in that it might play into the pro-Euthanasia lobby's hands....

[with apologies to GKC]
The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt.
It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt.
People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late.
It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.
It is no answer to say, with a distant optimism, that the scheme is only in the air.
A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.
There exists to-day a scheme of action, a school of thought, as collective and unmistakable as any of those by whose grouping alone we can make any outline of history.
It is a thing that can be pointed out; it is a thing that can be discussed; and it is a thing that can still be destroyed. It is called for convenience "Euthanasia"; and it must to be destroyed.
I know that it means very different things to different people; but that is only because evil always takes advantage of ambiguity.
I know it is praised with high professions of idealism and benevolence; with silver-tongued rhetoric about human dignity, respect and autonomy.
But that is only because evil is always flattering and flattered, as active euthanaisa is called assisted suicide, and abortion is called a 'reproductive right'.
I know that it numbers many disciples whose intentions are entirely innocent and humane; and who would be sincerely astonished at my describing it as I do.
But that is only because evil always wins through the strength of its splendid dupes; and there has in all ages been a disastrous alliance between abnormal innocence and abnormal sin.
Of these who are deceived I shall speak of course as we all do of such instruments; judging them by the good they think they are doing, and not by the evil which they really do.
But Euthanasia itself does exist for those who have sense enough to see that ideas exist; and Euthanasia itself, in large quantities or small, coming quickly or coming slowly, urged from good motives or bad, applied to a thousand people or applied to three, Euthanasia itself is a thing no more to be bargained about than poisoning.


Remember Tony Bland [I strongly urge you to read this by Alison Davis of 'No Less Human'.[Sep 2009]
Now we must all be fully aware of those being diagnosed as in a Persistent Vegetative State may have their nutrition and hydration removed and thus be euthanised in an excruciating, diabolical manner...

..but worse we have to face the fact that euthanasia is already endemic - and
not merely to the physically or mentally handicapped newborn; not merely
to those in PVS, not merely those who have suffered brain damage yet
are still alive without a ventilator; not merely to those who have
demanded their 'rights under the mental capacity act for themselves or
their relatives or those placed in their legal care...

Letter from  Dr Jacqueline Laing, Senior Law Lecturer & director of Juris:

 "The Mental Capacity Act 2005 authorises doctors, in certain circumstances,
to withhold all “treatment”, including food and water, from patients who lack capacity. Importantly, in England and Wales, legally speaking,
food and water administered in a medical environment may be classified
as “medical treatment”.

 In 2008 the Liverpool Care Pathway was recommended as the Department of
Health’s End of Life Strategy and a year later 300 hospitals, 130
hospices and 560 care homes in England had rolled out the programme.

Medical concerns about the very possibility of diagnosing imminent death are
familiar. Where this diagnosis is made, the combination of morphine and
dehydration are likely to undermine a patient’s capacity. Persistent
dehydration of even the fittest sedated patient will kill him. That is
the problem with the Pathway. It reverses the burden of proof so that an incapacitated patient must speak on his own behalf in favour of water.
Even assuming he is well enough, as Kane Gorny’s family found, his pleas may not be heard. The concerns of families, lawyers and healthcare
professionals about this programme demand address.

Healthcare costs, bed-clearing, political Malthusianism and the philosophical
dehumanisation of the vulnerable pervasive in contemporary bioethics are all likely to rationalise bureaucratised homicide."

I'm sorry to say that we are presently in the middle of a
'conspiracy of silence' and deliberate cover-up in regard to the
Liverpool Care Pathway by those who are both advisers to the Catholic
Church & self-confessed 'Catholic ethicists"...

A strong indictment but bear with me:

a] The Liverpool Care Pathway [now on Version 12] contravenes Catholic teaching
[ref CDF & Benedict XVI, Bl. JPII on PVS, Evangelium Vitae etc]
in that Nutrition & Hydration [even by artificial means] are forms
of Natural Care and are not removable clinical treatments.
Even though v12 has ostensible safeguards which may appear to protect a
patient's access to hydration - arbitrary, ambiguous discretionary terms
like 'the patient's best interest' & 'not detrimental to patient'
mean that any clinician, diagnostic team or post-prognosis any of the
medical staff may remove hydration.
Bearing in mind the normative use of Hyoscine as an
anti-nausea/anti-emetic drug for end-of-life patients is also a
desiccating agent - the combined removal of fluids will reduce the
effectivity of pain-relief drugs, will induce excruciating pain as
organs & muscles begin to necrotise and accelerate death by

