The brain-death question, as you know, is not simply the life and death issue involved in organ transplants and the multibillion dollar industry that drives it. It is the question of the future global culture and the epistemology (and its source) that drives it. Let me quote from Benedict XVI as Joseph Ratzinger in his conversation with Marcello Pera:
“There are two opposing diagnoses on the possible future of
“Spengler’s ‘biologistic’ thesis attracted fierce opponents during the period between the two wars, especially in Catholic circles. Arnold Toynbee reserved harsh words for it, in arguments too readily ignored today. Toynbee emphasized the difference between technological-material progress and true-progress, which he defined as spiritualization. He recognized that the Western world was indeed undergoing a crisis, which he attributes to the abandonment of religion for the cult of technology, nationalism, and militarism. For him this crisis had as name: secularism.
“If you know the cause of an illness, you can also find a cure: the religious heritage in all its forms had to be reintroduced especially the ‘heritage of Western Christianity.’ Rather than a biologistic vision, he offers a voluntaristic one focused on the energy of creative minorities and exceptional individuals.”
“The essential problem of our times, for Europe and for the world, is that although the fallacy of the communist economy has been recognized – so much so that former communists have unhesitatingly become economic liberals – the moral and religious question that it used to address has been almost totally repressed. The unresolved issue of Marxism lives on: the crumbling of man’s original uncertainties about God, himself, and the universe. The decline of a moral conscience grounded in absolute values is still our problem today. Left untreated, it could lead to the self-destruction of the European conscience, which we must begin to consider as a real danger – above and beyond the decline predicted by Spengler.”