A journal of academic theology

Did John Paul II’s Allocution on Life-Sustaining Treatments Revise Tradition? A Response to Thomas A. Shannon and James J. Walter

In September 2005 this journal published an article by Thomas Shannon and James Walter on the Catholic tradition surrounding assisted nutrition and hydration (ANH) in end-of-life care. Responding to this essay, moral theologians John Paris, James Keenan, and Kenneth Himes take exception to what they perceive as a proposition promoted in that article, that John Paul II’s allocution “Life-Sustaining Treatments and the Vegetative State” significantly altered traditional Catholic teaching on ANH. The authors examine that proposition in the light of the tradition and the norms for assessing the weight to be accorded various papal pronouncements.

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