In the medical practice of all specialities, organ transplantation is the one which most clearly demonstrates the close relationship between death and the new life, the reborn from the ashes, like the Phoenix: The mythological bird that is the symbol of time renovation and life after death.(1)
The topic "donation of organs and transplants" is very contemporary in the earthly setting. About this subject, instructive information from the Spiritual Benefactors are not abundant. The genome project, investigations about the embryonic stem cells and others single the reach of the human science. Not too long ago rejections were still abundant in transplantations, which are now trivial practices of organic regeneration. The accuracy of "in-vivo" experiences aiming at the regeneration of cells and the perspective of improving life progress, although researches are still in their initial phases. This makes the experience of the contemporaneous science auspicious. However, the fear of the unknown hovers over the imaginary of many.
Some spiritualists refuse to authorize, in life, the donation of their own organs after death, alleging that Chico Xavier was not favorable to transplantations. This is not true! It is necessary to explain that Chico Xavier, when affirmed that "My medium ship, my life, was dedicated to my family, my friends, the people. My death is mine. I have this right. Nobody can touch my body; it must go to the mother Earth", said so because while still alive, Chico received several [inopportune] offers that, after his death, his brain could be studied. Hence the understandable fear that his body would be profaned.
We cannot forget that if we are potential donors today, tomorrow we, our friends or relatives could be potential receivers. "For most people, the matter of donation is as remote and distant as death. But for those who are waiting for an organ for transplantation, it means the only possibility of life!" (2) Joanna de Angelis, aware of that importance, stresses out that: " (…) True blessing, the organ transplantation offers the opportunity of continuation of the physical existence, in the condition of moratorium, through which the Spirit continues its organic periplus. After all, life in the body is the way to fullness - which is life in itself, ardent and real" (3)
In an interview to the Tupi Television Network, in August, 1964, Francisco Cândido Xavier said that organ transplantation, in the opinion of the wise Spirits, is a scientific problem that is very legitimate, natural, and must be taken ahead. The Spirits, according to Chico Xavier, do not believe that the organ transplantation is against the natural laws, because it is very natural that, when we get rid of the physical body, we become donators of the useful organs to friends who need them, so that they can make good use of them. (4)
Organ donation to transplantation is perfectly legitimate. Divaldo Franco certificates: If the divine mercy gives us a healthy physic organization, it is fair and valid, after we use this patrimony, offering it, thanks to the valuables achievements of science and technology, to those who came in lacking, so that they can proceed in their journeys.
Also, there are no traumatizing or inhibiting consequences in the spiritual body, compensating for the physical body mutilation. The eye donor will not return blind from the Other World. If such were the case, what would happen to those who have had their bodies consumed by fire or disintegrated in an explosion? (6)
When is it possible to precise that a person is really death? According to the American Society of Neurocardiology the encephalic death is the state of irreversible cessation of all encephalon and neural functions, resulting from edema and massive destruction of encephalic tissues, although the cardiopulmonary activity can be sustained through advanced systems of vital support and ventilation mechanisms.
The great discussion on this subject is the encephalic death, because during it, the organs or parts of the human body are removed for immediate use in patients who need them. To be in encephalic death is to be in an irreversible and definitive cessation of the encephalon, incompatible with life and from which no one has ever recovered. (8) In case there is encephalic death, confirmed through conventional exams and also supported by modern technology resources, only devices can maintain a vegetative state of life, sometimes for indefinite time. It is in such state that it is verified the possibility of the organ donor "dying" and just then his/her organs can be used - since organs without sanguine irrigation do not serve for transplantations. Would it be the euthanasia? Evidently that characterizing the fact as euthanasia lacks scientific argumentation (…) to condemn organ transplantation: euthanasia, by no means would fit in those confirmed cases of encephalic death. (8)
Medicine, all over the world, has, as a certainty, that encephalic death, which includes the death of the encephalic stem (10), will be only evidenced through two neurological exams with an interval of six hours, and another complementary exam. Thus, when it is evidenced that there is the total cessation of the neural function, this patient will be dead, to the unanimity of the medical literature.
