Pope Francis: the lives of those with serious illness are worth living

*The Holy See Press Office has released Pope Francis’s message for the 23rd World Day of the Sick, which will take place on February 11. …

“It is relatively easy to help someone for a few days but it is difficult to look after a person for months or even years, in some cases when he or she is no longer capable of expressing gratitude. And yet, what a great path of sanctification this is!”

“How great a lie, on the other hand, lurks behind certain phrases which so insist on the importance of ‘quality of life’ that they make people think that lives affected by grave illness are not worth living,” the Pope added. “People immersed in the mystery of suffering and pain, when they accept these in faith, can themselves become living witnesses of a faith capable of embracing suffering, even without being able to understand its full meaning.”*Catholic Culture

I don’t anticipate these comments of Pope Francis’ going viral in the secular media like some of his other statements. This doesn’t fit the caricature of him they wish to market.

Praying for faith and strength for all the persons suffering illnesses and that they may be surrounded by love and care. May we be compassionate with those who are lonely.

This upsets me to be honest.
So some people should just suffer and suffer and that should be their life?
I’m not talking about cancer etc,I’m talking about some severe forms of illness where the person is in immense continual suffering and torment with no end.
Regardless of the Catholic view on suffering this to me seems so cruel because if people were getting physically tortured somewhere by "bad people, the pope,Catholics etc would say this needs to stop,they wouldn’t say “this torture is good for them” so why have such an insensitive attitude to illness torture.
It sounds very insensitive and non compassionate when people who have never experienced or witnessed immense unbearable suffering talk about the “goodness of suffering”.
They will never understand unless they walk in those shoes.

It’s never ok for someone to suggest that a person who is gravelly disabled etc life is worth less than any other life.
But when that person THEMSELF says that their suffering is unbearable then no one else has the “right” to speak on that matter except them.
Quality of life is not a bad thing.every one deserves some quality of life to be able to get basic pleasure of life.To be able to get pleasure from gods creation like enjoying the ocean etc…

I admit this is a hard issue for me, as well.

I can sometimes think, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

I can think I wouldn´t want to die like that.

There exist some cases that are just so awful. I heard of cases, believe it was from WWII, where people were literally cut in half, screaming in pain, for someone to put that person out of his misery.

To be honest, I´d be darned tempted under certain circumstances, such as those, were I to have a gun, to shoot.

There are also other cases, as well, that are just so extreme, it does actually seem the merciful thing in some cases. The idea of “no exceptions, ever”, concerns me, because life seems to be an exercise in exceptions.

I admit I view that under a different category than “murder”.

Equally, though, if we start making exceptions, it would be a slippery slope, like with so many other things.

It’s hard.

Two very good posts Elena and Marco.

I had an illness once that lasted a month. I remember promising God anything if he would take the pain away. I would lay in bed watching the clock tic by so I could take another pain killer, which had bad side effects. I could only suck on ice cubes until the pain went away at last. It was a month after the pain ended before I could eat solid food again.
Years later, I spent eight months with chronic pain from another source. I was not bed ridden this time, but it was still awful.

I cannot imagine living with chronic pain with no end in sight. I suppose if it is a terminal illness you can in some cases get an appropriate level of pain relief.

As one who did see the other side or the end of the pain, I did come out a better person, in that things that I once placed a high importance on, no longer mattered. What helps a great deal, even if the sufferers cannot express it, is to have someone around who cares about them.

I pray for those who suffer in chronic and or terrible pain. I ask that the Lord and the Mother of God comfort them and especially for those who are alone, or do not have a loved one with them.

I think that just might be one of those cases where a morphine overdose might be forgiven, but what a terrible position for anyone to be in.

What I also find hard to accept is that Catholics are allowed to put animals down.
We are told animals arn’t as high as humans,I agree.
But I’ve heard people say it’s ok to put animals down due to financial burden on the family etc but in reality many people do it to make the animal stop suffering.
Why must we allow humans to remain suffering but take compassion on animals?
I should restate,I’m not suggesting it’s ever ok that we view certain members of society as less valuable and take their lives etc,that would be horrible.
I mean when the person themselves states their suffering is unbearable,that’s when I have difficulties accepting what the Pope/church says.

I’d shoot the guy who was cut in half, without question.

I would too but I thought that would be a sin because of taking a life?

I thank God that the Pope is speaking up not just for those who are suffering, but also for those doctors decide are not worth the air that they breath or a single heart beat. If my mother were to ever go into hospital, she would not come out alive because they would not treat her (and I doubt she would receive any nourishment). The crime she committed to warrant this death penalty, was to be an elderly victim of a massive stroke. She suffers at times, but with love, patience and a doctor who values life, she is well cared for and has her own quality of life.

I don’t like suffering, but it is a part of life that most of us have to deal with (whether physical and/or mental). But it seems too many people want to take the easy way out by killing instead of alleviating pain and suffering through medicine and technology. Our societies are rotting so badly that parents are criticised for allowing their loved and loving disabled child to live (from an EWTN interview), children in Belgium can be manipulated into agreeing to be put down and in the Netherlands, doctors decide who lives and who dies, without necessarily consulting victim or family.

Yes I feel strongly about this, and yes people can come up with instances where medicine is not fully effective, but what is the end result and who does it really benefit? I could go on endlessly but instead I will keep praying for a world that slaughters the unborn, elderly, disabled, sick (in heart, mind and/or body), the refugees, children (especially baby girls), Christians, those who have the wrong skin colour or accent and those who groups of people decide are worthless.

Good post…I couldn’t agree more. And just to add to your point, the media won’t go viral with this comment for another reason. You are right to point out that it doesn’t fit the caricature they wish to market, but also the topic itself isn’t one that fits neatly into the narrative the secular media wishes to advance. If the pope can be used by the secular media to advance the “gay rights” agenda, so be it. But the media will never use the people’s own words to advance the discussion on the dignity of all human life. They have no interest in getting society to even consider such a thing.

My mother is suffering greatly due to vascular dementia. She is not the mother I knew all my life. I can’t express what my mother is going through. It is a nightmare. The reason I can’t sleep at night. She begs me daily to go to the doctor and have him give her something that will take her life. She doesn’t want to live this life anymore. It’s horrific. I hurt so much for her and understand what she is asking. But of course I won’t pursue this. The mother I knew, compared to what she is now, wouldn’t of wanted to ever end her life. The pain is just too great. Please pray for her.

I’m so sorry marymmma.


The more inclined towards hedonism and nihilism the majority become – the concept of any redemptive possibilities of suffering becomes impossible for some to grasp. I tend to think Salvifici Doloris would be completely ignored if it was released today.

I will pray for her and you. May God give you both strength and comfort.

I remember Hans Kung made a big splash when he said he would consider ending his life as his disease progressed. It is good that the pope made this statement - good for all of the caregivers who need support during what is often a very long illness, and good for those who are sick and in pain, to remember that life matters. I think there will always be some who reach the limits of their endurance, and we must consider them with mercy, but to make euthanasia a regular policy is a horrible and dangerous trend. Good for Pope Francis to reaffirm Church teaching again!

They say it is, no exceptions, but I wonder about that. They say we are to stand by, do nothing.

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