I posted about signing the on-line petition against assisted suicide the other day. Matthew Schellhorn has written an article that speaks very plainly about how such a law might affect everyday lives in reality and how a more wholesome understanding of the precious gift of life can enhance even very painful experiences. (He more usually writes about matters musical, as he's a rising star in that world.) I first met Matthew last year when he organised the music for a Mass for the Order of St Lazarus in London. He is to be congratulated on speaking so personally.
As mum’s health declined and the opportunities for ‘normal life’ decreased, the possibilities expanded. We lived the paradox that when there are limits to life the freedom is greater. Mum knew that positive experiences would sustain the bereaved left behind: that further altruism gave her life some meaning...Perhaps such personal testimonies are more powerful than all our theological and political arguments - although its a lack of theological and philosophical understanding, even at the most basic level, that lies behind so much of the malaise that our emaciated culture is experiencing in these days. When everything is subjective, we are on shifting sands and that's a difficult place too build anything.
Lord Lloyd Webber also speaks very personally in the Telegraph today of how easy it is to be led down a path that we might not live to regret should this practice come into force in our country.
I notice as well that from the earlier phrase of "assisted suicide" we have no moved over to "assisted dying" - so much less uncomfortable to speak plainly in these matters!
The vote takes place in the House of Lords today - which by Divine Providence is the Feast of St Camillus in the older calendar - founder of the Congregation sometimes called "The Fathers of a Good Death", the Camililans or Clerks Regular Ministers to the Sick.
Interestingly, he was ordained in Rome by Thomas Goldwell, the last Catholic Bishop to hold out against the English Reformation - just as the Church today needs to hold out against the destruction of all that was once held sacred, including life itself.
St Camillus - Pray for us.