Another question sometimes raised is the rejection of the organism after the surgery. Chico Xavier comes to help us, explaining that: André Luiz considers rejection a clearly understandable problem, because the organ of the spiritual body is present in the receptor. The perispiritual organ provokes the elements that defend the body, but the immunological resources, in a near future, naturally, will refrain or prevent it. (11) Experts have developed several immunosuppressant drugs since 1967 (cyclosporine, azathioprine, and corticoids), to reduce the possibility of rejection, then starting organ receptor to have a longer afterlife. (12) Statistically, what happens is that the rate of lift extension through transplantation is extremely high. Thanks not only to the medical techniques, always improving, but also to the immunosuppressors which were considerably developed and extended, currently there are schemes that reach zero percent (0%) of acute cell rejection in the initial phase of the transplantation, which is when they occur. (13)
André Luiz explains that when the cell is removed from its forming structure, in the human body, going laboratorially to other energetic environment, it loses the mental command which orientated it and, this way, starts individualizing itself; when it is implanted in another organism [for example, though transplantation], it will tend to adapt itself to the new command [spiritual] which will revitalize it and then will coordinate its trajectory. (14) This condition is corroborated by Joanna de Angelis when she says: (…)the organ transferred to another body, the perispirit of the living person starts to influence it, automatically, molding it to its needs, which will demand from the benefited patient an urgent moral transformation for the better, so that his/her probation map may also be modified through his/her interior renovation, generating new unchaining causes for the happiness that he/she searches and maybe does not deserve yet. (15)
The Spirits told Kardec that the disconnection of the physical body is a highly specialized process and that can last minutes, hours, days, months. (16) Although after the physical death there is no longer any vitality in the body, although there are cases in which the Spirit, whose life was all material, sensual, remains connected with its remains, due to the affinity given to him/her to the matter. (17) However, let's remember what happens in big cities everyday: The practice of the necropsy, required by Law, in cases of violent death or without determined cause: The corpse is opened, from the sternal region to the lower womb, showing its thoracoabdominal viscera. (18) We cannot lose sight of the subject of the individual merit. Would the spirit of the deceased be at the mercy of the men's decisions to remove their organs for transplantation, cremate their corpses, or cut into pieces their viscera at the time of their necropsy?! Common-sense and reasoning cry out that this is not possible, considering that such would be admitting the justice of the chance and chance does not exist! (19)
In synthesis, the donation of organs for transplantation will not affect the donor spirit, except if we believe that God´s Law is unfair and that we are on the Earth at the drift of His Will. Let us remember that in the Statute of the Father there is no room for injustice and organ transplantation (an achievement of human science) is a valuable opportunity, among others, placed at our disposition for the practice of love.
1 - Mário Abbud Filho, Ex-President of the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplantation President of the Medicine and Surgery Society of São José do Rio Preto. Member of the American Society Transplant Physician. Member of the International Transplantation Society, access available on 04/12/2005
2- In Doação de Órgãos e Transplantes by Wlademir Lisso / Cleusa M. Cardoso de Paiva, access available on 04/15/2004
(3) Franco, Divaldo Pereira. "Dias Gloriosos", dictated by the spirit of Joanna de Angelis. Salvador, BA: LEAL Publishing House, 1999, Cf Chapter Transplantes de Órgãos (Organ Transplantation)
4 - Published in the Spirit Magazine Allan Kardec, year X, number 38
(3) Franco, Divaldo Pereira. Seara de Luz, Salvador: Leal Publishing House [the book presents a series of interviews with Divaldo between 1971 and 1990.]
6 - Simonetti, Richard. Quem tem medo da morte? - São Paulo /SP: Lumini Publishing House, 2001
7 - In: "Dos transplantes de Órgãos à Clonagem", Rita Maria P.Santos, Forense Publishing House, Rio/RJ, 2000, page 41
8 - Bezerra, Evandro Noleto. Transplante de Órgãos na Visão Espírita, published in the Reformador magazine - October/1998
9 - Ibid
10 - The brain stem, and not the heart, is recognized as the organizer and "commander" of all vital processes. In it is the neural capacity for respiration and spontaneous cardiac beats; without the stem nobody can breath by himself/herself.
11- Cf. Spirit Magazine Allan Kardec, year X, number 38
12 - Folha de S.Paulo, A3, "Opinião", May 15, 2001
13 - Interview with Professor Dr. Flávio Jota de Paula, Physician of the Unit of Renal Transplantation of the HC/FMUSP. 1st Secretary of the Brazilian Association of Organs Transplantation (ABTO). Director of the I Mini Maraton of Organ Receiver from Brazil. Published in Prática Hospitalar year IV number 24 Nov-Dec/2002
14 - Xavier, Francisco Cândido. Evolução em Dois Mundos - Dictated by the Spirit of André Luiz. 5th Edition Rio De Janeiro /RJ: FEB Publishing House, 1972 chapter "Células e Corpo Espiritual"
15 - Franco, Divaldo Pereira. "Dias Gloriosos", dictated by the Spirit of Joanna de Angelis. Salvador: LEAL Publishing House, 1999
16 - Kardec, Allan. O Livro dos Espíritos, Rio de Janeiro: FEB Publishing House/2003, question number 155, Chapter XI.
2- Kühl Eurípedes DOAÇÃO DE ÓRGÃOS TRANSPLANTES Virtual Interview access available on 04/24/2005
18- Cf. Bezerra, Evandro Noleto. Transplante de Órgãos na Visão Espírita, published in the Reformador magazine - October/1998
19 - Bezerra, Evandro Noleto. Transplante de Órgãos na Visão Espírita, published in the Reformador magazine - October/1998
WOULD SCIENTISTS BE SUBVERTING THE DIVINE ORDER WHEN MANIPULATING EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS?