b] Catholic teaching is categorical regarding the use of opiates as
pain-relief in that it must be needs-based and not unnecessarily sedate
anyone in their final hours. Pius XII in his speech to the anaesthetists
[1957] called unnecessary sedation 'barbaric' 'a
deplorable practice'..'repugnant to Christian sentiments' and ultimately
  gravely evil'.
The Liverpool Care Pathway has prognosis-based opiate provision rather
than needs-based for analgesia. This can lead to unnecessary sedation
and deny the patient the opportunity to die a good, pain-limited,
optimally-conscious natural death. Continuous deep sedation is rapidlybecoming normative practice
c] Not only is this non-analgesic opiate over-prescription sedative in
nature - when it comes to non-cancer patients Trescot[2008] &
Gomes[2011] studies reveal that this unnecessary opiate use actually
accelerates death [thus disproving the cornerstone of the arguments in
the CBCEW end-of-life pastoral care draft & final document]
This directly contravenes the 5th commandment.

d] Holistically speaking as a form of Palliative Care the Liverpool Care
Pathway is irrevocably flawed and directly contrary to Catholic
teaching regarding the sanctity and dignity of human life by a single
- the actuation of irreversible end-of-life procedures after a 72hr prognosis.
To quote a leading contributor to the Catholic Medical Quarterly
"Once you are on the Liverpool Care Pathway you will die; even if you weren't dying!"


Now the President of the Catholic Medical Association is equally as forthright:

and others experts have stated similarly:

Tony Cole, Chair of the Medical Ethics Alliance has expressed grave concerns in that:
a] In the MEA view there are hardly any circumstances where fluids need to be withdrawn, opiates become more toxic, consciousness impaired and suggested doses are too large for the frail elderly
b] There is no provision for truly independent second opinion and informed consent is virtually ignored [as evinced by the audit]
c] There is no required training for anyone applying the LCP [often inexperienced staff].
d] There is no certainty of determining the imminence of death - especially in the elderly with multiple pathologies. There is also very strong evidence for this given the amount of post-mortems revealing death by different causes to the presumed diagnosis.
e]Difficulties will arise in this procedure from a lack of continuity in care.
What is virtually certain is that inexperienced , untrained staff with or without ill-will, will be stopping fluids and giving powerful drugs with lethal effect. Relatives..will be ill-informed, suspicious and sometimes embittered.
The LCP should be used with great care by trained experienced doctors humble enough to listen to a truly independent second opinion. No doubt it has a place in hospices but to roll it out in all settings will lead to MANY premature deaths.
The natural death with consciousness to the end should always be sought for spiritual and family reasons...The LCP does not exclude this but the circumstances listed above will lead to premature unconsciousness, intoxication and hastened deaths.

[Finally Dr Cole leaves us with a devastating prediction]

"Palliative Care itself could be discredited and it could play into the hands of proponents of euthanasia"

In Response Leading Catholic Ethicist & LCP Consultant Dr David Albert Jones said [edited for personal opinions re others and for information not repeated elsewhere by Dr Jones]:

All this said my own view is that the LCP is a good thing both in principle and generally in practice and criticsim of it generally plays into the hands of the euthanasia movement.
It is very clear that if someone is dying then overtreatment is not only unnecessary but probably burdensome and even counter productive.
The LCP aims to give appropriate treatment when someone is recognised to be dying: stopping unncessary treatment, giving pain relief and increasing communication (and spiritual care) with patients and relatives. There is an issue about how to diagnose dying but this is not unique to the LCP, and the LCP recognises assessment every 4 hours - which is more than NHS average even for dying patients.

Furthermore I think attacking the LCP and alleging that euthanasia is widespread helps the euthanasia movement claim that 'slow euthnasia' is already with us so it would be kinder to have fast euthanasia. 
In fact the LCP is not a death pathway and certainly not a euthanasia pathway but is a care pathway for people who doctors are sure are dying.

I do not think there is anything that should be opposed by a good Catholic....I do say that the LCP at least in its latest draft is capable of being used in a way that is fully in keeping with Catholic teaching and I would advise agaisnt using the LCP as a substitute for the real targets of inadequate care of the elderly, failure to respect those with disability and the push for euthanasia (and assisted suicide) by passive and active means.

Really? Let's go back a little...

