Skip to comments.Dutch Priest stands ground after denying funeral to man who chose euthanasia
Posted on 08/24/2011 4:09:38 PM PDT by wagglebee
NORTH BRABANT, Netherlands, August 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Dutch priest is standing his ground after following directives from the countrys bishops that anyone who opts for euthanasia is not entitled to a church funeral, according to Radio Netherlands.
Father Norbert van der Sluis, from the parish of Liempde in North Brabant, denied the Catholic rite of funeral to a man who ended his life through euthanasia, reports ANP. Van der Sluis said that he felt bound to uphold the rules which the Dutch bishops have agreed upon.
When it comes to euthanasia, my answer has to be no, he said.
The priests adherence to the Dutch bishops directives has sparked a local protest, caused the church council to halt a fundraising campaign to repair the church organ, and sparked outrage in the Dutch media.
Father van der Sluis parish council has reportedly demanded an apology from the priest and told him that he had better change his policy.
If he does not, you’d better get another priest, said a board member from the diocese of Den Bosch to the parish council.
Fr. John Lemire, the Chairman of Priests for Life Canada, told LifeSiteNews that the situation in Holland is a very interesting and delicate situation that affects not only the Church in Holland, but the Church in general today.
The Church has firmly taught over the centuries that one is only morally responsible for rational decisions that he or she makes, he said. If medical science and psychology come to understand that a person is capable of making a rational decision to end his/her life, this then raises new questions and pastoral responses from the Church since a person would therefore be morally responsible for his or her decisions and the direct taking of life is a never morally acceptable.
The family of the euthanized man has asked for another priest to preside over the funeral in the same parish. But Father van der Sluis has said that this is unacceptable.
As a matter of conscience I cannot allow a fellow priest to say the funeral mass in my church, he said.
Prominent conservative writer Wesley J. Smith has taken issue with the criticism that the priest is receiving. Refusing a funeral wouldnt be my preference, but it was the priests, and doesnt his conscience deserve at least equal respect to that of the decedents to receive doctor-injected death?” he said.
Heres the bottom line. All of this talk of choice in the culture of death is just talk. It is really about enforced moral conformity.
That is absolutely correct.
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“the direct taking of life is a never morally acceptable.”
In this context its not morally acceptable. But there are cases where the taking of life IS morally acceptable.
“Medical science and psychology” has already determined that some people who opt for death either by physician assisted suicide or by self inflicted suicide are competent to make this decision and, therefore, culpable.
What I find astonishing is that the parish council wants to force the priest to disobey Church law on this kind of matter. The priest should replace those people w/ real Catholics.
The author left out the adjective “innocent” before life.
Good for him.
When the Catholic church takes this kind of stand and sticks with it, they’ll see their numbers increase.
People don’t respect those with no convictions.
Strike the PC word “euthanasia” and substitute the REAL word it is - SUICIDE [which has ALWAYS been a mortal sin], so the priest was correct in his action ...
Can’t be buried in a Catholic cemetery either ...
I wonder what the man was dying of...I am not so confident as everyone here if I would have the courage to go on in some circumstances...but then, the sanctimonious are quick to judge.
theologically, of course, the church is right, the priest is right.
And yes, there is the slippery slope of the medical/political community. It is easy to quote theology and politics, but I wonder how difficult this must have been for this man and for his family.
I bet this man wasn’t suffering nearly as much as Pope John Paul II was in his final days.
such compassion you show!
We don’t know anything about this man or his illness. It is a very sad situation.
Let the flaming and judging begin!!!
A church ceremony is not a necessary part of a funeral. And that’s the way it is.
For whatever reason this man seems to have willingly rejected his Church and chosen his own solution.
His family should be chastised for disreguarding the mans wishes.
There is where the failure lies, in their hypocrisy.
Yes. Preventing one from murdering you or others is a perfect example.
Nobody forced him to be Catholic.
Those are the rules in such cases.
It’s always thrown me that there are so many people that are “catholics” but don’t believe much of what their denomination teaches. Either you are your denomination and believe and teach what that denomination says, or you aren’t and you determine where you need to be based on your own current studying of God and the bible.
You are right. so what?
I disagree for an odd reason. Pope John Paul II was afflicted, this is true, and likely feeling considerable pain. But “suffering” is an opinion, a reflection of self pity. It can be dispelled if you know that your pain has a righteous purpose, or that your spirit transcends it, and his did.
He was willing to live through his pain to his natural end as an example to others, that pain is just pain, and though it can be debilitating, it is only spiritually exhausting to the point where you want to die, when you let it. When you wallow in it.
Some people so unjustifiably indulge in pain that a paper cut can thrust them into a state of misery, suffering and anguish. They revel in their delicious self pity, feeling persecuted, even martyred, over something truly inconsequential. Even worse they cry out unto heaven to relieve them of their totally voluntary burden.
Truly this is using the Lord’s Name in vanity.
Even to his dying breath, it must have been of satisfaction to John Paul II that his end should convey one last message to the faithful.
He definitely deserved compassion and may God has mercy on this man. However, a church funeral is given or not given based on the sin he committed, and caused others to commit, and not on anything else.
Our anger should be directed at the Dutch government that allows assistant suicide and not at the priest who is doing his job very well.
the dutch are thick headed, good choice in this matter for standing his ground and making a statement about life..
so, there are still catholics in holland..
so, there are still catholics in holland..
at least one.
“but then, the sanctimonious are quick to judge.”
Yes, as you demonstrate so admirably.
People want it both ways. They don’t attend Mass for years, give nothing to the collection, die in a state of Mortal Sin and then the family expects a full-blown Catholic funeral with a priest presiding.
