Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nichols on Downes Suicides

Friday's Telegraph carried an article by Archbishop Nichols on "The notion of a right to a 'good death' undermines society", he places it in the context of the suicide of Sir Edward and Lady Downes.
It is, perhaps, in matters of life and death that these issues stand out most starkly. Are we really masters of our destiny? Is human life just something we produce, whether by sexual intercourse or in a laboratory, and ultimately to be created, aborted or disposed of at will? Are the senses of wonder at new-born life, or of duty towards the weak in sickness and old age, misguiding instincts that we must overcome if they conflict with our own convenience? Consequently, are we losing the capacity and skills to care for others, especially the vulnerable elderly?

Once life is reduced to the status of a product, the logical step is to see its creation and disposal in terms of quality control. This raises important questions: Who is to decide? What value is to be put on suffering that is borne with patience, or on enduring love and care for those in distress and pain?

If my life has no objective value, then why should anyone else care for it? The notion of an absolute right to choose "a good death" may sound libertarian but it undermines society's commitment to support fellow members in adversity. And it encourages the abandonment of the ailing.

Once life is entirely subject to human decision in its beginnings and endings, then the horizon of hope is dramatically reduced. I may hope to be the agent of that decision. But the likelihood is that someone else will either take it for me, or guide me towards taking it. Once the coin of sovereignty over death has been minted, then it will be claimed by not a few.


Elizabeth said...

Bishop Nichols is so right, life has become a commodity, a buy and sell product. Women are seen as objects to satisy mens desires. Unwanted pregnancies are disposed of so quickly than you don't even have time to think about what is happening.
Disabled children need to be got rid of if detected in the womb. In fact they can't afford to let a disabled child live so many normal babies are aborted to make sure nothing imperfect (even a cleft lip) gets through the net.

Marriages can be divorced within six weeks, after all why in this Brave New World should anyone be unhappy.

I'm glad that God still loves us so much that He hasn't destroyed this Sodom and Gomorrah in which we live.

The greatest problem is that people have stopped praying and believing in God's love, satan must be collecting souls in their millions and what's worse everyone is going so willingly.

Maria Coates said...

God bless Archbishop Nichols for his courageous article in the Telegraph.

Please support the Archbishop,

Dilly said...

And here's what comes next. Once established as a "right" it becomes a duty.

Oregon Offers Terminal Patients Doctor-Assisted Suicide Instead of Medical Care,2933,392962,00.html?sPage=fnc/us/americasfuture

Ma Tucker said...

"Once the coin of sovereignty over death has been minted, then it will be claimed by not a few."

So true and beautifully expressed.

Well done Archbishop Nichols.

George said...

Dillydaydream - and after it has been a 'duty' for while it is then made COMPULSORY!

Anyone remember Logan's Run, a 1976 science fiction film which depicts a Dystopian future society in which population and the consumption of resources are managed and maintained in equilibrium by the simple expediency of killing everyone who reaches the age of thirty (wow - so old!), preventing overpopulation.

The story follows the actions of Logan 5, a "Sandman," as he "runs" from society's lethal demand.

Our society prefers to approach the 'management of equilibrium' from the opposite end, by killing hundreds of millions of innocent babies that have not yet taken their first breath of air or looked into their mother's eyes - through Abortion!

Still look on the bright side - so many tons of CO2 emmissions prevented, less food and oil consumed... yada yada yada..!

ARGHHHHHHHH!!!! You just want to scream at the madness of it all.

Please God, pull us back from the brink!

Crux Fidelis said...

I note that the Downes' children are called Caractacus and Boudicca. Hmmmm.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...