Speaking of Dignity . . .


There’s a lot of talk around the blogosphere about people living and dying with dignity, lately.

I figured I’d throw my two cents into the mix – but not on the Florida case.

the pope

I have to ask, why is this done? Why does the Catholic Church drain the life out of these men. Instead of having some policy in place that allows a man to live out his last few years in comfort and peace – – the Catholic Church insists on playing dress up with the guy – – wheeling him out in front of thousands, where he can barely sit upright…. plop a funny looking hat on his head and give the adoring public a few moments to oggle at the drooling pope in his golden years, that should be spent in comfort and dignity.

Maybe there is something dignified about the whole thing that I’m missing? But everytime I see the guy in public – – propped up and debilitated, I think how awful. I know he has the option of resigning – – but I’m in total agreement with an age limit on the whole funny hat gig. The guy gives his life to the church – – the church should give a little back in his last, dying years.

As a former Catholic, I’m sure I’ll be going to hell for this, eh?

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46 thoughts on “Speaking of Dignity . . .”

  1. Perhaps it would be interesting if he were to slip in to a permenant vegatative state, I wonder if they would continue to wheel him out.

    I can’t find it in myself to pity this man though, he is the epitomy of what I detest about the church, I just hope he hurries up an dies and with him the Catholic church….

    As an ex-catholic there is no hell to burn in…

  2. I think your view is a compassionate view, but when you think a little more about it, the Church actually owes nothing to anyone, regardless of whether it’s the Pope or Scott Peterson. The man still has incredible mental faculties and is putting out writings that are crucial to mankind today.

    While I understand the whole retirement idea, wouldn’t it be nice if we all spend our last years doing the best we can to lead the rest of the world toward God? It’s truly all that matters in this world anyway.

    In my view, the dignity is all his.

  3. Heh heh..maybe he would step down if they told him he could keep the hat. But in all seriouness, I agree with you. It’s time for someone else to step up to the plate.

  4. Personally, I think it’s inhumane. And yes, mine is a view of compassion – – but then, I forgot that it’s the Catholic Church we’re dealing with here. It’s all about suffering.

    RedFred’s statement may be outrageous – but true. However, Fred – – with or without his leadership, priests have been raping small boys for a very looooong time – – longer than this pope has been in reign over the church. So, I would sumise that his leadership wouldn’t have mattered one way or another.

    The only thing that brought those priests to light was the media, with cooperation from the vatican only after too much pressure was applied, they grudgingly agreed to address it.

  5. Ahhhhhhhh, thank you RedFred! Yep, another former Catholic here. Now instead of being Catholic I’m Christian (closest to Lutheran, but being able to read and think for myself I get in trouble with all of them).

    Lisa, I figure it’s okay to burn in Hell for being honest and admitting you’re a sinner. I look at all the devout church people and think that if heaven is filled with those people, I don’t wanna go there. Besides, I won’t know anybody there!

  6. Just to make a distinction and to avoid any confusion, I am NOT a former Catholic,not that there is anything wrong with being a former Catholic. I am a born and bred Atheist I don’t have a particular problem with religion itself, just organized part of it which I think is evil. The Pope is the figure head of this evil empire and so I can not find it in myself to have sympathy or respect for such a vile human being, If he were not going to be replaced by a new serpent I would rejoice at his demise.

  7. I will pray for all of you so God will open your eyes to the bitterness you hold on to and allow you to see the world mankind ans all the churches in the world for what they truly are a blessing….and hold the person responsible for his actions not what he does for aliving when a man abuses another person, young or old it is one of the most tragic things in the world wheather he is a priest or a truck driver … but the world has decied it is way more fun to point at priest for this crime rather than the crime itself …the tribune did a study on abuse to children done by people in leadership roles catholic priest accounted for not even 30% of the cases around the world yet in the media they are seen more than 80% of the time not to make them any less guilty of there sin but to open your eyes to the entire problem not just the catholic portion of the problem ….

  8. The man stands for:

    -equality for all humans
    -the poor
    -the disabled
    -a god
    -life in all its forms

    Some evil empire he’s got going there. Guilt is a natural thing for what is evil and it was G.K. Chesterton who said that man does not deny natural law just as he does not deny the need for clothing. It is not the Church that makes you feel guilt for your sins. It is your conscience rightfully reacting to your sins. I can see why some of you people are so unhappy.

  9. Since the Catholic church spends an inordinate amount of time feeding the hungry and providing social services to thousands and thousand of communities around the world, one must have a lot of hate in their heart to hate the Catholic church. No armed forces, all volunteer services, helping the needy… not a whole lot to hate there.

    The pope believes he continues to set an example to the world that one can continue to serve man even while suffering, that one never “retires” from being a good and faithful servant. I admire that.

