By Diogenes ( articles ) | Sep 21, 2007
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Jeff Israely of Time magazine is at it again, this time acting as megaphone for an Italian doctor, Lina Pavanelli, who claims that the death of Pope John Paul II was an example of euthanasia.
That's a sensational charge, and you'd expect the author to have some solid evidence. So what does Israely tell us about the doctor's investigation?
She bases this conclusion on her medical expertise...
Oh, good. She's not just any old doctor; she's one with expertise!
... and her own observations of the ailing pontiff on television, as well as press reports and a subsequent book by John Paul's personal physician.
In other words Dr. Pavanelli is providing a diagnosis for a patient she never met. But she did see him on TV, so what more could you ask?
Why would a mass-circulation magazine take this story seriously? The giveaway comes just past halfway through the Time article:
The polemics come just as the Vatican again weighed in on euthanasia.
Right. The Vatican has only recently issued a statement declaring that the use of a feeding tube to sustain comatose patients is morally obligatory in most cases. Euthanasia proponents in Italy were annoyed with that statement, and Pavanelli, writing in a magazine known for its opposition to Church teaching on the subject, claimed that by the Vatican's standards, John Paul II should have had a feeding tube installed several weeks before his death.
Offense is sometimes the best defense, and if you claim that the Pope chose to end his own life, that claim, no matter how absurd, will distract some attention from the Church's moral reasoning.
But the argument won't fly. The Pope did have a feeding tube installed, in his last days. Before that, the tube was unnecessary because-- summon up your medical expertise and see if you can follow this-- he was eating by himself.
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