Bishop Virginio Bressanelli of Neuquen, Argentina has called for the life of 45-year-old Marcelo Diez, who has been in a coma since a 1994 traffic accident, to be spared.
“We are dealing with the mystery of the life of a brother over which no third party can claim ownership or absolute authority,” the bishop said in an Aug. 15 statement.
“From a human point of view, it is a life that we must respect, care for and sustain until his condition is reversed, as his parents were hoping, or until his journey comes to a natural end.”
Bishop Bressanelli made his statement in response to efforts by local attorney José Gerez, on behalf of Diez's sisters, to have the patient's hydration and nutrition removed.
He noted that although Diez is in a persistent coma, he is in stable physical health.
“He is not connected to anything. He is not terminally ill. He is not receiving any kind of therapy, and therefore he is not receiving extraordinary treatment that is artificially prolonging his life. He does not show signs of experiencing any physical, psychological or spiritual suffering either.”
“The reactions can be seen on his face, which lights up when he hears music or appears tired when something fatigues him,” he added.
For this reason, “To withdraw the care is receiving today would be to condemn him to an atrocious death. It would constitute euthanasia by omission and the crime of abandonment,” the bishop said.
“As men and women who love life and believe in the God of life, we should recognize that this is a mystery that transcends us. Sometimes there are situations we cannot control or address with solutions or significant improvements,” he noted.
In such cases, the appropriate response is to “renew our capacity to love, humbly give up our desire for omnipotence and do whatever we can for the one who is in need, trusting in the providence of God our Father, who in these cases, is carrying out a plan of love for the good of many,” Bishop Bressanelli said.