I’ve been somewhat following this story of the young woman with, I think brain cancer is it, who is preparing to end her life in another month or so.I’m aware of all the church teachings saying we can’t end our lifes, even people who are brain dead and will never recover cannot go without some kind of feedings.
And I hear this woman talking about the pain she’ll otherwise endure. My first reaction to that was, look at how Christ suffered, on the cross, He experienced pain. Then I think, He hung on the cross alive for not more than three hours. And whatever he endured from the 40 lashes only hours before that.
That’s less than 24 hours of physical pain that Christ experienced. People who have brain or other cancers or terminal illnesses may feel excrutiating pain 24/7 for months and no treatment of any sort cures their cancer or ailment, pain meds might give them 10% less pain. Is it a church mandate that people must endure excrutiating pain 24/7 for months when terminally ill just to die anyway? Sometimes I think I would be better to be in a coma with no brain activity at all for two years and exist on a feeding tube rather than spend one month with cancer and excrutiating pain for 24/7 for months.
Actually, I think I’d prefer to die by being experiencing excrutiating pain by being nailed to a cross for 3 hours rather than spend 3 months in excrutiating pain this young woman will endure.
Catholic teaching on the proper response to the pain and suffering of someone who is terminally ill is really quite simple. We know that nothing can be done with the intention of ending the life of a human being, no matter what the level of pain or the estimate time left prior to death occurring.However there is nothing to prevent comfort care for that person including medication to relieve pain and suffering. Ethical pain relief treatment is not wrong while the use of palliative care for the purpose of ending someone’s life is killing and a mortal sin.
The Church therefore does NOT mandate that a patient must endure excruciating pain but at the same time mandates respect for that person’s life including nothing being done to prematurely end that person’s life.
On the subject of Christ’s death, you are totally incorrect. It is hard to imagine that you would compare the sufferings of Christ with those of a human being who is not the Son of God, is a sinner by virtue of being born with original sin and does have the ability to avail himself of treatments designed to alleviate suffering.
Christ died in reparation for the sins of all men even though He himself, the Son of God, was guilty of nothing.
I suggest you think instead of this reflection by St. Francis deSales:
“When Saint Charles was dying he had the picture of the dead Christ brought to him, so that he could die happily in the thought of his Savior’s death. And this is really the remedy for all those who fear death: to think often of Him Who is our life, and never to think of one without the other. ”
Answer by Judie Brown