Physician-Assisted Suicide Talk at Investiture

The Defense of the Faith Forum at Investiture weekend featured Professor John Keown of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, addressing the topic of physician-assisted suicide. Speaking to a crowd of more than 200 knights and dames, Keown offered an engaging overview of the issue in defense of the inviolability of human life, emphasizing the importance of defining terms to avoid muddying the conversation.


Keown discussed the scope of legalization and how the Netherlands and in the U.S., the state of Oregon, have descended a slippery slope toward an alarming expansion of physician-assisted suicide. Ultimately, arguments based on bodily autonomy, public opinion, and beneficence all fall short of justifying legalization, he said, arguing that legalization is not a foregone conclusion. By appealing to people’s innate goodness, it is possible to turn the tide.


The Defense of the Faith Committee used this program to introduce materials intended to equip the Federal Association regions to discuss the topic further. Distributed in hard copy over Investiture weekend, the complete packet will be emailed to the membership in January, with modules being sent out individually every other month beginning in February. The topics covered are:


  1. The Nature of Suffering;
  2. Is the Life of One Who Suffers Still “Good?”;
  3. End of Life Decisions in the Light of the Catholic Understanding of the Whole Person—Body and Soul;
  4. Ordinary and Extraordinary Means of Preserving Life;
  5. Assisted Suicide, Euthanasia, and the Slippery Slope; and
  6. End of Life Care Instructions


The packet also includes additional resources for further reading. If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like more information, please contact: Chuck Cornelio at ccornelio4696@gmail.com or Dan Krieger at djkriegerGA@gmail.com.