On April 20, 2005, the Federal Government introduced the first public bid notice which will permit the financing of research with stem cells in the country. R$ 11 million will be released by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science and Technology. The fund will be used to finance basic research projects (in vitro experimentations), pre-clinic (experimentations with animals) and clinic (experimentations in human beings) research, which have the development of innovate procedures in cellular therapy as their objective. Adult bone marrow and umbilical cord stem cells may also be researched, and the embryonic stem cells, included in the public bid notice due to the bio-security law. (1)
With the approval of the Bio-security Law, Brazilian scientists are authorized to do research with embryonic stem cells, unequivocally, currently one of the most promising areas in medicine. (2) But the research with stem cells may only be done if they have been obtained through in vitro fertilization and have been frozen for more than three years. (3)
For those who do not know the subject, we inform that the stem cell is a type of cell that can differentiate itself and form different types of tissues. This is a special capacity, because the other cells can generally be part of just one specific tissue (for instance: skin cells can only form the skin). Another special capacity of the stem cells is self-replication, in other words, they can generate identical copies of themselves. (4)
Due to these two capacities, the stem cells have been object of intense research lately, because, in the future, they can work as substitute cells in wounded or sick tissues, as in the cases of Alzheimer, Parkinson and neuromuscular diseases in general, or even in the place of cells that the organism stops producing due to some deficiency, such as in the case of diabetes. However, it is important to say that the immediate application is still distant. (5)
For now, there are high hopes but we lack research, which, although accelerated, are in the initial stage. The Ministry of Health is worried with the excessive euphoria about the use of stem cells. They are not a promise of cure, a miracle…as if the patient was to "leave the crutches and walk away".
For the spirits, embryos that remain stored (frozen) may or may not have connected spirits. Whether by the fact of being in debt with humanity or, according to Joanna de Angelis, of escaping from their persecutors, they may be taken to "a period of probation" in these frozen embryos, passing through a period of dormancy, a period in which they would be free from obsessive persecutions, and in a preparatory phase to a possible return to the Earth.
Placed the subject, one question presents itself: Would the frozen embryos, where the embryonic stem cells are placed, have potential of vitality that cannot be transformed (for some destroyed)? That is the question!
In the last months, several religious leaders and specialists have bee getting together, in several parts of the Earth, to discuss these scientific progresses and their controversial ethical questions. Some of them believe it is an "abortion".
Thinking over some important notes of Joanna's, we also have to consider that the spiritual Mentors, specialists in this area, are sufficiently intelligent to know which ovule will be, or not, destined to produce stem cells with therapeutic purposes and, therefore, that any spirit shall be connected with it. Or, then, we are enthroning the vigorous power of the unexpected, the "chance".
Do the frozen human embryos have a spirit connected with them or not? As we remarked above, Joanna explained that there are cases that there may be, and there cases that there are not. Question 356 of The Book of the Spirits explains that there may be the development of gestation without spirit. André Luiz elucidates the mechanism of that process in the second part of the book Evolução em Dois Mundos (Evolution in Two Worlds), considering that the perispiritual model is the maternal one, given by the spiritual command of the mother who desires to have a child very much. (8)
In this regard, question 136-a of the "Book of the Spirits", emphasize again " (…) The organic life may animate a body without a soul (…)" " (9) That idea lead us to reflect about the possibility that embryos without spirits connected with them may exist. And, even more, wouldn't we be making a big mistake, the possible generation of thousands of frozen (expandable) lives waiting for death? It is worth to meditate a little more deeply about that question!
It is interesting to bring to the discussion the fact that the researches of the Medicine School of Cardiff, in Wales, recently announced that they are producing human embryos without using sperm, looking for making the use of blastocysts (10) to the use of stem cells less polemic. The method made public by the New Scientist magazine uses just the PLC-Zeta protein, found in the sperm, responsible for the cellular division. The embryos develop themselves without the male chromosomes and, therefore, would not result in a procreation process. The use of stem cells taken from human embryos - generally ruled out in assisted reproduction clinics - face serious resistances in several countries. Many consider those embryos as living beings, because they characterize life from the fecundation of the ovule by the spermatozoid. (11)
Joanna de Angelis knowing about the importance of those researches points out: " (...) True blessing, the organ transplantation grants the opportunity of continuation of the physical existence, in the moratorium condition, through which the Spirit goes on its organic periplus. After all, life in the body is the way to plenitude - which is life in itself, ardent and real". (12) We cannot refrain from recognize that the physical body is the divine machine that the Lord lends us to the confection of our happiness on Earth.
We cannot remain in the ignorance, and science must reach the objective that the Providence gave it. Kardec teaches that we instruct ourselves through the power of the things. The moral revolutions, like the social revolutions, infiltrate themselves in the ideas little by little; they germinate during centuries; after that, they break out suddenly and produce the collapse of the past ideas that were not in harmony with the new necessities and the new aspirations anymore.
Every new technology generates polemics. Among the arguments of those who are against the therapeutic technique with stem cells is the fear that it will generate ovules and embryos commercialization. In case that reality is feasible, are we going to stagnate science?
