The folks who promote assisted suicide, which is another word for euthanasia, truly have no pity, no heart for the suffering, the anguished or the downtrodden.
Compare the push for death with the love of Christ for Lazarus, for when Lazarus had died, we are told Jesus wept.
Or compare it to this example of the suffering woman who had experienced hemorrhaging for more than 12 years. One day she dared to touch the hem of Christ’s garment and He said to her Courage, my daughter, your faith has saved you. And, at that moment, she was cured; her faith had saved her.
As Christians, we strive to emulate Christ’s pity, His compassion, His love for human beings, born and preborn.
Not so with the prevailing cultural elite today. Such people, whether policy makers, medical professionals, educators or politicians, want us to believe that every problem has a simple, cut-and-dried solution.
When Grandpa is ill and lying in a hospital, unable to communicate his wishes, we turn to a professional for help or we give the hospital a copy of Grandpa’s living will. But what if those caring for him are dedicated to cost-saving efforts instead of treating him with love, comfort care, antibiotics, and whatever else he might need?
Well, as Charles Krauthammer wrote several years ago, when the overall goal is to bend the cost-curve downward you have to be a fool or a knave to deny that it's intended to gently point the patient in a certain direction, toward the corner of the sickroom where stands a ghostly figure, scythe in hand, offering release.
Or what about the famous designer or chef who commits suicide? When Kate Spade took her own life, followed by Anthony Bourdain a few days later, the comments on reasons why these famous people took their own lives abounded.
But Wesley Smith pointed out,
suicide is also promoted by euthanasia activists and the media as an acceptable answer to the problems associated with serious illness, disability — in some quarters, even mental illness. Good grief, Brittany Maynard was transformed into an international A-list celebrity because she announced her plan to kill herself. It strikes me that suicidal people are not going to think, “Oh, that doesn’t apply to me,” if their suffering is not illness or disability related.
Meanwhile, suicide-prevention efforts receive far less attention. Sometimes, those efforts are almost invisible.
These are serious topics that require our thoughtful and prayerful
contemplation and action. We are called to look upon our own family members when they are not quite themselves or when they are gravely ill and know that in them Christ is truly present and in need of our caring concern and action. It is our duty to realize that ethics committees, pieces of paper like living wills, and cold hearts can never reflect the Christ-like pity that only a human being can provide to another in his need.
Speaking of cold-heartedness, think about this story from a friend of mine:
I saw something yesterday that shook me to my core and hurt my heart. I was at a VA hospital waiting for my husband and I walked past the hospital gift shop where I noticed a sign in the window: “Clearance Sale—Kate Spade—25% off”.
The same Kate Spade who had taken her own life earlier this week! I thought: Are people really this callous? Did they think that news about the poor woman’s suicide would “push” sales of her products?
So I said to the clerk in the shop: “Isn’t this a facility that deals with PTSD on a daily basis, where veterans come for mental health care because they’re contemplating suicide or because they’ve attempted suicide? What kind of message is this sign sending? Is this hospital saying, ‘She’s gone, so let’s capitalize on her death?’”
The clerk just looked at me blankly but didn’t say anything. So, I kept walking.
This is the perfect example of how the pitiless have come to rule not only the way we look at death but how we treat the memory of those who tragically die.
In response to the pitiless who market death, we must deliver the opposite, as St. John Paul II taught: “The Spirit who builds up communion in love creates between us a new fraternity and solidarity, a true reflection of the mystery of mutual self-giving and receiving proper to the Most Holy Trinity.”