Last night I got to see Jesús Aguado for the first time in many months. He was here to give a talk on the work of printer Francisco Cumpián. I also ran into Juan Temboury, who's phone # I'd been fruitlessly searching for. It was great to see them and Jesús's talk was good. (In the photo, the beach at Matalascañas.)
Yesterday Cardenal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, was in Spain to meet with Zapatero. He also gave a talk on human rights in which he defended the necessity of respecting an individual's dignity from conception to its "ocaso natural", its "natural decline". ("Ocaso" literally refers to the setting of the sun.) That's a principle I can certainly defend. What I don't understand is why the catholic church in Italy has gotten so incredibly worked up over the case of Eluana Englaro, the woman who has been in a persistent vegetative state for seventeen years. Is it natural to keep an individual alive in these conditions year after year with a feeding tube? What ethical purpose does that serve? The church is against euthanasia because you risk having humans "play God". That's a good argument. But it works both ways-keeping someone alive indefinitely when there is no rational hope for recovery is certainly not natural. And it's a perversion of the medical profession's obligation to preserve life. Is Elena Englaro living with dignity? Her father doesn't think so: he's been fighting for ten years for the right to get the tubes disconnected. Who do you trust, a loving father or a bunch of fanatics screaming "Elena, wake up, wake up"? Anyway, that's what I've been thinking about this morning.