Restoring the Culture of Life
(The Ethics of Life in Healthcare and Society)
by Ron Panzer
For all those who come after,
so that the ethics of life awaken within you,
and you find the Way from night into day.
May we remember the words of Sister Mary Bernard
(St. Bernadette Soubirous):
"Every human being is precious in God's eyes."
To our Teachers, who lead us out of darkness and into Light
To the Beloved who calls us to His embrace
To all those who have been called to serve
I am grateful for the example of those many healthcare professionals who have encouraged and inspired me not only by what they teach, but by what they do and have done in loving service to man in this world. I have been especially inspired by the work and textbooks written by Prof. Kim Kuebler, DNP and the example of pro-life end-of-life care demonstrated by Cristen Krebs, DNP at the hospice she founded.
I would especially like to thank the many advocacy organizations and friends who have listed articles that were relevant resources for this work and offered feedback and suggestions to make this work more accurate and clear.
I especially want to thank Julie Grimstad, Rich Little, DDS; Chaplain Virginia L. Franchi, MABS; Tom Reynolds, MS, MTh, MRE; and Vickie Travis who reviewed drafts and provided many helpful suggestions to improve some of these chapters. Dianne N Irving, PhD, provided much help in recommending the indispensable books that were necessary for me to study and even begin this work. She provided constructive criticism regarding certain portions of this series (esp. "Man and Our Awesome God"), as well as clarifying the definition of the natural moral law, the law of double-effect, and answering several questions I had about the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas.
As always, I am grateful to my wife and son for the love and joy they bring me every day. I am also grateful to my father and two uncles, physicians all, as well as three other physicians and other professionals in my family who demonstrated what perseverance it requires to serve in this field. Having literally lived and later worked in my father's office during my early years, it is clear, this would never have been written without his lifelong work in healthcare.
I am ever grateful to my wonderful teachers, true friends, who demonstrated the love-infused ethics of life and displayed deep reverence for God and man. Credit is due to those teachers who have blessed me through their love as well as their teaching. Any errors in this work are solely my own.
I am most grateful to the dear Lord who is truly God with us and shows us the way!
Note: In writing this work, I would like to remind the reader that I am merely a student and have benefited from the instruction of many. When I first felt led to begin this work, I realized that I am much less qualified to begin to speak about these lofty matters than so many, and least qualified of my brother and sister seekers of the Truth.
I am merely man and have made many of the mistakes common to man that are described in this work. Like many others, I have sought to serve our dear Lord, yet I doubted whether it was even possible for me to write this. It was clear, however, that the work needed to be done.
To say that the ideas presented here are solely my own would not be fitting or correct. For every sentence written, there could be dozens of footnotes or references providing support for what is written here, and hundreds of books could be listed in a complete bibliography. I have shared here some of what has been taught, that is all.
I should explain that this book has been written twice: once before, and what you have before you. I designed the first version as logically and matter-of-factly as possible, but when I was done, it became clear that it was meant to be written in a completely different way from as best as I could determine, in a way that would point toward and reveal the leading of the Holy Spirit that is the most essential aspect of work within the healthcare field, patient advocacy and human society.
This book has been written as a prayerful meditation on the divine and natural moral law that guides the culture of life, explaining the virtues such as charity or love, faith, justice, mercy, fortitude, temperance, prudence and the principles that guide moral health care and scientific inquiry/experimentation such as the "Precautionary Principle" and the Law of Double-Effect. It speaks to the duty of man in the world, the duty we share as brothers and sisters in the world, and how we may practice reverence for life in all we do.
It demonstrates the foundation for the worldview that supports and reveres the life God gives us from birth, childhood within a traditional family setting (with a mother and father), through young adulthood emerging into man, and then "man in the world," especially man or woman working within the healthcare fields serving those in need. This is how the culture of life naturally arises and is explained in the book. It is based on the divine law revealed in the Ten Commandments and the natural moral law and especially the Bible.
This book is not meant to be read straight through all at once, and there is an approach to understanding some points from various perspectives, resulting in repetition. If you wish to read something quickly, skimming it for the main points, that can be done, but you would most likely completely miss the spirit in which this book was written, and the purpose for writing it.
This book is meant to be prayerfully read with an open heart, by those who are actually seeking to hear and understand what the Spirit of God would have us understand about what healthcare really involves and what principles must guide it if life is to be affirmed and the lives of the vulnerable protected. It is based upon biblical principles and as such, encourages the reader to continue to study, pray and meditate upon how He would have us serve His children, and then put those principles into practice in serving our brothers and sisters in this world.
Some may say that they "could have written this differently." Well, I actually wrote it differently before, and then discarded everything I had written, to re-do the entire book as led by the Spirit and the teachings found in the Bible. I pray that you will take the time to truly consider what is written from beginning to end, prayerfully, and see if it does not show how to restore the culture of life!
If you believe you are well-informed about reverence for life, pro-life or patient advocacy, or even philosophy and theology, and all that they involve, and really have nothing to learn, perhaps this book is not for you. But for those who seek an answer, who seek to be closer to God, who seek to connect with their patients through loving service, who hunger for a way to restore sanity to our society and healthcare in particular, this book provides such an answer ... one that is sure, because it is based upon what God has revealed to us, in the divine law and in the natural moral law. This book does not go into detail about the organizations behind the culture of death; this is explored in great detail in the Stealth Euthanasia: Health Care Tyranny in America book.
It is my hope that this work serves to awaken a renewed spirit of reverence for life within the hearts of the people, within you the reader, and especially those who serve the needy wherever they may be. It is meant to help bring a renewed spirit of reverence for the God who gives that life to us to serve and care for. It is our very great privilege to serve those in need!
It is my hope that those who seek an answer to the evils of this time, neither place their faith in the actions of the courts or governments of the world, nor fill themselves with bitterness and blame those who are leaders of the culture of death. When societal structures fail, when governments become tyrannical, when those who should care actually kill, we must look to the One who has given us our life and this beautiful world. We need to remember how wonderful life can be when lived as He would have us be, and then live as He would have us live.
Next: When the Shadows Come
Note: Cover picture: Come Unto Me painting by Charles B Chambers