In 2008 Dr Adrian Treloar wrote to the BMJ

The Liverpool care pathway (LCP) is the UK’s main clinical pathway of continuous deep sedation and is promoted for roll out across the NHS. Rietjens et al’s study highlights some serious weaknesses in its design.
The eligibility criteria do not ensure that only people who are about to die are allowed on to the pathway. They allow people who are thought to be dying, are bed bound, and are unable to take tablets on to the pathway. In chronic diseases such as dementia, dying can take years, but such patients may be eligible. Reitjens et al’s paper shows that GPs often put patients on to such a pathway without palliative care advice. A pathway for general use should minimise opportunities for early or inappropriate use.
Murray et al are concerned that sedation is being used as an inexpensive alternative to assessment and specialist treatment. The LCP recommends sedatives and opiates for all patients on an “as required” basis, even when they are not agitated, in pain, or distressed. An automatic pathway towards prescribing heavy sedatives incurs risks.
Moreover, the LCP recommends setting up a syringe driver within four hours of a doctor’s order. This is laudable, if it is needed. But the pathway encourages the use of syringe drivers even when symptoms can be managed without them.
The pathway doesn’t mention the need for food and fluids. Reitjens et al show that withholding artificial nutrition and hydration is the norm. The LCP’s omission of prompts to reconsider nutrition and hydration may allow serious errors in the care of dying patients. It is not acceptable, as Murray et al suggest, that assessing nutrition and hydration are not part of the pathway.
Sedation is right in some situations. But as Murray et al point out, the anticipated outcome of continuous deep sedation is death. We must learn from Reitjens et al’s observation that continuous deep sedation may replace euthanasia. If the methods and pathways that we use for continuous deep sedation in the UK are flawed, then patients will die as a result of inappropriate use. I hope that the LCP will be reviewed and modified.

After the Shocking report by the BBC's Adam Brimelow [Aug 12] on deaths involving continuous long-term sedation In Sep 2009 Leading experts in the area wrote a joint letter to the Telegraph reporting that 1-in-7 deaths were resultant of terminal sedation followed by Max Pemberton's personal account re his Grandfather

Kevin Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the campaign group Not Dead Yet, said: “It is very worrying that in any situation less than 100 per cent of families are being consulted before patients are being put on the Liverpool Care Pathway. It is a shock for families to find that out.

“In some situations doctors are prepared to do it without consulting families because they think they know what is best and questions arise as to why they think it is OK to do that. Families have the right to know why a loved one is being put on the LCP.”

[From Independent Catholic News 25/3/11 by Paul Donovan]

The president of the Catholic Medical Association, Dr Clare Walker believes that euthanasia is being quite widely practiced in the NHS in an unofficial way.

Dr Walker explained how she is regularly contacted by distressed healthcare professionals and managers who describe their experience of witnessing repeated instances of unofficial, active euthanasia in their local areas. "The standards of medical ethics and of interpretation of existing legislation appear to vary greatly around the country and from one organisation to the next, even in the same local area," said Dr Walker.

One development that has enabled this to happen is the adoption of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP). The LCP was developed in Liverpool in the 1990s as a result of collaboration between the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Marie Curie hospice. The laudable aim was to bring hospice style palliative care for those living out their last hours in hospital. Its main emphasis was to unite professional support in the fields of physical treatment, psychological support, and support for carers and spiritual care. “There is no reason to be suspicious when the LCP is being used in appropriate circumstances to a higher standard of care,” said Dr Walker.

However, the scheme has now been rolled out across the country, with the application depending on widely differing levels of ethical application. “If it is used out of context, then it could be used to the detriment of patients e.g. a patient comes into a resuscitation bay and it is not always clear if a condition is acute and can be treated,” said Dr Walker, who recalls that in some hospitals the LCP has become known as the Lazarus Care Pathway due to the number of people who have been put on it inappropriately, are not moribound and subsequently need to be actively treated.

A colleague of Dr Walker’s did a survey on the basis of crematorium records that found in 23 per cent of all deaths of people in one city placed put on the LCP there had been no definite diagnosis at any stage.

Dr Walker puts many of the problems at the door of a lack of ethics in the application of what at face value is a good system for the terminally ill. It is the application that lacks sensitivity and can often just amount to following protocols.  “The problems come when an idol is made of the protocols. It is the same story with anything if you make an idol of it you lose common sense and critical faculties,” said Dr Walker, who defines the slavish following of protocols as “tick box itus.”

