The Cult of Suicide
That was, however, the outcome of the Crusade against the Albigensian heresy of the 1200s.
The cult of the Albigensians resulted in a religion so divorced from anything good or human that the 'perfecti' denied the good of marriage and starved themselves to death. Not only were they doing it to themselves, but they were recommending it to others.
The heresy, steeped in a denial of Christ's humanity was considered a great danger to souls in France and the Crusade was launched by Pope Innocent III.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Crusades had limited success in converting the Albigensians. The cult were popular because they strove to live the poverty of the Apostles. St Dominic was sent and converted many Albigensians with a band of brothers - they could see he was the real deal, living an austere and holy example while preaching Christ Crucified. He fasted and prayed and Our Lady gave him the Holy Rosary in order for those who had strayed from truth and fallen into error the grace to meditate on the humanity and divinity of Our Lord, as presented in the Gospels. This was, apparently, more successful than burning them and putting swords in their heads.
I can't help thinking there are parallels with today, except nobody, I hope, is going to go around slaughtering advocates of suicide. It really is a great danger to the public good, however, that the media give so much attention to individuals, those suffering and those campaigning 'on their behalf' for the 'right to die'. It damages the whole culture of a community and country because death becomes the answer to a range of potential problems.
When a pro-suicide advocate was in Brighton a year or two back, he wanted to sell suicide kits to despairing Brightonians. I went and told him what I thought of his idea. He and his sidekick didn't like it. At the time a friend of mine who hears voices and who finds life, at various times, 'intolerable, miserable, degrading, frustrating' was living next door to the Brighthelm Centre (where Dr Death was doing his presentation) at the YMCA. I know one or two people with suicidal tendencies.
Were assisted suicide to be introduced, it is not just the terminally ill or those suffering with obvious physical conditions like locked-in syndrome that would be 'released' into the next life. People who need encouragement and love in order to carry their Cross would be tempted into the culture of suicide. Heroin addicts, people with schizophrenia or bi-polar conditions, people living in abusive relationships, people with debt and financial worries, people with big regrets and disappointments in life, people who've had all their kids taken into care - many people, at times - even if physically healthy, would be tempted to jack it all in, walk into the hospital and come out in a body bag. I'm sure people would say there will be safeguards, but then once you've introduced State-based death as a 'right', isn't it cruel to deny the right to others?
Of course, there are plenty of people out there and close to, if not in, the corridors of power who would only be too happy to extend such a proposed law to any one of the above examples. Also, that reminds me, you might have young or old gay men realising they are homosexual and not being able to handle it going to have themselves put down. You'd have people who just split up with their lovers, husbands and wives, who've had an awful break up and feel the ground has dropped underneath them. Potentially, all those people could apply to be killed by the State.
The worst thing of course is what the State does in response to such a potential stream of suicide customers. What if the State said, 'If you've got some physical problem which you find intolerable then that is fine, you can come and see us and we'll 'talk about the options'.' However, if the State turned people away from this suicide service on the ground that the person, though suffering, doesn't understand how valuable his life is or may be able to go on with love, counselling and encouragement, then what value does that mean the community and the State put on the life of those suffering from physical conditions.
That's the point: Once you have a situation where the State or society says 'you can die' but 'you should really live' then you've a situation in which some people are valued and others are seen as expendable, while the whole community, society or country is polluted not because of suffering, but is polluted by a whole culture of death, despair and a lack of love and compassion shown by those who were meant to reach out and care.
As an aside, I noticed that Tony Nicklinson's long-suffering wife mentioned that if the State didn't recognise her husband's right to death by doctor appointment then he may be forced to starve himself. Two things struck me here. First, I'm assuming that because of his condition, she is the one who makes the dinners, therefore she is the one who would starve him to death were this to occur. I'm guessing in the relativistic law of the land that is still murder? Secondly, she is saying it as if starving someone themselves to death is terrible and agonising way to die. I've no doubt it is. So, if death by starvation and/or dehydration is so bad then why is the public and the press in uproar about the Liverpool Care Pathway on which it is estimated that 130,000 UK citizens have died by starvation and dehydration!
I don't know how we can convince the modern day Albigensians who see suicide as way for the improvement of their condition of the terrible error of their argument. The Crusades were all 'shock and awe' and they didn't seem to work well anyway. The Holy Rosary was more powerful because it was from God. The only answer we have ever had is Jesus Christ. Those who believe in Our Lord are vulnerable to the temptation that would be introduced by such a proposal because we all have bad days, months or years of pain, suffering and distress. Those who don't believe in Our Lord would be like lambs to the slaughter! Please, good God, deliver us from the new Albigensians stalking the World today! Despite the fact that Jason is a brave survivor in this World, I can imagine him one day waking up and deciding that life sleeping on a loading bay in the cold isn't really a 'good quality of life'. Knowing there was a 'way out' down the road, for him, would be a great temptation. I'm sure Brighton and Hove City Council and the other authorities would be only too happy to 'help Jason out'.