As Christians we believe that every human life is a gift from God and that to live that life fully we must love one another. Illness, whether mental or physical is a part of the human condition and most if not all of us will have to cope with it at some time in our lives. Ill health makes us aware of our human frailty, and calls for a response of love and care, recognising always that to be human is to be body, soul and spirit, and that we are ultimately called by God to follow Our Lord through death to the fullness of life with Him.
This Guide seeks in a practical way to bring this Christian perspective to bear on a number of difficult questions arising in new legislation – the Mental Capacity Act – which came into force in October 2007. The Mental Capacity Act is about all the practical choices that have to be made on behalf of people who cannot make some decisions for themselves. These may be financial decisions, choices about where to live, or how someone is to be cared for. It is the healthcare concerns, viewed in the light of Catholic moral teaching, that are the main focus of this booklet.