She is worried that younger health professionals will be concerned about straying from the protocols for fear they might offend superiors, this means they don’t develop the acumen required to do the job. “Sometimes, in addition to what is required by a protocol, which tends to assess for a single condition, you have to follow an instinct that there is something else wrong with a patient and there is nothing wrong with that. This is the art as well as the science of clinical practice,” said Dr Walker, who abhors the way that cases like that  of the murderous doctor Harold Shipman have been used to tarnish the healthcare professions …...and undermine the effectiveness of the full range of those acting as advocates for patients.

Since the membership of CMA opened to all healthcare professionals and health managers some 18 months ago, an increasing number of both those directly involved in clinical care and those in administrative roles report overt bullying in favour of targets to the exclusion of good standards of care.

 Dr Walker considers the test for any healthcare professional should be that the level of care being provided matches that which they would expect for one of their own family. 

Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary, gave his reaction yesterday to Dr Walker's statement:

"We must be grateful to Dr Walker for speaking out about the growing anti-life ethos in British medicine. The practice of euthanasia by neglect is insidious and will lead to more and more pressure for active euthanasia - this is the aim of the pro-euthanasia lobby.

"Intentional killing by neglect has become more entrenched in England and Wales since the passing of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This was designed to permit doctors to end the lives of certain seriously ill or disabled people by withholding treatment and care - including even food and fluids in some cases. Without water, people die. Although active euthanasia (such as giving patients a lethal injection) remains rare in our experience, passive euthanasia is a major problem.

"Dr Walker rightly highlights the dangers of the Liverpool Care Pathway. The LCP can mean that tick-box medicine replaces proper care tailored to the person. In some places it is used inappropriately - the LCP implies high doses of morphine may be used which are not necessary for all patients, and which can hasten death. In some places it has become feared as a way of getting rid of those who aren't 'dying quickly enough'.

"The importance of having a sound ethical foundation when caring for patients who may be dying, or nearing death, is increasingly evident. It is not only experts, like doctors, pro-life campaigners and chaplains who see the growing disregard and lack of proper care for those who are nearing death. Relatives of disabled or elderly people are often distressed by the way their loved ones are treated in hospitals and care homes. This can range from not getting necessary help with feeding and toileting to withdrawal of vital care, like simple intravenous fluids."

Then the floodgates broke at the turn of the year regarding the LCP - Dr Pullicino's revelations were devastating and filled the broadsheets and tabloids

After Quentin de la Bedoyere's article in the Catholic Herald earlier this year two Doctors were printed in Herald letters:

The Liverpool Care Pathway is becoming a deadly machine
From Professor Patrick Pullicino
SIR – One worrying statistic about the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) that is not well known is that in both the First National Audit (2006/7) and the Second National Audit (2008/9) the mean time to death on the LCP was 33 hours. The fact that two large national audits two years apart came up with an identical mean time to death shows that effectively the LCP is a machine. Unless the LCP is quickly discontinued death occurs in less than two days, whether someone has terminal cancer or a potentially reversible condition such as pneumonia.
What is not mentioned in the Science and Faith column (July 27) is that the diagnosis of being “within the last hours or days of life”, which is necessary for a person to be put on the LCP, has no scientific basis. This diagnosis is, in fact, a prediction and as such is likely to be in serious error about 50 per cent of the time.
Although it is possible to discontinue the LCP if the patient improves, it becomes more difficult to detect changes in the underlying illness as a patient becomes more drowsy on the LCP.
Yours faithfully,

By email
From Dr Gillian Craig
SIR – It is right to warn people about the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP). Those who have produced warning cards have done the public a service. Your report (July 27) was helpful, as was that of Quentin de la Bédoyère (Science and Faith, July 27).
If all doctors were trained in the care of the elderly and had all the time in the world to discuss end-of-life care with patients and relatives there would be less cause for anxiety about the LCP. But given the current pressure on hospital beds and the number of frail, elderly people needing attention, there is a very real danger that some who appear to be dying but have a treatable disorder will be put on the LCP with fatal results.
Count de la Bédoyère mentioned some dangers of the LCP towards the end of his article. These are worth repeating lest they be overlooked:
  • Some medical staff may see death as a benefit for the patient or the NHS. It was suggested that death is sometimes hastened if the bed is needed for someone else.
  • Some healthcare staff will be too busy to follow the LCP protocol correctly.
  • Once on the LCP progress checks may be overlooked until the patient is dead.
  • Some doctors may not involve a multi-disciplinary team or seek advice before putting patients on to the LCP.
  • The importance of hydration was not mentioned in the Catholic Herald articles.

