Misconceptions about the Catholic Church and End-of-Life Issues

Father James Fenstermaker

The Catholic Church teaches that life is sacred from conception until natural death. But what does that mean in the context of end-of-life issues?

Fr. Fenstermaker, pastor of Holy Cross Parish n South Easton, Mass., published a column on June 14 in “Wicked Local Easton” that addresses misconceptions about the Church and end-of-life concerns.

The short answer is that the Church does not believe in prolonging life as long as possible, death should not be uncomfortable and it is a sacred event.

“The question of what constitutes ordinary and extraordinary measures can often be confusing,” Fr. Fenstermaker said. “… The term “extraordinary measures” was developed by Catholic theologians in the 16th century in an attempt to grapple with the bioethical implications of prolonging human life. Every treatment must be understood and evaluated within this context.”

The complete reflection is published on Stonehill College’s website.

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