The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has reportedly invited Dr. Ira Byock (pictured) to teach an online course titled "Caring for the Whole Person" regarding Catholic moral teachings on end-of-life issues. While he describes himself as "a leading palliative care physician and public advocate for improving care through the end of life," he is a secular humanist who supports abortion, Planned Parenthood, and special rights for homosexuals.
Bobby Schindler of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network thinks the archdiocese should have chosen someone whose views on the topic are closer to the faith's.
"There are pro-life physicians that are available that could do this type of training," he asserts. "That's what's so troubling … there are physicians and other medical ethicists that are available that would do the training that is consistent with the teachings of the Church when it comes to end-of-life issues."
Schindler submits that choosing Dr. Byock – who believes food and hydration tubes can be removed to starve and dehydrate a person to death – to teach the course sends a confusing message to the laity.
"That is not consistent with the teachings of the Church, which still considers the administration of feeding tubes as basic and ordinary care," asserts the proponent of upholding human dignity through service to the medically vulnerable. "Dr. Byock has made comments contrary to the administration of food and hydration where he refers to it as artificial life support. That is not consistent with Catholic teaching, and it was not consistent in my sister's case."
His sister, Terri Schiavo, died in 2005 by state-enforced euthanasia following a high-profile and lengthy court battle. She passed away due to starvation and dehydration 14 days after the court ordered that her nutrition and hydration tubes be removed.