For Eduardo Krieger, president of the Brazilian Academy of Science (ABC), the financing of research with embryonic stem cells represents society's trust in the Brazilian scientists. "Today the scientist is extremely worried that the progress of science has to be focused on society. The scientific community has evolved and is in conditions of producing that knowledge". (15)
In reality the search of knowledge is man's basic need. And concerning the fear of misuse of the stem cells we think that the science will learn how to best handle with the techniques which involve cloning, making it simpler and safer. Concerning its dissemination, it will depend on the Spirituality programs. (16)
For those who believe that the scientists would be subverting the divine order when manipulating embryonic stem cells, it is important to remember them that transgression to the natural order is an undernourished child, bombed cities, terrorist acts, sick people without medical assistance, workers without job. Subverting the divine order will always be the way we treat people, not how they are born. (17) Can the ones who are against the scientific research at issue today absolutely guarantee that they will not benefit from that innovate proposal of human therapy in the future?
1 - The public bid notice to the projects selection is available in the e-mail address of the National Counsil of Scientific and Technologic Development (CNPq - Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico).
2 - A Census carried out by the Brazilian Society of Assisted Reproduction (SBRA - Sociedade Brasileira de Reprodução Assistida) reveals the existence of 9,914 frozen embryos in the 15 major Brazilian reproduction clinics. From those, 3,219 have been frozen for more than three years, an essential criteria for the use of them in research with embryonic stem cells (CTs) approved by the Bio-security Law.
3 - Veja Magazine published on March 03, 2005.
4 - The stem cells currently used in experiments are, basically, from: 1) the patient's bone marrow, 2) the placenta and the new born´s umbilical cord and 3) human embryos.
5 - Lygia da Veiga Pereira, from the Center of Studies of the Human Genome of the University of São Paulo (USP).
6 - O Estadão newspaper, edition of 03/02/2005
7 - Franco, Divaldo Pereira. Glorious Days, dictated by the spirit Joanna de Angelis. Salvador: Ed. LEAL, 1999
8 - Xavier, Francisco Cândido. Evolution in Two Worlds, dictated by the spirit André Luiz. 5th edition. 2nd part. Rio de Janeiro ,RJ: Ed FEB, 1972
9 - Kardec, Allan. The Book of the Spirits, RJ: Ed. FEB, 2003, question 136-a
10 - The blastocyst is a cluster rangin from 100 to 200 cells.
11 - O Estadão newspaper, of Thursday, December 02, 2004
12 - Franco, Divaldo Pereira. Glorious Days, dictated by the spirit Joanna de Angelis. Salvador/Ba: Ed. LEAL, 1999, Cf. Chapter: Organs Transplantation
13 - Xavier, Francisco Cândido. THOUGHT AND LIFE - dictated by the spirit Emmanuel. 3rd edition. Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Ed. FEB, 1972
14 - Comments to question 783 of The Book of the Spirits
15 - Correio Braziliense newspaper, edition of April 21, 2005
16 - From the book: Reencarnação: Tudo o que você precisa saber (Reincarnation: All that you want to Know) - ed. CEAC Bauru/SP
17 - Simonetti, Richard. Reencarnação: Tudo o que você precisa saber (Reincarnation: All that you want to Know) - ed. CEAC Bauru/SP
THE COMING OF THE PARACLETE
In the 16th century, during the Age of Reason – of anthropocentrism – the materialistic rhetoric gains momentum due to the social, political, economical and religious transformations that were occurring in Europe. Faith extinguished itself in its own source; the religious ideal disappeared. In that scenario, the only concrete reality is matter in motion, to which, given its richness, can produce some surprising effects, which are called psychic or mental ones. Strictly speaking, the current Christianity - accepted by most people – did not have appropriate answers for the problems of civilization.
Nowadays, after two millennia of historical ebullition, of the man's painful maturing, of criminal deformations of the Christian message, would it be possible to re-establish the fundamental teachings in their primitive purity, after all? In The Gospel According to Spiritism , Kardec and the Superior Spirits reveal that Spiritism is "Jesus' Promised Consoler", "The Spirit of Truth", the "Paraclete", according to John's Gospel. "If you love me, follow my commandments; and I will ask my Father and he will send you another Consoler, to be with you forever: - The Spirit of Truth, that the world cannot receive, because does not see it and does not know it at all. But as of you, you will know it, because it will be with you and it will be in you. - However, the Consoler, that is the Holy Ghost, that my Father will send in my name, will teach you all of the things and will make you remember everything that I have said" .. ( 1)
If, however, the Sprit of Truth should come later to teach all things is because Christ had not taught everything at that time. If it would come to remind us of what Christ had said, it is because we would have forgotten or misinterpreted it. In line with his assertion, His teachings were incomplete, for he announced the coming of that which should complete them. This way, if Christ could not fully develop his teachings, it is because men lacked knowledge that could not be acquired except with time, and without which they could not understand it; some things might seem contradictory in their current state of effective knowledge, then.
