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German bishops back organ donation, say 'brain death' is adequate measure

August 03, 2015

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The Catholic bishops of Germany have issued a statement encouraging the donation of human organs, provided that the donor is dead.

The statement, apparently written to counter public pressure against organ donation, was prepared by the bishops’ doctrinal committee. In a preface to the 30-page document, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the president of the German bishops’ conference, says that donating organs is a “generous act of charity.”

The bishops’ document says that “brain death,” defined as the permanent cessation of all brain functions, is an adequate measure of death.

The bishops stress that organ donation should be voluntary, and the law should require “express written consent.”


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