In today's general audience a reflection on the end of life "that the culture of well-being seeks to remove". No to therapeutic obstinacy and assisted suicide. "Grateful to Benedict XVI for the advice he has offered us in the face of death's dark door". The invitation to continue to pray that in Ukraine the threats of war be overcome through dialogue.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Life is a right, not death, which must be welcomed, not administered. And this ethical principle concerns everyone, not just Christians or believers". Pope Francis returned to talk about the end of life today during the Wednesday general audience held in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican.
Continuing his cycle of catechesis on St Joseph, he dwelt on another aspect of popular devotion to this great figure: the invocation of him as the patron saint of the good death. "A devotion," he recalled, "born of the thought that Joseph died with the assistance of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, before they left the house of Nazareth.
"Perhaps," the Pontiff added, "some people think that this language and this theme are only a legacy of the past, but in reality our relationship with death is never about the past, but always about the present." In this regard, he praised the words written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the letter published yesterday, when he recounts his attitude in the face of the "dark door of death". "What beautiful advice he has given us," Francis commented, "we thank Pope Benedict for this lucidity".
It is precisely the experience of the pandemic - after all - that has brought to the fore the theme of death that "the so-called culture of well-being seeks to remove. Many brothers and sisters have lost loved ones without being able to be close to them, and this has made death even harder to accept and process".
"But the Christian faith," added Francis, "is not a way to exorcise the fear of death, rather it helps us to face it. The true light that illuminates the mystery of death comes from Christ's resurrection. And thinking about death, illuminated by the mystery of Christ, helps us to look at the whole of life with new eyes".
Death remains an event with which we must come to terms and in the face of which we must also make choices. "I have never seen - noted the Pope - behind a hearse, a moving truck. There is no point in accumulating if one day we will die. What we need to accumulate is charity, is the ability to share, to not remain indifferent to the needs of others. Or, what is the point of arguing with a brother or sister, a friend, a family member, or a brother or sister in the faith if one day we will die? In the face of death, so many issues are resized. It is good to die reconciled, without leaving grudges and without regrets".
Finally, Pope Francis drew from all this two social considerations on the theme of the end of life: "We cannot avoid death, and precisely for this reason, after having done everything humanly possible to cure the sick person, it is immoral to engage in therapeutic overkill. Let him die in peace': how much wisdom there is in this statement by so many simple people".