This might make you mad
"The question is crucial since brain-dead people may be suitable organ donors. If a brain-dead person weren't really dead, then removal of vital organs for transplant would be synonymous to homicide."
This wasn't necessarily Pope Benedict's idea: His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, had ruled that brain death equals death in 2000, but asked for the issue to be re-studied just before his own demise in 2005. Benny was just running with J.P.'s ball.
The Vatican academy, which held a summit last week involving 20 leading neurologists from all over the world, has recommended that the ruling not be changed. The final ruling must now come from the Pope. Red Prada shoes and pointy hat aside, he seems a reasonable man.
Meanwhile, a minority population of neurologists like L.A.-based neurologist Dr. Alan Shewmon continue to claim that brain death is nothing more than a pretty darn bad coma. Wearing my "all opinions welcome" hat, I should say that it's healthy to hear dissenting views on matters of such deep morality. Taking that hat off, I'm praying like mad that the Pope sticks with the majority.