Sunday, November 2, 2014

On the death of a suicide activist

I wrote this on Facebook, but am sharing it here by request (just slightly altered for the format):

I won’t be reading any of the gushing congratulatory MSM articles about the death of a certain suicide activist.  Instead, I have only this to say:

1. Suicide, in Catholic teaching, is a terrible sin. If committed with full knowledge and sufficient consent of the will its eternal consequences can be dire. Many if not most suicides are operating under diminished capacity due to fear, mental illness, etc. and we pray that God will have mercy on their souls. But we don’t owe a pro-suicide activist/advocate this level of pandering publicity.

2. Euthanasia, also in Catholic teaching, is a grave and horrible sin. Not only those who “choose” to die but those who participate in those deaths are complicit in this great evil. In countries which have adopted “voluntary” euthanasia it is only a matter of time before involuntary euthanasia of the elderly, the unconscious, children or the mentally impaired becomes a reality. Catholics must stand unequivocally against this evil and be united in our opposition to it.

3. When the medical principle is, “Kill the PAIN, not the PATIENT,” the innocent are safeguarded and the sacred value of human life is affirmed. The cry of the euthanasia advocate is, “Kill the PATIENT to stop the pain.” But suicide doesn’t end pain--no, not even the pain of the deceased, who must now live with the eternal consequences of that act (and, again, we hope for diminished capacity and pray for God’s mercy). But the pain of those left behind, whose increased grief and suffering due to watching a loved one die by his or her own hand, can hardly be expressed. Suicide magnifies every pain it pretends to heal, and it is not uncommon for the loved ones of a suicide--even a “mercy killing” suicide--to attempt or succeed in committing suicide themselves during episodes of intense grief.

4. Let Catholics understand this clearly: at Mass today our priest spoke beautifully about the Anointing of the Sick and the graces it can bring, including the remission of sin. But a Catholic who commits the great sin of “assisted suicide” or euthanasia will not be permitted to receive this Sacrament, as you cannot pretend to have sorrow for a sin you are fully and intentionally planning to commit in the near future.

5. In our prayers let us remember all who suffer pain and are tempted to commit this sin, whose temptations will be increased by seeing all the accolades and approvals showered on this person who has killed herself. For them we should show our utmost concern, and never cease our reminders that their lives are worth living, that their pain should be addressed without killing them, and that every moment of their earthly existence is precious in God’s eyes and in the eyes of all those who love them, including ourselves.


Elizabeth said...

I believe suicide is forbidden by all the world religions. Buddhism considers suicide to be in error. The idea that yearning for death is the same as reaching for freedom is not going to result in anything good.

I completely understand the thought system that Ms. Maynard was operating within, and have much compassion for her and her family. I can't imagine how her loved ones are suffering now.

Howard said...

Good post, but please use a larger font size.

gsk said...

Thank you, Erin. We must remember that the sacraments are a gift to deal with what would otherwise be nearly unsustainable: facing death, lifelong companionship in marriage, the daily hardships and temptations, etc. Secular voices are entirely correct in saying that we cannot expect people to endure such things -- but the answer is God, not capitulation.

L. said...

Thankfully, secular societies don't make laws based on any particular religion's definition of "sin."

Red Cardigan said...

Ah, L. You are always in character. So much so that if you were in one of my novels I’d have to find a way to make you less consistent and thus more interesting. :)

“Thou shalt not steal” is a religious command too. I guess you’re okay with people deciding for themselves that they have the right to choose theft?

L. said...

Ha -- I'd love to meet you in real life someday, and see if I fit your image of me or not.

I'm okay with banning some "sins" as long as they pass the secular test. But alas, I don't get to make the rules.

Seriously, though, I just can't imagine saying to someone with a painful terminal condition, "Sorry, I can't let you end your life to spare you from eternal hellfire."

L. said...

I can't imagine circumstances that would bring me to Texas any time soon, but who knows, maybe your daughter will study in South Korea someday, and you'll pass through Tokyo on your way there.

It's a very remote possibility, but......never say never.