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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Archdiocese of Melbourne on Maria Korp

I'm very glad to read a strong objection from the Archdiocese of Melbourne in the papers today. There was also this strong opposition from the Archdiocese, the Uniting Church and the Presbyterian Church in Melbourne. I was taken aback by the reported reactions from Fr. Norman Ford of the Caroline Chisholm Centre for Health Ethics and from Fr. Stan Lim of Corpus Christi College. I think Fr. Stan's compassion, and that of Alan Nichols of the Anglican Church, is going the wrong way in believing that it is best to hasten the death of the dying by withholding food and water. They might be excused for thinking that Mrs. Korp is dying -- no one has said so either way. I hope they're absolutely sure about this. On the other hand, if you accept the premise that Mrs. Korp is not conscious, then she is not in pain, and there is no pain to prolong. Some comatose people actually do recover and she's only been in a coma for five months. I also have to tell myself that Fr. Norman is not wrong if he truly believes that Mrs. Korp was no longer able to absorb nutrition. Yet I can't help doubting that premise since this is the first report I've seen about that. Nor has there been any explicit statement from Mr. Gardner that Mrs. Korp was dying BEFORE they stopped feeding her. I guess my main concern is how such premises came up when there have been no explicit statements about them. What if everyone is working on the wrong premise?

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