Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Andrea Bocelli tells a "little story" about how glad he was that his mother didn't abort him.
He emphasizes that life is complicated and that he's glad she made a choice. It's a common "pro-life" argument: what if all the great minds of the world were aborted? It may be a compelling story, that we have a fabulous entertainer like Bocelli because one strong woman, his mother, stood up in the face of medical complications and chose to, along with her child, to suffer the consequences. But the underlying messaging of this reasoning is the very effective call for self-sacrifice. Of course Mama Bocelli should have had a choice. And that, after all, is the point.
Patholysis: Destroying Suffering.
So with all the terminology struggle that surrounds the "culture war" issues of abortion and assisted suicide, Thaddeus Pope makes us aware of Kevorkian's preferred term for what he did for more than 130 patients and ultimately went to jail for. Patholysis. The destruction of suffering. The term's been around for a while, notes Pope, but certainly hasn't made it into common language, even among those of us that watch end of life issues. Why?
Suffering has value to much of society. And I think this is the heart of the culture wars. Who suffers. A rape victim suffers a pregnancy. A teen female pays for having sex before marriage. A dying patient dies in pain. A mother of three who is abused by her husband suffers for the sake of her marriage and to keep her three children from being fatherless. Suffering is redeeming and reminds us of the unfairness of life, of the roles that we play in society, of God's awesome power, of Christ's pain on the cross.
A frank discussion of who should suffer - if anyone - and why would change the way we look at "culture war" issues. For this reason alone, Kevorkian's term has validity.