  10. Almost all of the little details of what the pope stands for is great. That doesn’t mean that we should turn a blind eye to all of the abuses committed by the Catholic Church. For the big picture, this is an organization who believes that the Bible is the word of God, yet fought how long and how hard to keep it from being translated into the native tongue of its followers so that they could experience it themselves? For the little details, how does covering up priests raping children go along with all those things that are listed about what the Pope stands for? If the Pope is God’s representative on Earth, then why did God approve of what the Nazis were doing for so long (since the Vatican helped cover up for them)? If Jesus comes back today, what makes you think that he is going to rush into your church and hug everybody there telling them what a great job they do rather than trashing the place like the last time he went to church? When he sees the Vatican’s bank balance do you think he’s going to be happy with them? There’s a big difference between Man’s religion and God. Unfortunately, too many people out there are way too willing to be sheep for anybody who says they’re a representative of God. ๐Ÿ™

  11. Has anybody looked into why priests are celibate? IIRC, it was a moneymaker. At the time almost all priests had mistresses, and none of them wanted to give them up. The pope at the time ruled that priests couldn’t marry, but if they paid a duty to the Vatican he could still have his mistress… ๐Ÿ™

  12. To beat RedFred to the question…
    How many homeless do you have to feed to balance out doing one little boy up the butt???? If it’s a homeless boy, does giving him the piece of candy count as feeding him so that you can balance it out automatically???? ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  13. The Pope is no more responsible for the people of the Church than President Bush is for Americans than Kofi Annan is for people within the United Kingdom than a father is for his son when his son is old enough to be on his own (and out of the father’s view). I put as much blame on you as I do the Pope — none. No matter what we do or what we say or how we rule, there is always going to be evil in this world. Here is a man who genuinely stands up for what is good in this world and denounces what is evil and people act as though he’s the worst scum on earth. It’s absolutely unbelievable to me that you are so distorted in your views to think there is a connection. There was a plumber last week who was found to be molesting his children’s friends. From now on I consider the leader of the National Plumbers association to be responsible for his actions and all plumbers who have raped women and children. That damn plumbers association leader…

  14. What makes all of you think the church is schlepping him out? It just may be that the man wants this. The church is what the man devoted his life to, therefore I could see him not retiring. I would refuse to allow him to say mass for awhile. His health is failing and it certainly can’t be good for him.

  15. Being a protestant, I don’t know why the Pope is held up the way he is. I mean I do…but I just can’t bring myself to agree. To me he has an influential place in the church but in the grand scheme of things he is no more important than the next believer.

    Like I said I am a protestant…priesthood of all believers…that kind of thing.

    Sidenote: I wish that folks, no matter what there flavor, wouldn’t mock and caricaturize other people. It isn’t necessary. It’s SO easy to do and I loathe it when I catch myself (usually a long time after the fact) in such a state. Finding fault is easy, living beyond them to enjoy the true dignity of every human being often takes miracles.

    Flippancy short-circuits miracles. Lord help me not be flippant ๐Ÿ™‚

    I will pray for the Pope to finish his days (whether it be days or decades) in a way that brings him closer to Christ and true joy.

  16. I remember a news story a while ago about a woman who killed her husband then stashed him in the freezer, defrosting him every now and again to prop him up in a chair in the garden to stop the neighbours getting suspisious. Perhaps they could do that to the pope? Perhaps he’s actually been dead for years!
    Oh and Judd, talking about “sin” to atheists like RedFred (and myself, and Lisa actually) is meaningless – a sin is a law – generally an unjustified one – that some deity apparantely made up, and we don’t believe that deity actually exists.

  17. On the point of the Pope, Pam is correct — the Pope is the one with the final say and he wants to continue doing what he’s doing. He could hardly want it if he didn’t know what was going on around him. Our physical body is only part of what we are and the rest is more important.

    As for you, Tim, there is most certainly a natural law (no deity required) and I use the term sin as anything against that. There is no doubt that whether you believe in God or not, there is something the matter with human beings. We get jealous, angry, selfish, and lazy. While nine months of the year (at least where I’m from) we must wear clothes, there is another 3 months that include a smattering of days that we would be outright stupid to wear them if there wasn’t something wrong with humankind. I think the burden of truth is on you to prove there is no natural law. If you truly didn’t think there was then I seriously doubt you’d waste your time on these things trying to convince others. In fact, I kind of get a kick out of the fact that atheists even bother with believers. Why don’t you just laugh at us and move on? Us, on the other hand, know there is something to gain with our truthful persuasion.

  18. I’m not convinced the pope has enough of his faculties to make such a decision.

    The term “sin” implies more than just “natural law” – and the problem I have with most religions isn’t just that I don’t share their beliefs, it’s that they want to try to make everyone else conform and comply to their mythical deities rules.

