What happens when churches embrace the zeitgeist

Sometimes I have an image in my mind like this—I’m fleeing over a wooden bridge that is on fire and flames are rapidly consuming the wooden rungs and underpinning behind me and others fleeing across.  Add a few fighter jets strafing the bridge as we on the bridge flee over what still remains of the bridge to the other side.

That image is a metaphor for the pressures that are attacking and destroying the influence of the Church on western society, and specifically the Anglican world we escaped from into the Catholic Church.

This horrifying story of an elderly couple who booked a simultaneous lethal intravenous injection, accompanied by a family reunion and a rosy, nostalgic report in one of Canada’s national newspapers is bad enough.  It’s the presence of the Anglican dean at their death that makes brings the burning bridge into my mind. 

The Living Church site highlighted this disturbing aspect in article headlined:  Dean presides at couples’ euthanasia.

Present were Pamela, Saxe and Angela, their spouses, the two doctors and Andrew Asbil, the Dean of Toronto’s St. James Cathedral, who later told me he had “without hesitation” supported the couple’s wish for their funeral to be held at the Anglican church.

Mr. and Mrs. Brickenden, dressed in caftans, drank champagne and nibbled on a last supper of hors d’oeuvre of lobster, salmon and filet.

The conflagration heading across the bridge has sent scorching embers causing fires even in the Catholic Church, I’m sorry to say.

Catholic clergy are under pressure to give sacraments of the Last Rites to people who have booked their lethal injection for the next day, to say nothing of funeral arrangements.

Rosy love stories like that of the Brickendons that highlight their autonomy and mutual decision and love-to-the-end, mask the fact many frail elderly and disabled people feel forced to make this “choice” to have themselves killed because they fear becoming a burden, because health authorities want to free up their bed for someone younger and acutely ill; and because they have no support to live, only offers of assisted suicide.


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