Kardec also reminds us that Spiritism comes at the right time to fulfill Christ's promise: the Spirit of Truth presides over its establishment, reminding men the observance of the law; teaching all things, making them understand what Christ had said through parables. Christ said: "Hear those who have ears to hear"; Spiritism comes to open eyes and ears, because it does not use images or allegories; it lifts the veil intentionally left over certain mysteries; it finally comes to bring a supreme consolation to Earth's disinherited and to all those who suffer, giving a fair cause and a useful purpose to all their pains. Spiritism gives them an unshaken faith in the future, and the painful doubt no longer lingers on their souls; making them see things from above, the importance of the terrestrial suffering is lost in the vastness and in the splendid horizon that involves them, and the perspective of happiness that waits for them gives them patience, resignation, and courage to go all the way in the road. ( 2)
Some brethren say that many are the comforting doctrines. Why would on Spiritism be the Consoler? We ask: do other doctrines offer humanity the tools [reincarnation, exchange with the unbodied, plurality of inhabited worlds, etc] that Spiritism does? Certainly not! Especially because the Spiritis Doctrine is not a group of ideas, dictated by one thinker or by any group. It is the manifestation of the Spirit of Truth, which was done using the system of universality, precisely as not to allow personal opinions or the opinions of groups to endanger the future of the liberating message.
The Third Revelation [or the Promised Consoler] is based on the opinion of a group of intelligences [Spirits], that have manifested themselves to more than a thousand spiritualistic groups all over the world, at that time of the Codification. (3) Those intelligences established the moral and philosophical principles of the Spiritualistic Doctrine, which can not be changed by the will of this or that disagreeing thinker.
That is why it is a Revelation, and not a common Doctrine that comes to be modified or interpreted, like the human philosophies of all times. Or else, let us see, The Book of the Spirits is considered for many scholars the most advance work in Philosophy to date, dealing with matters that refer to all fields of knowledge: God, the soul, man and his immortality, divine justice, reincarnation, the plurality of inhabited worlds, etc. With it starts the "age of the Spirit and mediated Faith", no longer a blind faith! Spirit Bezerra de Menezes said: "The Book of the Spirits, if carefully, long and systematically studied, for a hundred years, will not be totally tapered into." (4)
Contemporary Christians say that communication with the spirits is not possible, for it was forbidden by Moses (5), therefore those would be demons (6) trying to deceive men. Yet, why could only bad spirits communicate with us? Wouldn't the good spirits be entitled to do so? And what about the so-called angels, who revealed the prophecies, wouldn't they perhaps be spirits, too?
On the other hand, Jesus also said: "one has to be born again". (7) (my highlight) Admitting that God is infinitely Good and Fair, why would there be so many children with innate handicaps? "Because of their parents' sins", they will say. But would it fair for God "to punish" an innocent child because of his/her parents' mistakes? Recognizing that in the Statutes of God there is no room for injustice, we can only conclude that such children are not as innocent as one might suppose, because they certainly erred a lot in their previous existence.
Besides, we do think of those tragedies as punishment, but rather as a correction opportunity for the individual's own future benefit.
And what about the extraordinary exceptionally gifted or little genius children? Either we have to admit a picky Creator, that privileged those souls, or forcibly these much-above-the-average intelligences are the result of the vast stock of accumulated knowledge from past lives, manifesting early in childhood the talent they bring from the past.
Also in the spiritualistic hordes there are those who want separate the scientific, philosophical and religious aspects of the Doctrine, and Chico Xavier, commenting on that, remembered that " The Spiritualistic Doctrine is science, philosophy and religion. If we take out the religion, what is left? (...) we have a body without a soul, if we take out the science, we have a headless body, and if we take out the philosophy, we have a limbless body .(8)
Thus, let us not forget that the Consoler takes up three aspects: The Scientific one, the Philosophical one, and the Religious one. As science it demonstrates through logic and experimentation. As philosophy it operates the work of the reason in the search of knowledge and wisdom. As religion it elucidates and clarifies, aiming at elevating the souls, connecting people to one another and to God, building and illuminating the feelings, promoting the inner change.
What we tried to demonstrate here, generally speaking, is that the Doctrine of the Spirits is the Third Revelation, as a complement of the two previous ones, because if the First, with Moses, brought the notion of Justice to the barbarism and the Second, with Jesus Christ, brought the notion of the High Love to a still simple people, it came to bring men the comforting notion of the Duty, as promised by the Master when he said: "Many things I still have to tell you, but you cannot stand them now But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost (10), that the Father will send in my behalf, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything that I have said . (11)
1- John, chap. XIV, vv. 15:16: 17:26
2- Kardec, Allan. O Evangelho Segundo o Espiritismo (The Gospel According to Spiritism), RJ: Ed FEB, 1999, Chap. VI.
3 - Could it be that only one man could formulate all the scientific and philosophical concepts of the Spiritualistic Doctrine?, However notable was Kardec's genius, we do not believe that would be possible. In reality the High Spirits took the New Revelation from one pole to the other, manifesting it all over the world, without granting anybody the exclusive privilege of hearing their words. It is in this universality of the doctrinaire precepts that lies the inexpugnable force of the Spiritism and also the cause of its extremely fast propagation.
4- Reformador from January, 1974, page 30, ed. FEB
5 – The Deuteronomy says: There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things [are] an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. (Chap. 18: 10, 11 and 12.)".
