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Paul Kokoski Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Terry Schiavo's fight for life in a Florida hospital is a strong reminder that euthanasia is senseless and inhumane and should be opposed in all its forms.
Our present culture tends to consider suffering the epitome of evil. In such a culture there is a great temptation to resolve the problem of suffering by eliminating it at the root, by hastening death so that it occurs at the moment considered most suitable.
As we approach Easter we are reminded that in Christian teaching suffering, especially suffering during the last moments of life, has a special place in God's saving plan; it is in fact a sharing in Christ's passion.
Schiavo's husband Michael claims that his wife Terry had told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially. However, even the pleas of gravely ill people who sometimes ask for death are not to be understood as implying a true desire for euthanasia; in fact, it is almost always a case of an anguished plea for help and love. True compassion leads to sharing another's pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear.
Unfortunately, their exists in contemporary culture a certain Promethean attitude which leads people to think that they can control life and death by taking the decisions about them into their own hands. What really happens in this case is that the individual is overcome and crushed by a death deprived of any prospect of meaning or hope.