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.