When palliative care first emerged as a speciality in 1987 the only patients who received hospice care were those with pain that was difficult to control or those with significant anxiety about the prospect of dying. All the rest were managed by their GPs in the community or by hospital staff if they were admitted to hospital. Surprisingly few old people needed the services of palliative carers in those days and most died peacefully without the need for sedation or morphine. Syringe drivers were never used on geriatric wards in those days. If medication was needed it was given orally or by injection.

Palliative care is in overdrive and patients are in danger. (For discussion see the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care 2008; Vol 25: No 2.) The NHS is fast becoming a death service rather than a health service for the elderly. Attempts are being made to vet potential admissions and send the elderly home before they block a precious hospital bed. Those who are admitted and appear to be dying may be put on the LCP and die within a matter of days. People can no longer be sure that the elderly will be treated well, so great vigilance is needed. Many people suffer long-term distress after watching a loved one die on the LCP. It is surely time to review and reduce the role of palliative care in the NHS.
All these problems have followed the closure of far too many hospitals that cared for the elderly. We now have too few hospital beds to cope with the ageing population. Hospital facilities must be increased and care in the community improved as a matter of urgency, so that more people can remain at home until they die in peace.
Yours faithfully,

To briefly conclude:

a] The Liverpool Care Pathway IS INDEED Backdoor Euthanasia.
b]   Catholic Ethicists, medical and charity quango professionals, senior clerics or Catholic commentators - even pro-Life Activists....are readily, pugnaciously, belligerently defending it as 'not euthanasia' and will dismiss and seek to suppress any opposition to it.

And we have to ask why they wish to close down the debate so immediately and with such force?
Answer: They want to save lives - they don't want Active Euthanasia legislation passing through parliament.

They recognise that
a] If they say the LCP is euthanising it will make it easier for the Pro-Euthanasia Lobby to argue for euthanasia being a regular normative medical practice in the NHS - and thus make Pro-Euthanasia easier to become law.
b] As this is a long drawn-out form of passive euthanasia - a system aimed at reduction in pain and suffering would logically [especially in these days of overriding human rights AND financial restrictions] seek to introduce assisted suicide - direct active euthanasia

Which is why we have at present in this country a conspiracy of silence on the LCP.

A whispering campaign against orthodox Catholic & Christian ethicists , healthcare workers, commentators, activists, bloggers etc - especially those with high positions in the medical profession - who prove categorically and irrefutably that patients are being euthanised and murdered in unbelievably excruciating pain and distress.
...and why?

Because [like Caiaphas] the argument is that it is better for a few thousand to die through use, misuse and abuse of the LCP...
...Than for the law to be changed to assisted suicide and active euthanasia leading to the deaths of millions!!!
This present formal co-operation with evil by wilfully denying the immorality of the LCP , the murder of Patients AND the deliberate campaigning against those who seek to reveal it being backdoor euthanasia ?Is beyond repulsive - it's redolent of silence about the trains going to Auschwitz.

 Peter Williams - executive officer of 'Right to Life' has gone on the record to say "There IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH THE LCP" and has subsequently denounced anyone who has opposed the LCP as guilty of - and I quote - 'Unconscionable actions..risking lives and playing into the hands of the Pro-Euthanasia Lobby'

He's not only wrong - he knows he's wrong...and this Utilitarian Caiaphas Corollary stinks!

UPDATES :  Unified Support for the LCP from major institutions and charities via  Christian Medical Comment [Peter Saunders]; The Catholic Herald reports concerns over the LCP by   Archbishop Peter Smith & Bishop Anthony Fisher

Friday, 12 October 2012

Solidaritism #2 We Cannot act "Etsi Deus non daretur" - as if God is not here

Following my Previous post

How does prudence shape solidarity? 
Not by forsaking it.

From Colin Harte's  "Changing Unjust Laws Justly"

a] Legislation to restrict abortion does not merely 'save some lives' but always excludes from protection some unborn children who are entitled to protection; furthermore those who are normatively left unprotected by such legislation are the weaker and more vulnerable.

b] Restrictive abortion legislation and Incrementalist campaigning for such restrictions distorts the truth of the Pro-Life perspective of every innocent human being absolutely equal to all others and before that moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of life of an innocent human being there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone.

c] Those unborn children excluded from protection by restrictive legislation are further marginalised by both the campaign for the legislation and the law's enactment.

Veritatis Splendor

97. ... The fundamental moral rules of social life thus entail specific demands to which both public authorities and citizens are required to pay heed. Even though intentions may sometimes be good, and circumstances frequently difficult, civil authorities and particular individuals never have authority to violate the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person. In the end, only a morality which acknowledges certain norms as valid always and for everyone, with no exception, can guarantee the ethical foundation of social coexistence, both on the national and international levels.

