Thus sayeth the New York Times: “The death of Pope John Paul II came at a time when Americans have been engaged in an unusual moment of national reflection about mortality. The long, bitter fight over the unknowing Terri Schiavo was a stark contrast to the passing of this pontiff, whose own mind was keenly aware of the gradual failure of his body. The pope would certainly never have wanted his own end to be a lesson in the transcendent importance of allowing humans to choose their own manner of death. But to some of us, that was the exact message of his dignified departure.”
The Times editorialist doesn’t explicitly refer to assisted suicide, but the phrase “choose their own manner of death” is an assisted suicide advocacy slogan, which given their past, untiring support for that agenda, can be only what was meant.
The Pope didn’t choose the time and manner of his death. His illness did. The Pope did not request heroic measures to prevent the inevitable for a few extra days or weeks. This is not only substantially different from a husband deciding that the profoundly disabled but non-terminally ill wife he abandoned should die, but it also disproves the canard oft stated that the Catholic Church is vitalist in its philosophy. Indeed, John Paul’s continued public ministry to the very end demonstrates his wholehearted belief in the intrinsic dignity and moral worth of all human life–regardless of suffering, illness, disability, or other subjective criteria.
But that profound understanding is way above the heads of the editorialists of the New York Times.