Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
(Acts 16:11-15; John 15:26-16:4a)
The Catholic Church bases its health care ethics on the human person’s innate dignity from conception until natural death. It exhorts medical professionals to honor this dignity by refusing to take part in abortion, assisted suicide and other contradictory procedures. In doing so, the Church has been criticized. Doctors who refuse to render death-dealing services have also been threatened with censure. Jesus warns of such developments in today’s gospel.
He is telling his disciples to expect persecution because they follow his teaching. He has specifically in mind the harassment of Christians for seeing himself as the Son of God. But with the coming of the Spirit to complete his teaching, Jesus would include other doctrines.
Much of Catholic health care ethics is derived from natural law and not from explicitly gospel sources. Nevertheless, Catholics will have to abide by it even if it means not practicing medicine because of state persecution. However, we pray that society comes to recognize the truth of natural law morality. We pray as well that it honors the freedom of citizens to practice their respective religious beliefs.