Evangelium Vitae

57.If such great care must be taken to respect every life,...

..."You shall not kill" has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person. And all the more so in the case of weak and defenceless human beings, who find their ultimate defence against the arrogance and caprice of others only in the absolute binding force of God's commandment.
In effect, the absolute inviolability of innocent human life is a moral truth clearly taught by Sacred Scripture, constantly upheld in the Church's Tradition and consistently proposed by her Magisterium. This consistent teaching is the evident result of that "supernatural sense of the faith" which, inspired and sustained by the Holy Spirit, safeguards the People of God from error when "it shows universal agreement in matters of faith and morals".49
Faced with the progressive weakening in individual consciences and in society of the sense of the absolute and grave moral illicitness of the direct taking of all innocent human life, especially at its beginning and at its end, the Church's Magisterium has spoken out with increasing frequency in defence of the sacredness and inviolability of human life....

... The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself, the author and guarantor of that law; it contradicts the fundamental virtues of justice and charity. "Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo,...

... As far as the right to life is concerned, every innocent human being is absolutely equal to all others. This equality is the basis of all authentic social relationships which, to be truly such, can only be founded on truth and justice, recognizing and protecting every man and woman as a person and not as an object to be used. Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being "there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the ?poorest of the poor' on the face of the earth. Before the demands of morality we are all absolutely equal".53

From James Hanink's "Abortion, Prudence & Solidarity"

Thus “the emergency argument” comes to mind.

1. In an emergency, one ought to save as many lives as possible.
2. The abortion license is an emergency.
3. So legislators ought to vote in a way that saves as many pre-born babies
as possible.
4. Sometimes a restrictive proposal that excludes the disabled from
protection is a means for saving as many pre-born babies as possible.
5. So legislators ought to vote for such a proposal.

Indeed, John Finnis holds that there is a duty to do so.

But is “the emergency argument” sound?

Colin Harte reminds us of the old axiom “Women and children first!” Look first to the vulnerable.
But the most vulnerable in our context are the disabled, expressly excluded because some hold them of less value. (Britain, for example, aborts over 90 percent of its unborn babies with spina bifida or Down syndrome.)

There is also a distinction between rescuing lives in an emergency for
which one is not responsible and rescuing lives in an emergency for which
one is wholly or in part responsible. Natural disasters give rise to emergencies,
but rescuers can neither enact nor repeal the laws of nature. Protest
is pointless. Nor are rescuers responsible for emergencies which others,
with whom they have no bond, cause by negligence or with malice. Yet
democratic legislatures, acting in concert, do enact and repeal laws. To
protest legislative wrongs can be efficacious, sometimes more so than
reform from within.  
Sustained resistance and civil disobedience can
overturn a regime that forsakes those for whom it has the greatest
responsibility. Lawmakers, thus, bear a continuing responsibility for the abortion license.The best legislative response to the state-supported killing of the innocent is to end it or, at least, to refuse recognition of it. A legislature can’t divert an earthquake. But it can protect the least little ones, including the disabled among them. Not to do so is to betray the solidarity required by the law’s raison d’être: to secure the common good. How, then, can one
take part in a legislative act that is in contempt of the law’s purpose?

Any law has its first authority, its moral power, from God.
If God’s power is chiefly manifest in mercy, might
not the legislator think that his or her authority, i.e., moral power, is also
chiefly manifest in mercy? Some distinctions are in order. What is at issue
is not a mercy shown to the guilty. The disabled victims of abortion are
innocent. It is rather a mercy shown to those whose lives others have
wrongly made forfeit; and at the legislative level, public mercy stands
vigilant against private breeches of solidarity.
Incrementalism seldom lacks support. But the Christian legislator
might well think that when both innocent life and the foundation of law are
at stake, what we most need are actions which look to the final end itself.
Yet no act is wiser, or more powerful, than an act of mercy. None is more
ordered to the common good.  
Might not the Christian legislator, committed
to the common good, best show mercy by insisting that restrictive abortion bills do not exclude from protection the least little ones, those who are disabled or the victims of a special malice?.

For Further Reading Try Michael Baker on 


& CumLazaro's Blog 

& Luke Gormally sadly endorses the Finnis Incrementalist position [another position on which we categorically disagree [e.g. an hiv+ rapist using a condom is more sinful using one; condemning the nun offering surrogacy for an about to be destroyed frozen embryo etc]