Is passive euthanasia accepted by the Catholic Church? For example, if someone had cancer and the person refused treatment, knowing the cancer would probably advance, would that be acceptable?
One is not required to receive medical treatment if it will cause undo suffering w/ little or no benefit.
What if the person would probably receive benefit? The case I mean has nothing to do with suffering. It’s just that the person has simply lost the will to live. If anything, in this case, the person would suffer to death but would find that preferable than living.
Altho passive euthanasia is acceptable, in that the burden of treatment outweighs the probably benefit, in this case it might be good for your friend to talk with a good priest because people sometimes get depressed when they are sick and don’t think clearly. This may not be the case, but there is not enough information to know, and face-to-face is the better way to find out.
First, this is not euthanasia.
A person is under no obligation to obtain extra-ordinary means of care due to cancer. I have known several people who have been in this situation and even survived one bout of cancer only to get another form of cancer. They decided for a variety of reasons that the efforts to try and fight the cancer would not be successful and allowed themselves to accept the natural consequences of the illness.
It is always best for the person to seek advise from their Pastor or spiritual director, but it is my understanding that as long as the person is fully aware of the consequences of such a choice it is not immoral for them to let nature “take it’s course.”
Other areas that might apply include kidney failure and refusing dialysis, heart failure and refusing a transplant, critical injuries from an accident and the person has a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order via a living will. These choices simply mean the person does not want extra-ordinary means taken to save their life, it is not a form of euthanasia.
All of my family have DNR orders due to varied chronic illnesses. It does not mean we have given up or trying to kill ourselves. We simply don’t think that extra-ordinary means are needed in the event of terminal illnesses and even serious injuries that might leave us in a prolonged coma.
Good to know, also about the DNR.
Passive euthanasia is an oxymoron. By definition, euthanasia is a direct action taken with intent to cause death, with the intent to end suffering. Refusing treatment isn’t any sort of euthanasia.
Ah, okay. I’ve seen it listed that way online and was curious. Thanks for clarifying.