To favour a “dignified death” with the requirement of not incurring in “therapeutic obstinacy”. This is what the Redemptorist missionary Marciano Vidal (San Pedro de Trones, León, 1937) advocates in the latest issue of our magazine ‘Icono’ published by Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro (February 2021).
In the section ‘Para Pensar’ Vidal states that “the expression right to die with dignity should not be understood as the formulation of a right, in the precise sense of the legal system” and admits that “it is obvious that the semantic content does not refer directly to dying, but to the way of dying”.
On the other hand, the professor emeritus of the Comillas Pontifical University stresses that “it is an unavoidable obligation of society to plan and offer health care for the final stage of life” and that “this special and qualified attention is nowadays given concrete form in the organisation and provision of palliative care for all people”.
Furthermore, Marciano Vidal proposes “eliminating pain by accepting palliative sedation”. Vidal assures that “the right of the person to die with dignity implies a series of concrete demands that must be planned by the authorities and carried out by professionals”.
Finally, on the moral discernment of euthanasia and assisted suicide with direct medical procedures, Marciano Vidal stresses that “it favours the death of a person who is not necessarily in the terminal phase at their request” and underlines that “these suicidal and homicidal actions, even if they are in the terminal phase, do not have the status of euthanasia as they are not strictly medical”.
Marciano Vidal is a professor emeritus at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas and was director of the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Morales (ISCM) in Madrid. Internationally renowned, he has played a decisive role in the renewal of Catholic moral theology in recent decades. He has published, among other works: “La estimativa moral”, “Moral cristiana en el nuevo Catecismo”, “La propuesta moral de Juan Pablo II” and “Feminismo y ética. Cómo ‘feminizar’ la moral”.
Other works include “Historia de la Teología Moral. La moral en la Edad Moderna (XV-XVI centuries)” and “Historia de la Teología Moral. De Trento al Vaticano II”, on St. Alphonsus and his triumph of benignity over rigorism.