There is a Light that is Going Out?

Morrissey Sides Recklessly with the Culture of Death

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. Advent for every Catholic is the beginning of a spiritual journey towards true joy, as we recall the great Mystery of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a spiritual time in which we prepare to celebrate the day when God entered into the World to share in the poverty, misery and suffering of the human experience to redeem our fallen human nature and unite us to Himself. It is the moment at which God, by His unfathomable generosity and love for us, steps into Time and begins what would become the Mystery of our redemption.

Like us in all ways but sin, the Child born in a manger, in the poverty of the stable would enter into our human experience concretely, cosmically and totally, uniting Himself with the human experience of life, suffering, rejection, betrayal, sadness and joy. It is a season of the Church at which we awe and a moment in which we recognise that, indeed, God wished to reveal Himself to be Love Itself and that we are called into a relationship with Him.

Of course, none of us are immune from the effects of Original Sin in terms of sadness, mental distress, misery, sinfulness or even the depths of despair. Yet, what we recognise in the Incarnation is that God has united Himself to us totally. It is in this great act of self-giving, this act of self-emptying which the Son would carry forth in His Ministry even unto His cruel Death upon the Cross that we, who live in this vale of tears find Hope, the kind of Hope of which neither Obama or any other human being can offer. Which is why one of my favourite singers, Morrissey has made me more than a little concerned.

The Telegraph reports that during the 'Desert Island Discs' interview the...

'...former frontman of 'The Smiths', famous for his melancholy lyrics, said that suicide was "an act of great self-control".

During the programme, which is broadcast on Sunday, Morrissey was asked by the presenter Kirsty Young: "Have you thought about being in control of your death? Have you thought about shuffling off this mortal coil at a time of your own choosing?"

He replied: "Yes, I have. I think self-destruction is honourable. I always thought it was. It's an act of great control and I understand people who do it." When asked what luxury he would take to his desert island, Morrissey deliberated taking sleeping pills. "I would either take a bed, because I like to go to bed, or I would take a bag of sleeping pills because I might want to make a quick exit," he said.'

Oh, dear. Cue requests from Philip Nitzchke to sign up Morrissey for his next trip to the UK to sell suicide kits. Let us take, not Morrissey as our model, but his patron, St Stephen, who died in defense of Holy Mother Church, for Morrissey's real name is Stephen Patrick Morrissey...'Lord forgive him, for he knows not what he says.'

God has united Himself with us in the Incarnation. Our Lord has, by His Birth, Life, Passion, Suffering and Death and Resurrection united Himself with us in fact so much, that in the face of such a sacred, burning, unquenchable love, no Catholic man can justify the act of self-destruction, for in so doing, he murders not only his own body but his own soul.

For God has loved him unto death, unconditionally and taken upon Himself all of his misery, heartache, trials and sins. God's love for us, as revealed by the Incarnation and the Cross is incomprehensible and infinite and yet, because we have free will we can reject Love. Ultimately, the tragedy of suicide is the tragedy of the rejection of Love. It can never be desribed as a 'great' or 'honourable' act because it is the rejection not only of self, but the God who 'loved him unto death'. No suffering is so great that it compares with the sufferings of Christ in His Passion, nor even perhaps the suffering His Heart undergoes when a soul condemns itself to eternal damnation. For even in the depths of despair and sorrow, to coin Morrissey, "there is a 'light' that never goes out." That Light is Christ.

Now, it is all very well for Morrissey to say under pressure from a BBC who appear to be a voice for the pro-assisted suicide lobby, 'I understand people who do it,' or 'Heck, well, you've listened to my music, you know I've been there!' A great many of us can say, 'I have felt suicidal.' Some can even say, 'I attempted suicide' and so we can 'understand' a great deal of what constitutes for the myriad feelings tending towards self-'termination'.

However, it is an incredibly reckless thing to say is that suicide constitutes 'an act of great self-control' for surely all suicide attempts are made at moments when people feel at their most out of control, or that self-destruction is 'honourable'. Morrissey has fans of course, many of whom are depressive misfits, which makes his comments even more scandalous. Suicide should in no way be esteemed, glamorised, recommended or promoted and, though I assume that the man who made these statements is lapsed, because they are so anti-Life and anti-Christian, he is a Catholic, which makes it even worse.

A part of Morrissey's attraction is the sense that he has been through the mill and he is still hanging in there. Morrissey's fans identify with his feelings of isolation, grief, feelings of being an outsider or an outcast, sexuality struggles, feelings of rejection, not fitting in, and bewilderment at the vulgarity of the modern World and for these reasons is revered by many as a great poet, singer and entertainer. Artists who suffer have a duty to inspire some kind of hope through their art and if they cannot inspire hope when giving interviews and end up endorsing suicide then they should keep their traps shut and let the music do the talking, because even if that can be depressing, at least his fans think, 'It's nice to know someone else knows how I feel.'

Still, if we really want to do that, perhaps we should stick to promoting the Gospel instead and telling people that if we were ever marooned on a desert island, we'd leave our Morrissey albums to the watery wreackage and just be glad we'd kept our Rosaries in our pockets.


Natasa said…
This is really sad but hardly surprising. His lyrics have always been so dark and full of misery. I was briefly into the Smiths as an undergrad but it was just too depressing for me. However, I can imagine unhappy teens taking his words as inspiration and glamourising suicide. He should know better.
pelerin said…
I am too old to even know who Morrissey is, but I do think it is extremely sad and irresponsible of the BBC to allow his views on suicide to be broadcast in his way.

However I don't think Desert Island Discs appeals to youngsters as a programme and perhaps older listeners will turn it off when they find the celebrity is a popstar so he may not have many listeners. But it is still irresponsible and from what you say his reply was in answer to a question put to him so perhaps he was forced into replying and was unprepared for the consequences of what he said.
shadowlands said…
I like what you said about slinging the discs and grabbing the beads. I have had some Morrissey type thoughts and unfortunately actions too, in my past,which I remorsefully regret and am learning to detach from, with God's grace. The Rosary can restore one back into the image God has(present tense) intended for us. I'm just meeting my own true being for the first time, day by day, if my will allows it to surface.

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