Organ Donation


I understand that organ donation is allowed by the Church under certain circumstances (eg, informed consent, that the donor’s life was not deliberately shortened to obtain the organ, etc) but I’m wondering what the position is *viz a viz *the resurrection of the body. Surely Catholic theology holds that we will, one day, need our bodies again, and accordingly, we’ll need our organs too?


From the CCC:

2296 Organ transplants are in conformity with the moral law if the physical and psychological dangers and risks incurred by the donor are proportionate to the good sought for the recipient. Donation of organs after death is a noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as a manifestation of generous solidarity. It is not morally acceptable if the donor or those who legitimately speak for him have not given their explicit consent.
It is furthermore morally inadmissible directly to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons.

I thought about this a lot too when I was considering becoming an organ donor. I decided, in light of the above, that it was morally right and good. I am proud and happy to have that little heart on my drivers license.

What is impossible for Man is possible for God. The resurrection of the body is a mystery which God will make happen for us all in ways we can’t imagine.


Well not really.

Catholic theology holds that in the resurrection our souls will be united with a glorified body.

I am sure God can provide whatever we will need, and anything missing due to defect, disease, accident, or donation in charity. After all, our bodies turn to dust in the grave or are cremated and yet can still be resurrected.

Try not to be so literal.


Your posts are always true…thank you for being a faithful source to CAF.


This issue has been discussed since at least the time of St. Augustine in the context of cannibalism. Today we have not only organ donation but an understanding of how the atoms our bodies are made of have often been parts of many other people in the past.

We know that our glorified bodies will be the same bodies as we have in this life, but beyond that we are in the realm of speculation. Perhaps God will “multiply” the matter of which our bodies are made, analogous to the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, so that from a smaller amount of original matter we end up with a larger amount of matter (if glorified bodies are even made of matter as we know it from modern physics) which is nonetheless still identifiable with the original matter of which one’s body was made.


Very true. Each of us has thousands of atoms that used to be part of the body of Jesus when He was incarnate on earth (and I’m not talking about Jesus in the Eucharist) :smiley:

However, don’t get the big-head about it; each of us also has thousands of atoms that used to be part of the body of Judas Iscariot :bigyikes:

Back on topic, when I die they can take anything that’s still working and give it to someone else to prolong his/her life. However, I have decided that I will not receive any transplanted organs that will cause problems with my immune system. So y’all’s organs are safe from me.


"However, I have decided that I will not receive any transplanted organs that will cause problems with my immune system."

It is very easy to make such statements in full health when you haven’t been placed in that situation.

Best wishes,


You are, of course, correct. However, the fact that I am officially a geezer and have accomplished most of what I am going to accomplish in this life also makes that statement easy to say. In addition, we (my wife and I) have watched a lot of medical programs, and we have seen the life disruptions and financial problems brought about by transplantations of major organs. No thanks.


That’s fine Dave. You are free to choose. However, don’t think that you would avoid having your life disrupted. You would still have to face the choice of either dialysis or death. Now, seeing as this is a Catholic forum you are probably unconcerned about the latter, as was I when renal failure hit me. But, we don’t just live for ourselves, do we? Let’s take the worse case scenario. You are told you require a transplant or dialysis or you will be dead within 12 months. Because you don’t want your ‘life disrupted’ you decide to cash in your chips. Question is: What about the effect your decision would have on your wife, family and friends? Metaphorically speaking, you could have stepped out of the path of a speeding juggernaut but chose not to. What a waste.

Throwaway comments are easy to make. But, God forbid, should the time ever come when you need to act on them will you stick to your guns?

Best wishes,
(Still above ground 2 years after transplant: thanks to a salt of the earth donor and his/her family).


My “throwaway comment” is under the assumption that my wife will have predeceased me. Her health is deteriorating, and so I do have to stick around to take care of her as it continues to deteriorate. Fortunately, my major systems are in fine shape; I recently bicycled a 16.2-mile round trip to work in 60:40. Not bad for 67 years old :smiley:


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