Pope objects to Groningen Protocol

Wes Roth just e-mailed me to let me know that Pope John Paul II made an appeal to end the Groningen Protocol:

The Pope has urged doctors and authorities in the Netherlands to think again about their increasingly far-reaching decisions on euthanasia.
He issued his appeal as it emerged that a group of senior Dutch doctors had formally reported themselves for killing 22 terminally ill newborn babies. Their admissions were intended to force the authorities to agree to regulate the practice.
Pope John Paul II said on Saturday: “I urge the authorities and medical personnel and all those who exercise an educative role to weigh the gravity of these questions.”

The Pope expressed his objections while receiving the new Dutch ambassador to the Vatican, Monique Frank.
He said: “For several years Dutch society, marked by the phenomenon of secularisation, has set in motion a legislative policy concerning the beginning and the end of human life.
“The Holy See has not failed to lay out its clear position and to invite Catholics in the Netherlands always to bear witness to the most absolute respect of the human person, from conception to natural death.”

I’m glad he’s speaking out. But for all the effect he’ll have on today’s Dutch, the Pope may as well shout into the wind.
I’ve commented on the Groningen Protocol before (here, here, and here). I’ll be gone most of tonight so I’ll be blogless, but my initial observation is straightforward: what more do we expect from a radically secular society? A callous disregard for human life flows predictably from a worldview that denies the existence of objective moral standards, much less any obligation to obey them.
Do the Dutch see the well-worn path they’ve started on? They don’t … and this road bends ever downwards. It’s doubly disappointing to see this banal form of evil sprouting in a place that once was a center of Calvinist thought and reformation. For once, the often over-used Nazi comparison applies.
We in America would be wise not to keep following the Dutch.

The Groningen Protocol

I heard something frightening on Hugh Hewitt’s show yesterday. Low-key news coverage reveals that systematic euthanasia of children has begun in the Netherlands:

A hospital in the Netherlands – the first nation to permit euthanasia – recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives.

The Groningen Protocol, as the hospital’s guidelines have come to be known, would create a legal framework for permitting doctors to actively end the life of newborns deemed to be in similar pain from incurable disease or extreme deformities.
The guideline says euthanasia is acceptable when the child’s medical team and independent doctors agree the pain cannot be eased and there is no prospect for improvement, and when parents think it’s best.

I recoiled from this news as soon as I heard it, but some of you reading this are thinking “what’s the big deal?” Let me illustrate the big deal with a hypothetical situation.