By Grace Kim

As mentioned in previous articles, there are many factors that influence organ donors and affect the rate of organ donation, such as asking potential donors a second time or offering incentives through self-interest motivations. An important aspect to factor in organ donors and donation is religion. In many countries outside of the United States, religion is not often as separated from the state. Even in the United States, while there is a separation between the state and the church, religion plays subtle roles in forming policies and cultural ideas.

Due to many controversies and misunderstandings especially in the light of the new term, “brain death,” the effects result in a decrease in donations and organ donor registrations. The Roman Catholic Church has a clear, specific stance on organ donation and death.

As stated in the original article, “The most important and fundamental principle is that the donation of organs and tissues is a good and worthy thing. Pope John Paul II stated that, ‘We should rejoice that medicine, in its service to life, has found in organ transplantation a new way of serving the human family, precisely by safeguarding the fundamental good of the person.’”

There is much difficulty in determining what death means. Traditionally, death is defined when the soul is separated from the body; however, this cannot be measured in exact terms. In terms of organ donations and transplantation, the Church has declared that the criteria for “brain death” are considered adequate and can be considered actual death.

It is important to recognize that the Church does not make technical decisions and instead works to bridge medical science and religion together, focusing on moral certainty.

To read the original article, click here.