.- In comments on the case of Inmaculada Echevarria, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and has requested that her respirator be removed, Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla of Cartagena, President of the Spanish Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Family and Human life, said this week “those who lack the light of faith end up desiring death, and that is what is happening with the pro-euthanasia groups.”
During a radio interview, the Spanish bishop said, “There are more suicides in Spain than car accidents, because this is a culture that wants to obscure and extinguish the light of the faith or provoke an eclipse that ends up stripping all meaning from love, from suffering, and from the special situations of life.”
Bishop Reig Pla noted that Echevarria is “a widow who does not have any family. She lives in a state of loneliness.” Therefore she is susceptible to manipulation by “those who promote euthanasia.”
“The principle of her own autonomy and the fact that she can demand to have her respirator removed is a principle proper to every patient, but it is linked to what society must provide to each person. In this case, the principle of the doctors is the principle of doing good, and they have to help the one who is need,” Bishop Reig Pla continued.
He noted that Echevarria is being cared for “in a Catholic hospital. Life is a gift from God, it is the greatest social good, and we live together in order to help and support one another, and more so in cases of infirmity. It would be a barbarity if we were not to respond to her needs; a means that could seem extraordinary because of the number of years she has spent in the hospital, but is never disproportionate.”
Bishop Reig Pla said Echevarria needs to be surrounded by “good people, company and affection that will inspire in her desire to keep living, and to proclaim to her Jesus Christ, the one who can give a specific answer to her suffering.”
In Rome the Superior General of the Order of St. John of God, which administers the hospital where Echevarria is cared for, has “definitively prohibited” the removal of Echevarria’s respirator by hospital workers or personnel. Such an act would “be a betrayal of the spirit of the Order.”