Catholic End-of-Life Resources


Catholics need to know the difference between TWO prominent Catholic health care associations:  The Catholic Health Association of the United States ( CHAUSA )  vs. the Catholic Medical Association ( CMA ).

The Bad . . .

1.  CHAUSA is led by the religious sister who got in trouble with pro-life Catholics over her stance on abortion and her endorsement of ObamaCare.  CHAUSA endorses POLST because it is “justified by Catholic teaching.”  Baloney!  CHAUSA is aka CHA.

sister carol keenan sr keenan sebelius byden

Sister Carol Keehan, President and CEO
The Catholic Health Association
1875 Eye Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20006-5440
phone: (202) 296-3993

The Good . . .

2.  Catholic Medical Association is visibly pro-life.  CMA does NOT endorse POLST.  See below for more about CMA and POLST.*

cath med assoc prolife



A Catholic Guide To End-of-Life Decisions – NCBC – pdf

An Explanation of Church Teaching on Advance Directives, Euthanasia, and Physician Assisted Suicide ©2011

A publication of The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC).


Available free on their website; we copied it into PDF for quick access for our readers.


Catholic Teaching on Death and Organ Transplantation

Learn about the history of the new definition of death, known as “brain death.”  Your heart and lungs could be working but for the purpose of harvesting your vital organs, you are determined dead.

dr paul byrne

We’ve learned from Dr. Paul Byrne, a Catholic, that to harvest organs, the donor’s heart must be beating and respiration must continue.  Under these conditions, the person is alive!!   Brain death is not true death but a re-definition to suit the organ donation industry, which we believe is barbaric.

For more information about the truth of brain death and organ harvesting, visit the following resources:

  1. Terry Schiavo Foundation

  2. Dr. Paul Byrne’s Life Guardian Foundation

  3. Subscribe to Dr. Paul Byrne’s Web Column .


The National Catholic Bioethics Center agrees with the modern definition of death, i.e., brain death.

We disagree with NCBC’s acceptance of the new definition of death, i.e., brain death!

“The National Catholic Bioethics Center [is] in full support of the truly amazing and life-saving programs of organ donation and transplantation . . . “

Why we object to the current definition of ‘Brain Death’ and to Organ Harvesting.  We at West Coast Pro-Life disagree with the NCBC that “brain death” is true death.

The following are excerpts from NCBC’s FAQ’s – “BRAIN DEATH”:

To what does the expression “brain death” refer?

“Brain death” refers to the medical judgment that a person is dead by using “neurological criteria”.  Properly diagnosed, “brain death” refers to the complete cessation of all organized neurological activity throughout the entire brain, including the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem.  At this point, the body irrevocably ceases to function as a unified whole. The appropriate Phraseology here is “the determination of death using neurological criteria.”

Is it appropriate to use neurological criteria to determine death?

The customary criteria for determining death are “cardio-pulmonary,” i.e., death is declared after breathing and heart-beat cease. Technological advancements in critical care, however, have made continued circulation and respiration possible through mechanical means even after brain function has ceased.

The use of neurological criteria for the determination of death is legitimate according to the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II approved this approach in an address he gave to the 18th International Conference of Organ Transplant Specialists in August 2000:

Paragraph 5 – “With regard to the parameters used today for ascertaining death –  whether the “encephalic” signs or the more traditional cardio-respiratory signs – the Church does not make technical decisions.”…Pope John Paul II

Neurological criteria consist of four key signs: coma or unresponsiveness, absence of cerebral motor responses to pain in all extremities, absence of brain stem reflexes, and apnea. Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II both said the Church has no competency in determining death; this properly belongs to medical science. (!)

end excerpts

Warning:  Do Not Sign A POLST form!  Now Read This!

POLST.2011pink_Page_1 POLST form.

POLST is Physician’s Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment.  It will invalidate your Advance Directives!



* January 2012 Edition of “Ethics and Medics,” a publication of The National Catholic Bioethics Center —

PFCC    CMA_logo_200px    LNQ-150px

  • The Linacre Quarterly, 2013, White Paper —The POLST Paradigm and Form-Facts and Analysis by William Toffler MD, Rita Marker J.D., et al.  35 pages.

  • Linacre Quarterly is a publication of the Catholic Medical Association {not to be confused with the Catholic Health Association of the U.S, CHAUSA.  See more about CHAUSA upcoming.}
  • Dr. William Toffler is co-founder of anti-euthanasia group Physicians for Compassionate Care.

Catholics – wear the Four-Way Medal!

2033051 2033051-1

The back says “I am Catholic.  Please call a priest.”   Available online at The Catholic Company.




This page was last updated on March 7, 2015.