“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” – Gandalf This paragraph, taken from the great book by J. R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, defines in a very clear way one of the main reasons for the respect of life. Frodo, who is one of the characters in that story, was talking to Gandalf, the wise magician and guide of the group. Both were debating about taking the life of one of the macabre characters in that story: Gollum. It is very common nowadays to lose sight of the foundation of respect for life, the dignity of the human person. We make decisions very lightly, based on mere superficial perceptions and influenced by fashionable ideologies. Dignity, is the honor and respect of the person. It is the intrinsic value that we all possess by the simple fact of being a person. This value is held from the conception of the human being, until his natural death in all stages of a person’s life. These stages of the person’s life, also includes their social conditions. That is, poor and rich; immigrants and refugees, etc. I think it is convenient to quote what the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes says in its number 27: ”Coming down to practical and particularly urgent consequences, this council lays stress on reverence for man; everyone must consider his every neighbor without exception as another self, taking into account first of all His life and the means necessary to living it with dignity,(8) so as not to imitate the rich man who had no concern for the poor man Lazarus.(9) (…) Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator.” Our life is full of decisions, and many of them are Bioethical decisions, that, without realizing, we are taking. But we must form our consciences to make wise decisions (Gandalf – way). Those are decisions of life or death, for ourselves or our neighbor.
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