Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is Man.
–from “Essay on Man” by Alexander Pope
Those immortal words, some of the only words I remember from my many English literature classes, came to me as I was writing a diatribe against the Vatican and Catholic dogma. I had had a splendid time venting and coming up with such phrases as “Stick that in your Pope pipe and smoke it!” But when I got deep into the matter, trying to understand God and to explain Him/Her/It to others, I was forced to admit that such a task was well beyond me. Not that I think Il Papa qualified either. He has undoubtedly spent much more time thinking about God than I have, but there is a barrier between us and Understanding that no amount of study or contemplation can pierce.
So be it. I know my limitations. Suffice it to say that I disagree strongly with the Vatican on a great many subjects, including the right-to-die debate as pertains to people in persistent vegetative states. I can’t speak to God’s intentions, I can only look at the human side of the issue, and that is that someone in a persistent vegetative state, though alive, does not really have a life. When there is no hope of recovery and the person would die without constant medical intervention, only unhappiness can come from prolonging that sad semblance of life. Just let them go.