Religion: Modified Euthanasia

Thou shalt not kill; but need'st not strive Officiously to keep alive.

This couplet by 19th century Poet Arthur Hugh Clough was quoted last week by one of the Church of England's top theologians, Dr. Robert Mortimer, Bishop of Exeter, to summarize his view of how doctors should take care of their very old, very sick patients.

Preaching to a congregation of M.D.s, Bishop Mortimer said that "it is generally the Christian view that while there is a moral obligation to maintain the life of old persons by all ordinary means, there is no obligation to use extraordinary means"—that is, medical procedures that...

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