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re: brain death
Question from wondering on 10-10-2008:
Dear Judie,

I found this on the Vatican website.

THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES

EXCERPT OF SCRIPTA VARIA 110

VATICAN CITY 2008

"Why the Concept of Brain Death is Valid as a Definition of Death"

Statement by Neurologists and Others and Response to Objections (pdf)

Excepts: "The brain is dead and the functioning of the other organs is maintained directly and indirectly by artificial means. This state results solely and specifically from the use of modern medical techniques and, with only rare exceptions, it can only be maintained for a limited time. Technology can preserve the organs of a dead person (one appropriately pronounced dead by neurological criteria) for a period of time, usually only hours to days, rarely longer. Nevertheless, that individual is dead."

"Death is the End of a Process" "It ends with brain death and thus the death of the individual."

"St Augustine himself, who certainly did not identify the brain with the mind or the soul, was able to say that when ‘the brain by which the body is governed fails’, the soul separates from the body: ‘Thus, when the functions of the brain which are, so to speak, at the service of the soul, cease completely because of some defect or perturbation – since the messengers of the sensations and the agents of movement no longer act –, it is as if the soul was no longer present and was not [in the body], and it has gone away’ (De Gen. ad lit., L. VII, chap. 19; PL 34, 365)."

This entire report can be seen at:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/index.htm

Shouldn't we be able to rely on this?

Answer by Judie Brown on 10-11-2008:
Dear Wondering

Yes, and at the same time that this Academy issued their statement, members of the same Academy issued a disesnting statement which cannot be found on the Vatican web site. the story about that dissenting view is on the Internet, reported by the Catholic News Agency: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0702230.htm

The following web site has information on that dissenting view (http://www.thelifeguardian.org/)

Vatican Academy members do not speak as the magisterium of the Church, and regardless of what they may have said, the magisterium has said nothing.

Judie Brown


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