Pope is not an organ donor

Pope Benedict XVI is not registered as an organ donor, the Vatican has disclosed.

Msgr. Georg Gänswein, the Pope’s private secretary, has confirmed that the Holy Father is not enrolled in any organ-donation program, “contrary to some public claims.” It is true that in the past, then-Cardinal Ratzinger carried an organ-donor card, confirming his registration in a donor program in his native Germany. However that document, dating from the 1970s, lost its legal force when Cardinal Ratzinger became the Roman Pontiff.


Interesting. It’s a person’s right, of course, not to be an organ donor if they do not wish to be, there’s no moral failing in not donating one’s organs.

Another immediate thought is that there are various health conditions that might preclude someone’s organs from being accepted for donation. It may be that he has one or more of these conditions and, being told his organs wouldn’t be accepted, didn’t bother to go through with registration.

Not only is it within one’s rights to avoid having an organ donor card, it may actually be detrimental to you and the morality of the hospital staff if your time does come. This is because there are VERY questionable decisions constantly made about which organs can be taken and when. I don’t mean to be too graphic, but let’s just say that most organs that are needed aren’t going to be of any use if they wait until you are dead.

As Pope John Paul II put it in 2000, “Vital organs which occur singly in the body can be removed only after death, that is from the body of someone who is certainly dead . . . This requirement is self-evident, since to act otherwise would mean intentionally to cause the death of the donor in disposing of his organs.”
(Sorry I don’t have the original source of this quote; it’s from a good article at LifeSiteNews.com.)

So I’m with the pope on this one; we have enough problems with respect for life in this culture! Maybe something like the corneas are OK, but everyone should really read up on the viability of organs and our Catholic understanding of bodily death before signing that card…

I am not an organ donor. I am not sure I am comfortable with the methods used in collecting organs after death, or the criteria in deciding when someone is ‘dead’.

Would the organs of an 80- something year old man be particularly useful anyway? I don’t know, but I would have thought by that age, organs would be starting to deteriorate.


see: Vatican: Popes Can’t Be Organ Donors

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