6 - The word" Satan", means opponent in Greek. Diabolos, means opponent in Latin. The word demon (daimon), in its Greek etymology, means human spirits or souls, later being understood as evil spirits. So much that some authors at the dawn of Christianity used the expression "evil demons", and one of them was Saint Justin, martyred in 165 A.D., who wrote "Apology of the Christian Religion."
7- John, chap. 3:1-12.
8 – "Interviews with Chico Xavier", available in access on 03/27/2005
9- John, chap, 16:12.
10 – When Jesus prophesied about the coming of the Consoler, he referred to the Good Spirit; he did not use the expression Holy Ghost at all, which was a certainly a change in translations. Nowadays we know that the expression Holy Ghost symbolizes the Spirits that work for God and back then evolved Jesus' disciples, at the party of Pentecostes, provoking the appearance of the mediunic talent, allowing them to speak in different languages to the foreigners of the place (xenoglossy)
11- John, chap, 14:25.
Terri Schiavo´s case called my attention: a woman from Florida - USA who was in vegetative state for 15 years and was disconnected from the tube which fed her after an intense debate among her relatives, the American government and the Courts. According to specialists, it can take her until two weeks to die, without tube-feeding (1).
What worries is that many physicians revel that euthanasia is a habitual practice in Brazilian Intensive Care Units - ICUs, and that hurrying, without pain or suffering, the death of a terminally-ill patient, is a frequent act and, many times, little discussed in the ICUs of the Brazilian hospitals. (2) In spite of the Brazilian Intensive Medicine Association denial that the euthanasia is frequent in ICUs, there are those who admit more concrete reasons, such as the need of places at ICUs for patients with chances of surviving, or the pressure to diminish the costs in private medicine.
In medicine regional councils, the tendency is to accept the euthanasia, except in few cases of misunderstandings, among relatives, about the time to cease the treatments. Physicians and bioethical specialists actually advocate a specific type of euthanasia, the Withholding or Withdrawing of Life-Sustaining Treatment, which would be the act of removing equipment or medication which serves to prolong a terminally-ill patient's life. When removing those life-sustaining equipment, keeping only pain killers and tranquilizers, it is expected that nature takes responsibility for the death (3).
By definition the word euthanasia comes from Greek, meaning "good death" or "appropriate death". The term is from Francis Bacon who, in 1623, in his work "Historia vitae et mortis" (History of Life and Death) defines it as being the "adequate treatment to incurable diseases". There are several expressions used as synonyms, it can be mentioned as "good death", "assisted suicide", "active euthanasia". Its antonym is "distanasia" (4) which, on its turn, is the use of adequate means to treat a patient who is dying. Based on humanitarian values, in which the medical ethics aims at prolonging life as much as possible. For some physicians the word euthanasia became stigmatized, and people are afraid of using it. This way, they believe it is necessary that a legislation establishes criteria and ethical conducts for a death without suffering. In view of the fact that death is a price which deserves to be paid for the mitigating consonant pain according to an ethics professor of the Medicine College of an important Brazilian University, for him euthanasia has to be accept in situations of incurable diseases, since " The tendency is keeping life at all costs" (5).
Euthanasia has been the cause for controversies in legal spheres, bearing in mind, however, that our Constitution, through the Brazilian Penal Code, is incisive and conclusive: It is considered common assassination (6). In medical hosts, under the perspective of the medicine ethics, life is considered a holy gift and, therefore, it is forbidden for the physician the intention of being the judge of someone's life or death. In this regard, it is important to point out that the World Medical Association, since 1987, in the Declaration of Madrid, considers euthanasia as being an ethically inadequate procedure. In the moral or religious aspect, mainly spiritualist, let's remember that aren't few the cases in which people given no hopes by the official and traditional medicine try to find other alternatives and obtain spectacular cures, whether through hand imposition, faith, magnetism, homeopathy, or through behavioral changes. There are not few cases of patients with medical diagnoses of incurable diseases, given no hopes, in which the magnetism activated by the hand imposition could change the medical diagnosis and reestablish the cellular field.
Allan Kardec asks to spiritual Benefactors if the human being has the right of disposing of his/her own life and the Spirits explain that only God (7) has this right. Nobody has the right to take a life, only God is entitled to decide. Euthanasia is a form of interrupting the expiation of the spirit who suffers as a terminally-ill patient. His/her relatives, thinking they are mitigating his/her pains, ask for euthanasia, but it is a happy illusion, since they are committing a crime against life, and do not consider that moral sufferings are bigger than material ones, and that this spirit has to repay for his/her debts.
Emmanuel explains that behind the dull eyes and faint hands, which seem to cast the last farewell, just show up warnings and caution notices so that the mistake is suspended or that the routine readjusts itself tomorrow (8). And before the bed of the most difficult and painful illness, shines the help of the Infinite Goodness, making it easier, for whom is in debt, to achieve quittance. Do not disrespect, thus, who is immobilized in the horizontal cross of the long and difficult illness, giving him/her the poison of the smooth death, because, probably, you shall also know, later, the profitable lying position, essential for the great meditation (9).
