This was supposed to be last week’s post, but like I said… illness struck my house and things have just been crazy. I just haven’t had time to write at all! So without further ado…
Over the last few weeks, I’ve tried to explain the position of the Catholic Church on some hot button issues: Stem-Cell research, IVF and today Euthanasia and how they affect the lives of all those involved. Despite the Church’s teaching that all life is sacred, people still have a hard time with some of the teachings. Maybe it’s because there is debate as to when life begins or ends, or it’s because we love to think that we are all Masters of our Universes.
For Euthanasia, I contacted my best friend because I wanted her opinion on the situation. I asked her because six years ago, she lost her father to Colon Cancer that metastasized to his stomach and lungs. Her experience changed her opinion about Euthanasia and she allowed me to share with you her thoughts:
Like you, I was firmly against human euthanasia. I would go back & forth with well why can you end a pet’s suffering, but not a human’s, then I would ultimately go back to God is the only one to play god.
However, my opinion on that changed, but I’ve moved more in to the gray areas. Let me paint the picture (even though you know all if not most of this story):
I had just graduated from college & was living about 500 miles from my family. I got a call from my mom telling me my dad had stage 4 colon cancer. I hung up the phone, flipped out, cried, then called my parents back to get the full story. For 2 years my dad went through treatments & trials, but, it was too advanced. I started coming home once a month. One of those trips, I decided to surprise my mom & come home early. My gut told me to. I have found that, if my gut tells me something, I need to listen…almost to the point of psychic tendencies. En route, I called my dad to say good morning, not letting on that I was on the road. I get up there that evening, & my mom is talking to a nurse in the kitchen. Instead of just being happy to see me early, she breaks down crying on my shoulder. I thought she was being a bit over-dramatic, until she wouldn’t let me go in the living room to say hi to my dad. He had passed out on the kitchen table shortly after we spoke, & a nurse & my aunt had found him. I went in to see him, & he was barely conscious. He was awake enough to give me a hug. We called our pastor over, & he gave my dad communion. The last thing my dad said was the Lord’s Prayer that day.
Shortly after that, he lost consciousness completely & never came back. He was like that for a few days…where you knew he was gone, but his body wouldn’t let go. It is in that gray area, & maybe even before that, where I find nothing wrong with euthanasia. His soul was gone, but his physical body was still fighting. You could hear the pain & feel the suffering. I remember putting my hand on my dad’s chest & pulling it back like something bit me when I felt all the congestion in his chest. When it comes to something where there is no hope of recovery, where God has said it is your time & wants you home, that I think it’s ok. God has already made the call.
My position is this: every human life is sacred, from the time of conception to the point of natural death. As a result, I am against abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty. I used to think differently… especially after my Uncle was murdered in cold-blood (He’s number 42 on the list.) He was shot in his home and his body was found by my cousin, who at the time was eleven years old. Up to that point, I viewed abortion as a choice among a woman, her body and her God and euthanasia was a way to “put loved ones out of their suffering,” and I was all for the death penalty. But after my uncle was killed, I believe God started working on me. Knowing that someone decided to end my uncle’s life, taking him away from his family and his son and knowing how we all felt at that point made me realize that it is no one’s right to take another’s life no matter the circumstances. (My uncle’s death also led me to get my Masters in Human Pathology/ Death Investigation, without which I would not have met my husband, so that is a good thing out of a bad.)
We are all brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ and all are connected to each other. Our job while here on Earth is to life one another up, support one another and pray constantly. We are to help prepare each other for the Kingdom and for me, the fifth (or sixth, depending on your faith tradition) commandment is pretty clear. I know how hard my friend’s father’s death was on her. I was there at the funeral, sitting between her and her brother, crying along side of them, and while she and I differ in our opinions on Euthanasia, that does not make me love her, or miss her father, any less.
(As an aside: A great big Shout Out to Elita of “Blacktating Blog.” She was quoted in the most recent issue of “Mothering Mag.” If you don’t follow her, you should!)
Up Next: Abortion. As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. But please, keep things respectful and constructive!
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