If you’re Catholic, you know those aren’t the rules, euthanasia being just one reason for refusal. The media we cannot expect to understand, but they will rant against any legitimate decision by the Church.
The Church is, after all, a private institution with certain membership requirements, so to speak, and protests and maligning the priest are tacky ways to respond. Keep your own house in order and think ahead to your own burial and leave these affairs to the proper authorities in the Church.
Pope John is a wonderful example.
but pain is also physiological and what I am saying is we don’t know what kind of pain this man was in...probably not a papercut.
I am always amazed at how people can infer what another human suffers. I certainly have no idea what this man and his family went through. I don’t know if given a terminal illness of years of endless excruciating pain I would be so noble and say “well, pain is just pain.”
I am not so sure that ALL pain can be “dispelled” as long as one knows it has a righteous purpose.
I believe that the church has every right to decide who gets a catholic funeral or gravesite...but I also believe our only goal is to be merciful to this man’s suffering.Who am I to say this man was “eveling in his delicious self pity.”?
I tried to distinguish pain from suffering as two very different things.
Pain is physical, objective and real. It can be treated with medicine or not, and it is there whether one is stoic or sensitive to it. It can indeed be both protracted and agonizing.
Suffering in not just enduring pain, it is reveling in it. It is assigning to it values like consciousness, or luck, or infliction by magical forces. It is frequently reminding those about you that you have pain and must be sympathized with because of it. That they must assist and abide you, and give you consideration because you have pain. It is making pain something that it is not.
And while people frequently equate pain with suffering, it is a poor comparison. Pain is normal and objective. Suffering brings out the worst of a person’s ego and self pity.
Pain makes life unpleasant, but suffering makes people want to commit suicide.
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2276 Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible.
Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.
2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.
2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.
It really isn’t a matter of judging and flaming. Those choosing suicide have always been unable to have a Funeral Mass or to be buried on consecrated ground. It matters not one bit what his illness was. The part that matters is that he took his own life. It’s truly that simple. Life is precious. All life. That is why we, as a Church, condemn euthanasia, contraception, abortion, et cetera. He knew this, and still chose the way he went. The shame here is that the parish council, such as it is, decided to try to contravene Canon Law.
I understand that his family grieves their loss. No one would say otherwise. But to refuse to see that he took his own life, on their part, is folly, no matter what.
This may help to further your understanding of the Catholic view of what has transpired here.
how many times did one see this one man stumbling along, using the staff that just 20 years earlier he twirled like a baton, using that same staff as a crutch
he was a tired, tired man who, if he just relied on human strength would not have been glad just to get up from bed.
But, I am pretty sure it was the Holy Spirit that was carrying Pope John Paul II, most especially in those last days when this was so visible that the only thing holding that man up was God's power.
As an aside -- for the past couple of weeks I was hiking in the Bieszczady mountains in the south-east of Poland --> JP used to love to hike there
And I realised how tough a guy Karol Wojtyla was -- I'm in pretty good condition, but the hiking routes (szlaki) in Bieszczady are TOUGH, scraggy.
This guy was tough physically and this showed in the early days of his papacy. Yet in the final days when his toughness had disappeared and we saw a tired old man we saw JPII's REAL toughness -- his faith and belief in God and God's power and his letting God do as He willed.
As yefrag said Even to his dying breath, it must have been of satisfaction to John Paul II that his end should convey one last message to the faithful.
I've had a close family member who was in the same position for years and I know we all thought death would be a relief for him and (shamefully) for us too. But euthanasia is so clearly taking away what God gave us.
This is very sad, but necessary. What the board members are doing is wrong.
Man in Black: "Life is pain, your highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
-The Princess Bride
Very interesting perspective and well articulated.
thank you for your reasoned response.
What a crock!
No one forced him to be Catholic.
I don’t think you’re as “recovered” as you profess....
So why are you trying to undermine his decision?
What do you mean by "our?" You are obviously not a practicing Catholic, sobwho are you to insinuate yourself into "our" goals?
I am so joyful to hear about a priest like this. If only we had more priests like this, like the one that decided that major pro-abort, pro-death Ted Kennedy deserved a Catholic funeral.
Our pastor explains it (paraphrasing) that a Catholic committing suicide may have changed his mind at the last moment; and we don’t know whether he did, or not. Therefore, providing a funeral, burial, etc. “just in case” is an act of mercy.
I don’t know if I buy it, but I do know that our Catholic Parish has more than one suicide buried in our Catholic cemetary, dating back at least 15 years. That includes a church employee — the minister of adult education.
Now, just this summer, a big, black, faux stone bench has shown up on the walk way into the main church with an inscription on it thanking “so and so” for “her years of dedication to the church school” from “the book club” proclaiming a curious wish of “going together” and a picture of a bouquet of balloons flying away. No scripture, no nothing.
I did not know this woman, but I’m told she was another suicide and the sister of the music minister/director.
Personally, I think that this is inappropriate for a Catholic church. What do you folks think?
1) The Pastor’s explanation for providing services for suicides.
2) The very prominent display of a memorial (reminder?) for a suicide (victim? participant?).
I find this disturbing.
But not a direct taking of life. If life is taken, it must be in the context of just war (which is pretty rare) or capital punishment after due process and made necessary by circumstances.
You are very welcome, as well as very gracious. It is a pleasure conversing with you.
Brilliant response...why not just attack my screen name.
Never said that...Not undermining the Priest’s decision.
Just calling for mercy of the suffering man.
the two are not mutually exclusive.
Try reading my posts first.
“our” refers to Christ’s call to the suffering of another soul.last time I looked Catholics are Christians.
Now, if you don’t want to be included in the “our”...no problem.
Where did Christ call for that?
And you want me to read?