I find the term "culture of life" to be very problematic. I would like to consider myself part of a "culture of life"... but consistency on the questions of life and death is very rare, and it's not even clear if there can be consistency. I cannot answer moral questions for others, except if they impinge on my own right to make my own moral decisions, or if they act against me (this covers big question like murder, but ignores more subtle questions like "is it right to turn off life support for person XYZ"). So I believe in choice, and that the judicial system's job in such cases is help determine who makes the subjective choice which such questions resolve into.
My position consistent, I don't prefer
abortion, I would not choose one for my wife in most cases but
constructing hypotheticals making it likely that I would is not that
difficult. So it's personal choice. I can imagine wanting a chance to come out of a coma, but also the desire to die quietly at home off all life support. Again, a personal choice. But what of war and the collateral damage of civilians
and children? That is not a matter of choice to me.
But what I really wanted to note is that it's interesting to me that the Pope decided to die quietly at home and not give life support a chance to keep him here longer. Considering the way the press shifted from Shiavo 24/7 to "the Pope is dead"... you'd think they would be able to see and address the juxtaposition of Shiavo's condition, the Church's position, and the Pope personal decision.
What would a true "culture of life" say about suicide, euthanasia, life support ethics, and war death?
It seems to me if one gets too absolute in their idea of choosing "life" in every case, one gets in situations where they are costing life. E.g. the idea that you can not abort a fetus even when the mother's life is in danger. The idea that keeping people on life support costs resources which might be used to prevent others from needing it. The idea that killing is more moral than suicide (e.g. war vs. assisted-suicide). All these choices seem in conflict to me.
And yet... when I hear the phrase "culture of life" it has a strong rhetorical pull on me... sign me up!
but, uh, what is it? Mind you I appologize for this in that I myself am beyond burned out on Shiavo/Pope talk. But I'm not burned out on the meaning of "The Culture of Life".