It is not entitled to man, in any circumstances or under any pretext, the right to choose and deliberate about life and death of his/her fellows, and euthanasia, this false mercy, disturbs the divine therapeutics, in the rehabilitation redeeming processes. We, Spiritualists, know that the prolonged agony may have a precious objective for soul, and the incurable illness can be, actually, for the good. We do not always know the reflections that the spirit may do during the convulsions of the physic pain, and how many agonies may be spared from him/her in a flash of regret.
Euthanasia interrupts the illness depurative process, imposing the chronic patient serious difficulties, including in the return to the spiritual level. Besides, the family members who search such "merciful" resource are, actually, only, and improperly, anxious to free themselves of the commitment and responsibility of helping, supporting, and loving their loved one.
Strictly speaking, cancer is the means to expunge the darkness which establish itself in the heart, preventing it to better understand life. Paralysis and insanity, pemphigus and tuberculosis, idiocy and mutilation, almost always work as blessed correctives, helping the spirit which blame made insane or covered in shadows in the expiatory probation. This way, we have to respect the pain as an instructor of souls and, without hesitation or absurd questions, support everyone who is experiencing its constraining and educative presence. Always bearing in mind that just the obligation to serve is entitled to us, because Justice, without any further appeal, belongs to God that distributes to us relief and affliction, illness, life and death, at the right moment.
The true Christian is always in favor of the maintenance of life and respect regarding God designations, trying not only to diminish the fellows´ sufferings (without euthanasia, of course!), but also to have confidence in the divine justice and goodness, even because, in God's Statutes, there is no room for injustice.
1 - Published in the Correio Braziliense newspaper, 3/19/2005
2 - Published in the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, 03/19/2005
3 - Ibid
4 - To some people, Distanasia means exaggerated prolonging of the patient's death or, even, may be used as a synonym of useless treatment. For some specialists it is a medical attitude which, aiming at saving the terminally-ill patient, submit him/her to great suffering.
5 - Ibid
6 - Established in the Federal Constitution, article 5, main section, the main characteristic of the right to life is its unavailability. Life, as a divine gift, must be preserved in each and every circumstance, being its elimination inconceivable whether by man or by State.
7 - Kardec, Allan, (The Book of the Spirits), Rio de Janeiro: FEB publishing house, 1999, question 944
8 - Xavier, Francisco Cândido. Religião dos Espíritos (Spirits Religion), Rio de Janeiro: FEB publishing house, 1999
9 – Ibid
THE "ONLY A BIT" AND "ONLY TODAY" FAMOUS EXCUSES
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. (1)"
The alcoholic drink ingestion issue is an old concern. In Luke's Gospel it is read that "For he [John the Baptist] shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink…" (2)
Alcoholism is one of the most serious social-medical problems of the contemporary world. Specialists strive to try to find the matrices for the reason of the problem, and, among many other factors, the huge influence of well-produced advertisements released by media, especially in television, is pointed out. The messages are very strong appeals for the ingestion of drinks, and they become impregnated in the subconscious mind of viewers who are careless to the rules of balance.
Victor Hugo remind us that "when drunk, the patient's rearrangement is very difficult, demanding him/her great effort to regain his/her sanity. Obsession, through alcoholism, is more common than it seems. In a permissive social context, the vice of ingestion of alcoholic drinks becomes an expression of "status", attesting the decadence of a slow and painful historical period."(3)
As the "Spiritualist World" records it, regarding alcoholism in spiritualist cycles, there are some spiritualist "leaders" who usually justify their "draft" in the wicked glass with "baseless arguments, such as: everybody drinks; only some sips do not do any harm; I only drink socially; (...) drinking moderately is even good for one's health..."(4)
Despite the damages alcoholic drinks provoke in the physiopsychosomatic structure, there are those "specialists" who allege that the physical body needs small amounts of alcoholic drinks. Mere illusion! This is vehemently contested by Doctors Edgar Berger and Oldmar Beskow, in the book called: TWENTIETH CENTURY SLAVES.
