It is a miracle I never thought would happen, but it does demonstrate just how far State Atheism is pushing unlikely groups of believers together: I agree with Dr. Barry Morgan’s recent comments to the Governing Body of the Church in Wales. They concern the Welsh Government’s plan to go ahead with a system of “presumed consent” for organ donation. It is not merely that such a system would be morally reprehensible, but that, among governments, that of Wales is the least accountable since the Politburo. Until today, I wasn’t even aware that such a course of action was being considered, and there is no mention of it on the Welsh Government website (that I can find, the website is, to say the least, confusing and unhelpful).
The Catholic Church teaches quite clearly that organ transplantation “is not morally acceptable if the donor or those who legitimately speak for him have not given their explicit consent” (CCC 2296). The integrity of the body is an essential element of the Christian mystery (already somewhat undermined by the concessions in the 1983 CIC to cremation, and the description in the Catechism of organ donation after death – which nevertheless still requires explicit consent – as “noble and meritorious”, particularly given the widely known difficulties which arise from the complexities of defining the point of death), and the teaching should be preserved in order not only to ensure harmony with Tradition, but also because not to do so steps yet again away from the true understanding of the wholeness of the human person and towards making people mere utilities, units to be “farmed” when their usefulness as living things is at an end. Also, it must be clearly stated, the Catholic Church continues to believe in the resurrection of the body: in the first place, the bodily resurrection of Jesus and in the second, the resurrection of believers at the Parousia. This gives a certain meaning and importance to even the dead body which one does not find in, say, Eastern religions, or, of course, secular atheism. Indeed, I would argue that Islamic traditions concerning the use of the body after death tend more towards what would have been considered fitting in Catholic Christendom than those exercised in the modern Europe. (Islam also has a similar teaching to that of the Catholic Church on organ donation, i.e. the consent of the person must be given, in the case of the dead either by his heirs or himself before death, organs must not be sold, it is haraam to kill one person to save another e.g. by removing a vital organ.)
At any rate, what is not debatable is that the freedoms and rights of individuals should not be trampled by the State, particularly when the state is not only amoral (bad enough), but immoral. The idea of “presumed consent” in any invasive action or treatment must be fought. Further to all this, I think it behoves the Catholic Bishops of Wales also to speak out against the proposal; I hope they will.