What does the Church teach about aging and death? Is there a right time to “pull the plug?” Should life be prolonged indefinitely as long as it is technology possible to do so? Is ending a person’s life because of extreme pain the compassionate thing to do?
Stories like the death of Terri Schiavo illustrate how difficult end-of-life questions are to answer. When Pope John Paul II became ill with Parkinson’s disease many people thought it was time for him to step down from the Chair of Peter. But he used is illness as a way of showing the value of human life even in suffering and weakness.
For a clear understanding of the ethical treatment of those near death, we recommend Catholicism and Ethics: A Medical/Moral Handbook or any of the books in this category.