Brain Death

In recent years the question of whether the cessation of brain activity is sufficient to determine the death of the human person has provoked sharp debate among Catholic moral philosophers and scientists. The editors of Communio hope to advance the discussion with the following collection of articles.

You Only Die Once: Why Brain Death is Not the Death of a Human Being; A Reply to Nicholas Tonti-Filippini

D. Alan Shewmon

"[The] accusation that I am in conflict with Church teaching about death relies . . . not only on a mischaracterization of my position, but also on a mischaracterization of Church teaching itself. In point of fact, the Magisterium does not formally oblige us to hold that the brain is the master organ of somatic integration, or that its death is therefore the death of the human being as such. Nor does the hylemorphism espoused by Boethius, Aquinas, and the Council of Vienne entail any such claim."

Read More