By the grace or Our Lord Jesus Christ and the prayers of the Immaculate Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe I have been able to fight the unspeakable crimes of contraception, abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, eugenics, genetic engineering, immoral vaccines produced from the stem cell lines of aborted babies, IVF and other immoral reproductive technologies. I have been a witness to the Gospel of Life and remonstrated with Presidents, Congressman, Senators, Governors, Mayors, District Attorneys, Attorney Generals, the Department of Health and Hospitals, Administrators of Hospitals, physicians, attorneys and even Bishops & Priests. I had the support of most of the Orthodox Christians in this state and country even when they were not brave enough to speak the truth themselves.
Then came the "untouchable": Organ Transplantation! It was almost unspeakable and incomprehensible to most citizens in this country that a Christian could tell his fellow brothers and sisters that when they sign up for Organ Transplantation, which would take vital organs from them, that they were assisting a group of physician's in taking their organs while they were still alive. They would technically become an accessory of murder.
The mere mention of this sent Christians and Pastors reeling with disbelief and indignation that I would even suggest such a thing. Yet when approached with the definition of death that all Orthodox Christians believe in: the separation of body and soul, these same people began to feel uncomfortable with the fact that the Church teaches that a soul still animates the body while the heart of the person is still beating.
After meeting with Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, hospital administrators and the nuns at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center on the subject of Organ Transplantation; the hospital decided to side with LOPA. This occurred even after the administrator of LOPA admitted that it dealt with "Quality of Life". She told me in front of everyone present that she would give her organs for donation when her quality of life became poor and it didn't matter to her if she was physiological still alive (heart beating and lungs ventilated).
For twenty years I refused to take part in organ procurement at the hospital and the supervisor would have to get another Respiratory Therapist to run the ventilator for LOPA patients. When the hospital refused to honor my Catholic faith and conscience on the matter of organ transplantation I gave out the "Beating Heart Donors" article in Discover Scientific Magazine at the hospital. For this I was fired. After working 32 years in Respiratory Therapy and Cardiopulmonary Technology Administration at Our Lady of Lourdes told me I was fired for stepping outside my scope of practice. They said it was pastoral cares responsibility to inform those at the hospital about such matters. This contradicts the Franciscan Mission Statement of the Hospital.
I wrote this article on Organ Transplantation:
Morally acceptable Organ
Donation and Transplantation:
And Catholic Church teaching
With sacred biblical teaching, I will explain why the donation of vital organs is prohibited and immoral. Our Lord tells us in sacred scripture that "the life is in the blood" (Genesis 9 and Leviticus 17). Physiologically the fundamental building blocks of the human person are at the cellular level. Each cell within the body receives the oxygen and biochemical nutrients it needs for cellular metabolism through the blood. When perfusion (blood flow) ceases at the cellular level, whether through cardiopulmonary arrest, cardiopulmonary insufficiency, shock, exsanguination, etc. and the cells are no longer supplied with blood, metabolic acidosis ensues. For a certain time period this respiratory and/or metabolic acidosis is reversible by reestablishing ventilation and sufficient blood flow (perfusion) to the cells and vital organs. This is the basis of CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support). A person, who arrives at a medical center in cardiac arrest and asystole and is resuscitated, was not dead and then brought back to life. The CPR and ACLS merely reestablished adequate perfusion to the cells and vital organs before such an extensive ischemia and necrosis takes place as to make it irreversible (persistent irreversible catabolic state). Physiologically, death is an irreversible catabolic state leading to total cellular necrosis of the entire human body. The Catholic church defines death as the separation of body and soul. When the soul, which inhabits and animates the human person, no longer has a living organism to embody, it leaves the body and goes to its Creator.
Having thus laid the most basic premises of human physiology, life and death, we will now expose the falsehood and immorality of epivalothanasia (the Greek word for "imposed death") and euthanasia. In organ transplantation the donor's organs are taken while their heart is still beating and their vital organs adequately perfused. The donor is not only alive while his organs are being excised for transplantation, physiologically his organs are very healthy and in good shape. Historically over the past 40 years, in order to justify abortion and epivalothanasia, the American Medical Association has redefined the beginning of life, from the moment of conception to the moment of nidation (implantation) and has redefined death as a cerebral phenomena which they have coined "brain dead". In so doing, the vast majority of the medical establishment has chosen the "quality of life" ethic over the "sanctity of life" ethic. Initially they used cerebral electroencephalographic activity as a measure of classification. Currently, medical institutions have been using a Glascow Coma Scale as a screening criterion for organ donation. A human being's worth or quality of life even after a severe cerebral trauma (subdural hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhage or ventricular bleed, etc.), pathology or anomaly cannot justify any "death dealing excision" of his vital organs. In the worst case scenario, although a medullary or pontine infarct would precipitate nearly immediate fatal demise, to excise organs while a person is alive is murder. To use a utilitarian philosophy to promote or actuate the death of a human person is heinous and immoral. The Church teaches that the donation of non-vital organs that would not cause death or debilitation of the donor is allowable as well as certain tissues such as corneas, bone and skin, which can still be useful for donation even after death.
In conclusion Pope John Paul II reminds us "Neither human life nor the human person can ever be treated as an object to be manipulated or as a disposable commodity; rather each human being at every stage of existence, from conception to natural death, is endowed by God with a sublime dignity that demands the greatest respect in vigilance on the part of individuals, communities, nations and international bodies". Father John Powell states in his bookAbortion: The Silent Holocaust, "The problem of birth control and birth selection are extended inevitably to death selection and death control whether by the individual or by society". Quoting Malcolm Muggeridge, "We will not recognize the true value of our own lives until we affirm the value in the lives of others; however low it flickers or fiercely burns, it is still a Divine Flame which no man dare to presume to put out, be his motives ever so humane and enlightened".
The Orthodox faithful who adhere to these truths should contact their Bishop and Catholic Medical Centers and demand they tell the truth about Organ Transplantation to the patients who attend these hospitals. Considering Organ Procurement is a 20 billion dollar a year industry and even those in the Church have bought into this insidious definition of death, stopping this avalanche is going to be a formidable task.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,
Richard Mahoney, RRT CPT