Need guidance on end-of-life decision making?
New York’s Catholic bishops have a booklet for you.
The 15-page booklet, "Now and at the Hour of Our Death: A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decision Making," is being published by the New York State Catholic Conference, the public-policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops.
It was written with the input of a committee of moral theologians and the state’s bishops, who approved the final document. It aims to answer ethical questions in an era of rapid medical advances and an aging population.
The booklet explains the moral distinction between "ordinary means" and "extraordinary means" of preserving life, and it informs Catholics that they "are not morally bound to prolong the dying process by using every medical treatment available."
The guide also encourages Catholics to designate health-care proxies to act in their stead if they are incapacitated; a proxy form is included in the booklet. The Catholic conference said that a proxy form can be a morally appropriate advance-care planning tool to ensure that end-of-life wishes follow a Catholic’s religious beliefs.
The booklet is available from the Catholic conference for free, and additional hard copies are available for purchase. Call 518-434-6195 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.