Suicide of an entirely different form

The Catholic Church says that they’re opposed to suicide. They say they’re very angry about it and those advocating it should cut it the fuck out:

The Catholic archbishop of Vancouver is calling on the provincial government to appeal a landmark B.C. Supreme Court decision Friday that struck down the law that makes physician-assisted death illegal in Canada. Friday’s decision to strike down the law against euthanasia “sadly reflects a distorted view of equality rights that emphasizes autonomy over human dignity and the value of life,” said Roman Catholic Archbishop J. Michael Miller, in a statement.

“True liberty means the freedom to live one’s life secure in the knowledge that those who care for us are in dedicated to the service of life, not the taking of life.” Miller then urged the government to appeal what he called an “extremely flawed and dangerous ruling.”

As a side note, we should definitely explore the feasibility of attaching some sort of dynamo to George Orwell’s grave, because the “Freedom is Slavery” line from a repressive organization like the Roman Catholic Church trying to dictate to the rest of us what “true liberty” means could probably inspire enough spins out of the old boy to generate a few million megawatt hours.

But back to the topic at hand. I don’t think the Catholic Church is actually opposed to suicide. I’m not talking about their fetishization of martyrs – the apologetics that allows them to side-step that bit of seeming hypocrisy is not exactly that difficult to figure out. No, I think the Catholic Church is opposed to everyone’s suicide except their own:

Pope Benedict XVI told Irish Catholics on Sunday it is a “mystery” why priests and other church officials abused children entrusted in their care, undermining faith in the church “in an appalling way.”

(snip)

“How are we to explain the fact that people who regularly received the Lord’s body and confessed their sins in the sacrament of Penance have offended in this way?” the Pope said, referring to church staff who abused children. “It remains a mystery,” he said. “Yet evidently their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ. It had become merely a matter of habit.”

I mean… this goes beyond the realm of ‘leading with your chin’ and rather invites comparison to putting your own neck in the noose and kicking out the stool. “Gawrsh, I just dunno why our employees abused children in dozens of countries over possibly centuries of history. It’s totes mysterious, you guys!” Never mind the fact that it’s totally not a mystery, and that it’s becoming abundantly clear that being a Christian is no safeguard against any kind of bad behaviour – let’s ignore all of that, shall we? Let’s pretend like it was because they didn’t have enough Real Jesus™ in their lives. That’ll satisfy the hundreds of families looking to you for moral guidance and leadership.

At this point, the Vatican’s refusal to engage with the facts and admit the possibility that they might be human beings like anyone else has moved from the realm of the bemusing to the truly bizarre. While the sine qua non of faith is belief that contradicts observed reality, the level of denial on display by the Pope in labelling abuse “mysterious” is enough to make even a staunch adherent perform and double-take. In a time when the Church is facing steady drops in attendance, the only “mystery” is why on Earth, if there really was a god, it would allow a miserable and absurd nincompoop like the Pope claim to represent it.

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