April 21, 2024

Organ donation a Christian duty, says CofE

The Church of England in the UK has declared that organ donation is a Christian duty. This supports the government’s desire to establish a presumed consent (or opt-out) policy to solve the shortage of organ donors. However, it still opposes selling organs for commercial gain.

“Christians have a mandate to heal, motivated by compassion, mercy, knowledge and ability,” says the Church’s Mission and Public Affairs Division. “The Christian tradition both affirms the God-given value of human bodily life, and the principle of putting the needs of others before one’s own needs.”

However, the Church refused to endorse an opt-out system, leaving that as a private decision for its members. It warned that an opt- out system could lead to a ” changed relationship between persons and the State.”

But both systems have their merits. The opt-in system, where organs can be harvested only with the donor’s prior consent, reflects Christian concern “to celebrate and support gracious gifts, freely given”. An opt-out approach, where consent is presumed, highlights Christian concern for human solidarity and living sacrificially for others.