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Ordinary and Extraordinary Means of Conserving Human Life

ISBN: 978-0-935372-55-7
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Author: Archbishop Daniel Cronin
274 pages +28

Originally published as a doctoral dissertation, Archbishop Daniel Cronin’s survey of moral theology on the topic of ordinary and extraordinary means remains the standard reference work on this critically important distinction for end-of-life decision making. Continuously cited since its original publication, this revised edition brings the classic text back into print after ten years. Cronin examines all of the major authors from the Catholic historical tradition, showing how the difference between ordinary and extraordinary means has developed over the years with the progress of medical science. "Cronin identifies and applies Church teaching to medical treatment from the thirteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. At each point in history, advances in medicine, with case-specific examples, are analyzed in relationship to the obligation to conserve life. Cronin shows how, centuries before society was faced with questions like those raised by the case of Terri Schiavo, theological insight into a set of consistently recognized obligations to conserve life has provided both physician and patient with moral direction. Th at same tradition also identifi es a relative norm under which these imperatives would not be considered obligatory.” (Marie T. Hilliard, from the Foreword)