Saturday, 18 October 2008

Right to Die?

This morning's newspapers carry the story of a young rugby player suffering as a result of an injury sustained on the pitch 18 months ago. Unable to accept that the future he had planned out for himself was now over, he resolved to kill himself - or, rather to persuade his parents to arrange for him to be killed.
Before saying anything else, let it be quite clear that one does not wish to judge someone who feels so depressed at such an accident, or deny the sense of life being pointless that may ensue. Also, unless one has been in such a situation, one cannot simply condemn parents who went along with what their son repeatedly urged on them.
However, there are questions to be raised.

We had no choice but to let our son die, cries the Daily Mail's headlines. But even the Independent, normally in favour of killing people who are sick, old, or unwanted, found this a little hard to take. Though their approval was clearly with the young man's family, they also ran alongside the story of another young Rugby player who had sufffered similar injuries, and who after three and a half years is rebuilding his life and future on a new basis.

I would argue - as did his physiotherapist and others - that Daniel James had simply not had time to come to terms with his injury, nor to see what kind of life he could look forward to. It is entirely understandable that a young man who sees his future ruined might react in this way - at lesat in the short term. But what Daniel needed was not to be killed but to receive help in seeing how his life could be worthwhile. Eighteen months seems like a long time for a young man, particularly when he is incapacitated. What he needed was the wisdom of those who are older and will no doubt have seen more tragedy and disappointment, and the many different ways by which people cope with it and overcome it.

It is true that at the moment we live in a society where large numbers of young people commit suicide simply because they haven't got any reason for living. But even the Independent sees it as a problem where the groups of suicides of people in their late teens and twenties. Daniel's reason seems to have been much the same as theirs - so where is the logic of saying to some people: We think you have a reason for thinking like this, so we'll kill you - while we say to others: We don't think you've got a good reason so why are you causing all this pain and suffering to those around you.
We live in a society which by and large does not believe in a Right to Live but is coming more and more to push for a Right to Die. Do we not see here the truth of Pope John Paul's description of our society as a 'culture of Death.'

Whether people have physical disabilities or not (and the liberal media are always pushing the idea that the disabled have just as much to contribute s anyone else, and are just as capable of enjoying life as anyone else) if they cannot see any point in living then it is up to those around them - and to all of us, to seek to show them reasons. To give them reasons for living, things they can achieve. Maters of life and death should not be controlled by a 'do as you feel' culture.

Those who are sick, disabled or depressed need help, not killing. Or do we really want to end up in a situation where if we go to the doctor suffering from depression we will simply be told to take ourselves away and die because that will solve our problems? When there is a solution like that available why should we be taking up a doctor's time and precious NHS resources. In modern England, it seems, Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well - even if many others are dying.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

Once again we find in some of the Catholic papers a real enthusiasm for scrapping the Act of Settlement which prevents a Catholic from becoming King or Queen. I'm not sure how many Catholics are queueing up for the job but it sounds good. It sounds as if we are indeed people to be reckoned with - peple who are as good as the next man - or woman. And in our age it is not right to show discrimination.
Of course, the voice of reason is nowhere present in any of this. Nor do any seem to think to question why some of those in the liberal establishment should be lending their support for this. As always we should ask cui bono? It is noticeable that many who are anti-Catholic in so many things will still agree that Catholics should be able to succeed to the throne, and really their motivation is quite clear. And it is not out of love for us!
The one point that nobody seems to want to raise about the Act of Succession is that it is simple common sense. If the Crown is Head of the Church of England, then it follows that the person holding that position must be able to support and defend the Protestant Religion. If we are seriously to try and say that a Catholic should be able to be head of the Church of England, would be as ready to say that religious belief should not affect the choosing of the Pope? This shows us the sbsurdity of the situation. The Act of Settlement should in fact not be repealed unless the Crown is no longer to be head of the Church.
Thus the price to pay (there is always a price) for repealing this largely irrelevant Act would be the disestablishing of the Church of England. Some might consider ways in which this would be a good thing - and they may be right. But if the Church were disestablished then this would be a secular state. The Church of England - with all its faults and difficulties - is still the guarantee that in law this Kingdom is a Christian Kingdom.
The only ones who would really feel a profit from repealing the Act of Settlement are those atheistic secularists who support such a move, and no doubt the Moslems who would then see even more of a religious vacuum that they could fill.
I don't want to be King. I do want this to remain - at least in name - a Christian Kingdom, committed at least in the broadest sense to the values of the Christian Faith. It may not be much, but it's better than the alternatives. Let us, as Catholics, support the Act of Settlement, and support Her Majesty the Queen, Defender of the Faith.