Refusing to Suffer is Refusing to Live

ChelseaCulture of Death, Suffering1 Comment

Because it has been my observation that one of the supporting pillars of the culture of death (those kneejerk proponents of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, cloning/ESCR) is a desire to avoid or alleviate human suffering at all cost (a woman with an unwanted pregnancy doesn’t want the “burden” of a child; sick people want cures for what ails them or they want to be put out of their misery altogether, etc…), more than once on this blog I have said that: A culture that respects human life must have a joyful acceptance of human suffering.

This expressed sentiment prompted Jen at Conversion Diary to ask, among other things, why? Said Jen:

Ever since I first came across these thoughts, over and over again I see that respect for human life and hatred of any kind of suffering are inversely proportional: as one increases, the other decreases. But I don’t know how to articulate the situation any further than that….

Why is it that fear of suffering leads to decreased respect for human life?

At the time she asked that, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond and for the past two and a half years it’s been sitting in the back of my mind. Finally, I think I might have an answer, which I wrote in a column for the Patheos Catholic Portal: Refusing to Suffer is Refusing to Live:

Though I had come up with the connection between the culture of death and society’s disdain for suffering, I couldn’t exactly explain why the two were so connected. Then, nearly two years later, I came across a section in Fr. Jacques Philippe’s book Interior Freedom entitled “Refusing to Suffer Means Refusing to Live”:

Suffering should be remedied whenever possible, but it is a part of life, and attempting to get rid of it completely means suppressing life, refusing to live, and ultimately rejecting the beauty and goodness that life can bring us.

Why does hatred of suffering lead to decreased respect for human life? Because refusing to suffer is refusing the totality of living. It is a rejection of life itself.

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