July 13, 2013

"Dying naturally is a vital part of life's journey, in many ways the most meaningful part"

Julie Davis reviews How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice by Austen Ivereigh and excerpts a part that explains  why the Church opposes euthanasia

In common with a long-standing tradition of western civilization, the Church believes that dying naturally is a vital part of life's journey, in many ways the most meaningful part. Dying can be described as a process of healing. Important things happen on that journey, and suffering and pain are often a part of it. As Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo … said: "Compassion isn't to say, 'Here's a pill.' It's to show people the ways we can assist you, up until the time the Lord calls you."

Dying, then, is a highly meaningful gradual process of renunciation and surrender. Although some die swifly and painlessly, very often the pattern of dying involves great suffering, because (and this is true of old age in general) it involves letting go of those thing which in our lives we believe make us worthwhile and lovable: our looks, intelligence, abilities, and capabilities. This is what the great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called "necessary suffering," the suffering endured by the ego, which protests at having to change and surrender. The idea that this kind of suffering is part of growth is not a uniquely "religious" view, although Christianity -- with the Cross and the Resurrection at its heart -- has perhaps a richer theological understanding than most secular outlooks.

 Death Suffering Light

Contrast that with the secular version of death, Deadlines in the NYTimes

The defining characteristic of the literature of protracted death is its fascination with the deterioration of the body, especially in the alien context of the hospital. No doubt, in part, because most of our writers are agnostic, if not atheist, the focus is on the difficult, lab-filled, needle-infused process of dying. As Hitchens puts it, ours is a time in which a person can “avail himself of a historically unprecedented level of care, while at the same time being exposed to a level of suffering that previous generations might not have been able to afford.” Our deathbeds aren’t spiritual; they’re chart-full.

The new atheists don't know what they are missing says George Weigel in Faith Lights Life about the new papal encyclical "written by four hands":

Lumen Fidei is an extended meditation on the truth that Walker Percy articulated decades ago: that life lived within the ambit of faith in the God of the Bible — the God of Israel and the God of the Church — is far richer, far more intriguing, and much more authentically human than any of the agnostic, atheistic, pantheistic, or solipsistic alternatives available in the early 21st century.
Faith, the encyclical teaches, is a divine gift; it is not something we achieve by our own efforts. Yet unlike the siren songs of the imperial autonomous Self, which lure us into the sandbox of self-absorption where the horizon of our apprehension rarely extends beyond the navel, the grateful reception of this supernatural virtue sets everything alight: “Those who believe, see,” Francis writes; “they see with a light that illumines their entire journey . . .”


In a remarkably gentle way that stands in sharp contrast to the bullying bluster of Richard Dawkins & Co., Lumen Fidei suggests that the world is suffering from a false story, and that the story is false because it is too narrow, too constrained, too self-centered, and, ultimately, too dark……Radical skepticism honed by an ironic sense of life constricts the horizon of human vision and aspiration. We can see only so far through lenses ground by cynicism; and if we view our life through them, our line of sight is sooner or later bent back toward the autonomous Self, in what becomes a wilderness of mirrors. Biblical faith, by contrast, opens up “vast horizons” that suggest a superabundance of life and meaning.
Posted by Jill Fallon at July 13, 2013 2:19 PM | Permalink