Now that I’ve given you something elevating to contemplate in the ALMA picture of planet formation, we have to bump back down to squalid theocratic bullying again. This time it’s the Vatican’s reaction to Brittany Maynard’s decision to die before reaching the last horrible stages of death by brain tumor. Catholic News Agency reports what an official had to say.
Spanish Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican, explained to ANSA news agency, “We don’t judge people, but the gesture in itself is to be condemned. What happened in her conscience we don’t know.”
Bishop Carrasco de Paula said Maynard decided to take her life “thinking she would die with dignity, but that is the error.”
No it isn’t. I’m not a fan of the phrase “death with dignity” but even so, I think there are a lot of kinds of helplessness and malfunction that are hell on anyone’s sense of privacy, self-respect, dignity, enjoyment of not being a helpless excreting blob in a bed. It’s not an error to prefer to die before losing the ability to hold a spoon or walk to the toilet or brush one’s own teeth. It’s a preference, and different people will have different preferences, and it’s not up to the bishop to say Maynard’s was an error.
He called this view “an absurdity” because “dignity is something incompatible with putting an end to your own life.”
“Committing suicide is not a good thing; it is bad because it’s saying ‘no’ to one’s own life and to everything that it means regarding our mission towards the people around us in this world.”
Not when you have a terrible terminal illness it isn’t. But the Vatican doesn’t seem to accept that it has any obligation to take particulars into account when delivering these dogmatic generalized announcements.