Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Another Poisonous Fruit of Amoris Laetitia - The Atlantic Canadian Bishop's Decision on Assisted Suicide
God's "rules" and their corollaries in Church doctrine were created for man's benefit. And that applies especially to those rules that were intended to be followed not merely in general but without exception.
That fact is of course often lost in contemporary debates on, say, communion for the divorced and remarried where doctrinal rules are implicitly thought of as potential impediments that get in the way, at least if they are followed (in the language of Francis) "rigidly" or without "discernment."
According to the traditional view of the Church, forbidding admission to the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried was never a punishment, but a means to protect the sacrament of marriage as a positive good in this life, both for the married couple directly involved as well as for others. It was also intended to help the married couple involved, as well as others, get to heaven and avoid hell.
In one sense it's easy to temporarily forget that. People in irregular marital situations may indeed be in "messy," "problematic" or "complicated" predicaments - albeit ones of their own making. In one sense, no one would deny that. Whether they are now, say, admitted to communion or not, their situations will probably continue to be messy, at least in the short term. And death, where the final fate of their souls will be decided, is usually many years away.
Not so with the question of assisted suicide.
The Atlantic Canadian Bishops have just released a document allowing last rites for those intending to commit assisted suicide.
In doing so, they have given the same general arguments as those implicitly set out in Amoris Laetitia - that though suicide remains a gravely sinful act, each situation is different, culpability varies, discernment and accompaniment are paramount, people come before rules, and so on.
Indeed, the bishops explicitly cite Amoris Laetitia and the example of Pope Francis.
The effect of this will be immediate:
More suicides will go to hell.
They will be be accompanied there by their priests.
Suicide is a mortal sin. One who commits suicide will prima facie go to hell.
It is true that we can never know the internal disposition of someone at the moment of death. It is also true (in a sense at least) that "all things are possible with God." But that doesn't mean that the Church should gamble with people's souls merely to avoid awkward conflict or to appear nice or accepting to the rest of the world, or more to the point, to the suicide's family or the suicide himself. What are a few days or weeks of nice compared to an eternity separated from God?
Last rites involves confession (or what is now called the sacrament of penance or reconciliation) at least where or when possible. One of its effects is to remit sins including mortal sins. But this cannot be accomplished it the person is unrepentant. And by definition, a potential suicide continuing to desire to "go through with it" would not be so.
The goal of accompaniment here - and yes, there's nothing wrong with that word under its normal meaning - should be to comfort the person in their illness and help them to come home to their Father.
Not escort them to hell.
But accompaniment is not the ultimate good, and it can even sometimes be evil. The concentration camp guards who led people to the gas chambers were good accompaniers.
All of this should be obvious to any Catholic. Any Catholic pope would immediately put a stop to the sort of thing the Atlantic Canadian Bishops have proposed.
Of course, Francis won't. No doubt he's now getting a kick out of it.
Last week, as all the world now knows, the Pope publicly uttered two disgusting obscenities. But in a sense they were mere words or at the worst, epiphenomena of his own mental defects.
Giving last rites to assisted suicides - in effect to join the other assisters - is an obscenity a million times worse.
Bergoglio wants you to go where he's going. Don't worry, you can be with him forever and ever.