  19. I would suggest reading some of the Pope’s most recent documents then (they can be found at vatican.ca). I think you’ll find his faculties are just fine. Even if they weren’t, it’s not like he’s hurting anyone.

    You say “most religions” — what religions don’t expect you to conform to their beliefs? Also, most of what the Church expects from the rest of the world is for the rest of the world to follow the laws that are natural. Obviously many of us TRY to do that for His sake, but it also should be done because they are naturally right. I can cease to use the word “sin”, even though my clarification was to point out what I meant by the term — not how the term is defined by a book or a dictionary.

    I’d also be curious to know what beliefs you have been expected to conform to by religion. I mean, we all have the obvious “religious belief” example of the towers being blown up, so I guess I’m asking about those related to Christianity. I have a hard time believing you’ll mention one (other than that which is done in a church) that isn’t rooted deeply in natural law.

  20. Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขd also be curious to know what beliefs you have been expected to conform to by religion.

    I know that was not directed at me but I must throw my two cents in. I was raised Roman Catholic. I followed every tenet of the Church and made myself ill when I didn’t. I taught CCD for several years and made Roman Catholic apologetics my obsession for a very long time. There are many beliefs that Roman Catholics are expected to conform to by virtue of their religion. How about eucharistic transfiguration for starters? To not believe completely that the eucharist becomes the actual body and blood of Christ during the consecration of the eucharist is to believe a heresie and be in direct opposition to the Roman Catholic teachings. Or how about recieving communion in a state of grace because to do otherwise is a mortal sin (meaning if you have sin on your soul you had better go to confession and do your penance before consuming the flesh and blood of Christ or you will be in an even bigger state of sin). The list can go on and on and on. For Roman Catholics, yes there are far too many to mention that adhere only to that particular religion and many have nothing whatsoever to do with natural law but with “The Mysteries of Faith.” One more for you that you cannot possibly twist into being routed in natural law… To be Catholic and to have your marriage take place with the blessing of the church (ie; in the presence of Christ concecrated in the eucharist present in the tabernacle or with a priest co-officiating with another minister or rabi only after recieving dispensation from the bishop) is a mortal sin and until your marriage is blessed by the Church, you are unable to partake of any sacraments.

  21. Once again, though, you are speaking as a Catholic who wants to be in accord with the Church. If you aren’t Catholic or even more, don’t believe in God then these things aren’t problems for you. I understand your point that there are plenty of things that are based on faith alone, but I thought we were talking merely about non-Catholics or non-believers and the “expectations” of them by the Church. I’m not trying to be badgering — I’m just curious what those things are because most of them are rooted in natural law. I’m not going to use Natural Law to explain the sacraments, the transfiguration, etc. One can’t.

  22. I don’t know if you will go to hell for talking like that about a sick man, I know he would forgive you, but that decision is not mine to make. A decision that is mine to make is what blogs I read, this one will no longer be on my list. Your lack of compassion for an elderly man with Parkinson’s and other health problems, not to mention the slap you take at the spirituality of many of your visitors has made my decision easy.

    I know that loosing me as a reader will have no impact on you, but I just wanted you to know that your un-called for attack on a good man didn’t go over well with everyone.

  23. You’re right, Patrick – you not reading my blog has no impact. I can’t believe you call my post an attack on the man and that it ‘lacks compassion’ when what I said had nothing to do with anyone’s spirituality – – but rather a call for compassion for the human being in the last years of his life, regardless of religon. Where exactly did I take a slap at anyone’s beliefs or spirtuality??

    If you are speaking of my visitors and their opinions stated here – – everyone is free to their opinions, whether I agree with them or not. And they freely do so here, if you haven’t noticed.

    The post I made is simply my opinion – – and if you choose not to read my blog because I’m expressing an opinion that doesn’t match your own . . . that sits well with me.

    Rather, I like to surround myself with more tolerant and open minded folk.

  24. Patrick (and I’m sure you’re still here – most people who comment that they’re leaving a site tend to stick around to see the reaction) – I don’t think you can have actually read Lisa’s post very well. Where’s the lack of compassion in asking why an old and unwell man can’t be left to die in dignity?

  25. And, Lisa, I hope you and the other readers understand that I do see compassion (other than the comments about drooling and such, which were more for emphasis than anything, but still in a little bit of poor taste IMO). I pointed out in my first comment that I can understand the compassion for the individual person, but as far as the job (of being Pope) that I see a difference between that and any other job (other than that of a priest, rabbi, etc.).

    I enjoy your posts for the most part and especially like looking at your latest blog designs. I also appreciate your support for the President.

    Just some clarity on my stance.

  26. Well, thank you, Judd. I appreciate your clarification.

    I’m glad that someone can see it . . although, on the drooling comment – he was drooling once when I saw him on tv, recently (before this recent hospitalization) – I didn’t make that up. Poor taste, or not – it’s something that really happened and when I saw it, I felt sympathy for the man. I thought to myself “This man should be in bed somewhere with a comfy pillow under his head.”. . . that’s all.