Alcoholic not only is a destruction agent in itself, it is also a vehicle of the darkness, a living bridge for the ruining evil bridges. Joanna de Ângelis teaches us that under the pretext of "commemorations, parties and decisions, let us not commit ourselves to the habit of drinking. The ocean is made of water droplets, and beaches of uncountable sand grains. Let us free ourselves from the "ONLY TODAY" cliché, and when impelled to harmful commitments, let us not adopt the famous "ONLY A BIT" excuse, inasmuch as a bite that injects lethal poison, notwithstanding the small dose, produces immediate death."(5) (our highlight)
The permissive rhetoric of the "harmless" drink shall be buried and never, under no allegation, should be exhumed. Although everything begins with the first sip, later comes the need for the second, for the third and so on. Also on the editorial of the "Spiritualist World" if the spiritualist "knows and pretends s/he does not know, s/he is irresponsible and shall suffer the consequences of the omission in his/her deep conscience."(6)
For psychoanalyst Luis Alberto Pinheiro de Freitas, author of "Adolescência, família e drogas" (Mauad Publishing House) (Adolescence, family and drugs), the liberality of many families with alcohol is one of the biggest problems for prevention: - There is the myth that marijuana takes the young to other drugs. But it is alcohol that plays this role. And it is the family itself that stimulates consumption. I have patients who started drinking when their fathers, proud of their sons who became men, called them for some drinks. (7)
In the last five years, indexes grew from 25% to 30%, according to psychiatrist Frederico Vasconcelos (8) "research on alcohol consumption among the youth, by the Centro Brasileiro de Informação sobre Drogas Psicotrópicas (Cebride) (Brazilian Center of Information on Psychotropic Drugs, of the Federal University of São Paulo, Unifesp". For him today's youngsters have many difficulties with limits, and the age group of excessive alcoholic consumption diminished. Ten years ago, the 40-year-old alcoholic had started drinking when 17 or 18 years old. Today, they start at 12 or 13 years old. This means that, in 10 years, we will have serious alcoholics only 35 years old, at the height of their productive lives.
Vasconcelos affirms that "alcohol generates a disease of long evolution (ten years on the average) and its excessive consumption among youngsters is leading them to more dangerous drugs: - One of them is the Ecstasy, found in two types of tablets: The MA (methamphetamine) and the MDMA (methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine), the latter with hallucinogen properties and both sold at R$ 50.00 a pill in the nightclubs of the South Zone and Barra da Tijuca, in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Nowadays, teenagers expose themselves to alcohol much more. An alcohol-dependant generation is being formed. Besides health risks, there are the hazards of drunk driving, violence and traumas resulting from excessive alcoholic consumption."(9)
Regrettably, in our country i around two billion liters of pinga (Brazilian rum) and more than five billion liters of beer are consumed per year. According to Health and Science College of the University of Brasília, Federal District member, Doctor Josimar França, there are more than one hundred thousand alcoholics and the most of this universe is of youngsters younger than 17 years old. Doctor Josimar França affirms that alcoholism is the most important public health problem in Brazil.
Returning to the "Spiritualist World", it is clearly pointed out that "the mistaken spirit "forgets" that not everything that is common in society is normal, advisable. For this spirit, there is one Doctrine of Spirits for the convenience speech, and another doctrine for his/her personal practice [private spiritualism]. It is adept of the distortion: Do as I say, not as I do." (10)
Before the excuses that try to justify the drinking habit let's hear a legend that once I saw in a calendar with oriental thoughts:
A man comes closer to the leader of his religion, which prohibits alcoholic drinks, and asks:
- Great master, are grapes prohibited?
- And is grape juice against our religion?
- Absolutely not.
- And if the grapes leaven in water, are we culprits?
- Not at all.
- But by leavening, they produce wine. Why is it sin drinking it then?
- Well, answered the Great master, if I throw a handful of dirt at your head, I will not hurt you!
- Of course not!
- If I throw water mixed with dirt, I still won't hurt you!..
- But if I put this handful of dirt mixed with water in an oven in order to burn it, transforming it into a brick and then throw it at your head, what can happen ?....
All circles of existence, in order to adapt themselves to the education processes, need continuous efforts (discipline), because all conquers of the spirit are made based on reviewed lessons. Hahnemann teaches that "man does not remain vicious because s/he wants to; the one who wants to correct himself/herself always can. Otherwise, for men there would be no law of the progress"."(11)
1- Solomon Proverb chap 20:1
2- Luke 1:15 and 7:33
3- Franco, Divaldo Pereira. Calvário de Libertação - dictated by the Spirit VICTOR HUGO, 1a. ALVORADA Publishing House 1979
4- Jornal Mundo Espírita da Federação Espírita do Paraná (Spiritualists World Newspaper from Spiritualist Federation of Paraná), July/2002, page 03- Editorial.
5- Franco, Divaldo Pereira. Estudos Espiritualistas (Spiritualists Studies), dictated by the Spirit of Joanna de Angelis 1a. FEB Publishing House Rio de Janeiro: 1983
6- Cf. Jornal Mundo Espírita da Federação Espírita do Paraná (Spiritualists World Newspaper from Spiritualist Federation of Paraná), July/2002, page 03- Editorial.
7- "Época" magazine from July 29, 2002, (Marcia Cezimbra, O Globo newspaper)
8- Frederico Vasconcelos, psychiatrist, coordinator of the Aldeia Clínica and homaged by president Fernando Henrique last month, together with author Glória Perez, for their works on drugs prevention.
9- " Época " magazine from July 29, 2002, (Marcia Cezimbra, O Globo newspaper)
10- Cf. Jornal Mundo Espírita da Federação Espírita do Paraná (Spiritualists World Newspaper from Spiritualist Federation of Paraná), July/2002, page 03- Editorial.
11- Kardec, Allan, Evangelho Segundo o Espiritismo (The Gospel According to Spiritism) , message of Sammuel Hahnemann, Cap 9 FEB Publishing House, Rio de Janeiro 2000