Dear Friends in Christ,
As faithful Catholics, we share a common belief that ultimately we shall be together, united with the Lord Jesus. But in our complex world of advanced medical technology and life- prolonging treatments, we can easily become distracted and confused by the many choices presented to us. It is likely that many of us will face difficult decisions alongside our loved ones. Our faith teaches that we are held in the embrace of a loving God and that one day we shall see Him face to face. We also know that human life is a precious gift from God, and should not be treated lightly. We will not live forever; yet as believers, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. “For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
The medical field has been greatly blessed with advances in science and technology which may alleviate suffering from sickness but also may present distressing questions regarding use of such technology in order to sustain human life. As we face the reality of death, this may lead some to express support of euthanasia or assisted suicide. These expressions represent a false understanding of the gift of life and personal freedom. The Church teaches that life is a gift from God and that we are stewards of that gift, not masters.
We need treatments at the end of our lives that are morally sound and that respect both the dignity of the human person, made in the image of God, and our destiny to live with Him forever in heaven. Our Church’s moral teachings address many of the concerns that burden us in this complex culture. Consequently, we have consulted with professionals in Catholic bioethics and law to assist in preparing this Health Care Power of Attorney for the state of South Carolina.
You are neither legally nor morally required to have an Advanced Medical Directive. However, we have offered you this document to assist you in making sure that your care and treatment is consistent with the Catholic faith and your wishes.
May Mary, the Mother of God, intercede for us now and at the hour of our death.
In the Lord’s Peace,
Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone Bishop of Charleston