Can a Catholic sign a Do Not Resusitate (DNR) order in order to be kept off life support equipment if this is the only way to be kept alive or resusitated. This subject has come up in my family recently and its important to me that I receive an answer to this as soon as possible. Thank you.
Context is very important here. If a young person signs such an order, this means that should he or she happen to need resuscitation from from an electrical shock or some such situation, it would not be given. On the other hand if a person is elderly and resuscitiation would involve quality of life issues, then it could be appropriate. In so far as such a resuscitation would be considered “extraordinary means,” a Catholic may sign such a request. But it would be imprudant for a young person to sign such an order.
Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.