    No religious debate to be had, really. Not that I can see anyways. I know devout Catholics who agree with me on this issue — it’s all a matter of opinion.

  27. Lisa,
    I agree with your post 100%, I know that the Pope is allowed to decide weather he keeps serving but good greif, let him have a warm room and some chicken soup, some people are so devoted to their jobs that they will stay with them even if it’s killing them! I’m not of any particular “religion” as I find the whole organized-worship-thing to be a bit much, but my gram is a devout Catholic and even she says that the man needs to step down and get into better health.

  28. I have to agree with some of the others on this (Jim, Michael,Judd). I’m not Catholic but I am Christian (Baptist) and I think that the Pope continues to serve because he has devoted his life to God and the Catholic Church. They way I look at it, there are still “lost” people out there who don’t know Christ and I think the fact that he continues to be a good and faithful servant as well as his devotion, even while he is suffering, is very admirable. I’m not going to get into a religious debate because most people are set in their ways and I respect that. I will however pray for those who don’t believe, whether you like it or not. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I must say something about the priests raping little boys… I agree that you should hold the person responsible for his actions and don’t project it to their profession, organization, etc. There are a lot of people out there who claim to be Christians but go against everything that Christianity stands for. The Bible says you can tell a person by their fruits, which basically boils down to the saying that actions speak louder than words. It’s a shame that people like that give others a bad name and turn people away from the church because of their bad decisions. I do believe that one day they will be held accountable for their actions and be punished must worse than you and I can imagine.

  29. Wow, did the religious folks really step out on this one?!?!? I just wish we would stop the pissing match about who’s right and who’s wrong and make sense about figuring out ways that we can live and thrive together. Life doesn’t have to be this big competition about being Catholic, Athiest, Republican, or Democrat….or does it???

    awww screw it!!! Let’s just go get drunk on expensive wine that we think we know everything about and buy everything on the endcaps at Costco and Sam’s Club…Ahh that feels good….back to normal….now tell me what to do W’04.

    if anyone gets any of this, I’d love to hear from you…ddbottom@yahoo.com…but please don’t get on a soapbox… the illegal alien problem is about to make my head explode-so please no soapboxes..

  30. I don’t think any of you are going to hell for your thoughts or beliefs. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
    I will still read you blogs Lisa. You aren’t getting rid of me that easily! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. It’s actually been religious and non-religious folks that chimed on this issue as evidenced by the 40 or more comments. And I must say that much of the non-religious attack on the religious was less than fruitful as many questions have gone unanswered (like the expectations question). I guess my case will rest.

  32. my grandmother says they have a deal with the devil. thats why they all end up looking like that… but i dont know. maybe people just wanna be famous.

  33. I doubt if hell is in the offings for such opinions, but you do seem a little uncomfortable with the elderly.

    I think the issues on dignity are a bit different from your off-center take: it’s not how you look or how comfortable you feel, but whether you are able to exist.

  34. Uncomfortable with the elderly. This you say to a nurse who has worked in home hospice for a decade ๐Ÿ™‚

    True, dignity and comfort are not so cut and dry . . and mean different things to different people. It’s been my experience with the sick and dying that the best thing you can do for them is maintain their dignity and comfort and hopefully bring them peace in their last months, weeks, days, hours on earth.

    Now, the pope may feel he is dignified and comfortable. That’s cool – it is his choice, after all.

    Me? I’m just blurting out my own opinions, because I can. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. The Pope is the vicar or representative of Christ. Christ suffered tremendously for us, so why wouldn’t the Pope want to remind us of that, through his own life and actions? Suffering that’s borne courageously when it can’t be avoided has meaning and value, but the world of modernists doesn’t get that.

    The Pope is not giving up, he’s not taking retirement, he’s suffering right there in front of us, taking all the cruel comments and barbs and smart remarks, knowing that the world is talking about him, saying he should go off somewhere and remain in seclusion, where we won’t be reminded of the suffering, loss of physical gifts, and humiliation that can come with old age and illness.

    He’s offering it all up in repentence for his sins and the sins of the world. His suffering doesn’t redeem us — only Christ’s suffering and death did — but since all Christians are part of the body of Christ, when any of us offer up our suffering to the Father, in the name of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, our suffering has meaning and value, too.

    His actions right now speak more eloquently than any words ever could.

    I just hope that someday, when we’re all disabled (as most of us will be, by Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s or arthritis or cancer or whatever kills us) that people around us will have a little more compassion than shown in some of these comments.

    Perhaps we’ll be lucky, and some individuals who learned from the loving example of this great Pope will take care of us in our old age.

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