Fr. Matthew P. Schneider: Assisted Suicide: How the Church Should Behave and WHY

Daily Reading & Meditation: Thursday (August 29)
August 29, 2019
‘The Great Scattering’: How Identity Panic Took Root in the Void Once Occupied by Family Life, by Mary Eberstadt
August 29, 2019

Hands in despair (CC0 Cristian Newman on Unsplash)

By Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, LC, Patheos, Aug. 28, 2019

This week, news came out of Seattle of Robert Fuller who died via assisted suicide. Two reports about how his parish dealt with it also emerged. I will quote both reports. His story raises questions about how we as a Church should help people intent on assisted suicide or euthanasia. After the news stories, I will explain Church teaching.

Robert Fuller’s Story

At first, the report from AP via the Detroit News seems pretty normal now this is legal.

The day he picked to die, Robert Fuller had the party of a lifetime. […]

With an elaborately carved walking stick, he shuffled around to greet dozens of well-wishers and friends from across the decades, fellow church parishioners and social-work volunteers. The crowd spilled into a sunny courtyard on a beautiful spring day.

A gospel choir sang. A violinist and soprano performed “Ave Maria.” A Seattle poet recited an original piece imagining Fuller as a tree, with birds perched on his thoughts.

And when the time came, “Uncle Bob” banged his walking stick on the ceiling to command attention.

“I’ll be leaving you in a little over an hour,” he announced.

A sob burst. Fuller turned his head sympathetically toward its source.

“I’m so ready to go,” he said. “I’m tired.”

Later that afternoon, Fuller plunged two syringes filled with a light brown liquid — a fatal drug combination mixed with Kahlua, his favorite alcohol — into a feeding tube in his abdomen. He was one of about 1,200 people who have used Washington’s Death with Dignity Act to end their lives in the decade since it became law. ….