Catholic Dictionary




Whatever means are commonly considered ordinary for the preservation of human life. They are ordinary if generally accepted as such or if they are readily available to persons in the time, place, and circumstances in which they find themselves. Such means are food, shelter, and the avoidance of unnecessary bodily danger; also the use of accepted medical and health facilities. Assumed in this matter of preserving life is the sincere desire to remain alive or to keep another person alive according to the dispositions of divine providence. There is no question of directly intending to terminate one's own or another's earthly existence.