Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Last Word On Mercy Killing

I have recently been reading and re-reading some works by the Venerable Fulton Sheen, a Catholic author who never fails to challenge while giving succour, shedding light on the world and its ways while affirming faith. 

It is a delightful suprise and affirming delight to see just how fresh and topical so many of Sheen's books are, suggesting to me that they will remain fresh and topical from now 'til Kingdom come. For example, take this passage on 'mercy killing', from the essay 'Nurses and Doctors' in 'Life Is Worth Living, Series I and II', published by McGraw-Hill in 1953 (p. 183) - 

"(The doctor) will be opposed to what is mistakenly called "mercy killing" but which in reality is "merciless killing". Merciful killing is a contradiction. It is like speaking of a painless toothache, a benign assault, romantic rape, honest robbery, hilarious income tax. Merciless killing is suicide with murder; a combination of the crimes of Judas and Cain, the two greatest crimes in the history of the world, despair and hate.  The assumption behind it is that suffering and happiness are mutually exclusive, which is not true. One of the happiest women that I ever met in my life was in a leper colony that I visited in the Caribbean. Noticing a radiant joy coming from her body already devastated by this disease, I remarked on her apparent joy, and she answered, "It is real: I am the happiest woman in the world". 

There's no answer to that. Sometimes you just have to try to be happy, whether you can still skydive or not.


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