The Bishop of Langres Monsignor De Metz-Noblat was kind enough to speak on Emmanuel Macron’s project to revise the Leonetti law. Assisted suicide, in his eyes, is part of the desire to control everything, when you are not the owner of your life.
jhm daily: before discussing the bill for the revision of the law, what do you say to those who have in mind that we are in any case alone to die?
Bishop De Metz-Noblat : in the deep conviction of our faith, we are not alone, even if it is the individual who makes the great passage. We have the hope that Christ, who has risen, will pass with us. We also appeal to the Virgin, it is the I salute you marie. Angels lead us. What is ideal for us is that the deceased be accompanied by the physical dead and the living on the other side. For us, the “good death” (the “eu” of euthanasia means good) is not the one we give ourselves or that we ask to be given, it is natural. It is true that today there are painful end of lives. But the nursing staff is attentive. He provides real support. That is why for us Catholics, palliative care, by being loving, is good.
jhm daily: can’t one be so bad while being alive that one yearns to die – by taking care of it or by asking a third party to do it?
Bishop De MN. : “Assisted suicide” is for us a serious question. Basically, we are against suicide. Why do we think about it? The first reason is “because I’m no longer useful”; the second is “because I no longer look like anything – and therefore, I can no longer do anything”. Suffering may possibly be another reason, but today, advances in medicine are such that it is very relative. Thirty years ago, a survey established that the person most in favor of euthanasia was a 65-year-old woman. A woman takes care of her appearance and fears her aging. This struggle with him is not new… Look at King Eson (whom Medea rejuvenates NDLR)… Yes, there is something that worries us. We do everything to ward off death. Today that we are able to change almost all the parts… death remains there: “everything is tired, everything breaks, everything passes”. Thus, we do everything to postpone death… and suddenly, we would like to hasten the thing. We are flabbergasted by this desire to control everything. Not every will is necessarily respectable. My life does not belong to me.
jhm daily: we would therefore imitate children, whose feeling of omnipotence we emphasize…
Bishop De MN. : in my homily on All Saints’ Day, I recalled that we do not decide, not even on the day of our birth. Wouldn’t we accept that another – God always – decides the day of our death? We are passing through. In his work Doctor of the incurable, Dr. Claude Grange indicates that the person who says “I want to die” is actually saying “I know that I am going to die”. In short, it is a call to take care of her. Because I only exist if I love and am loved.
jhm daily: is life worth living when you are worn ?
Bishop De MN. : I saw people in the hospital… and, in reality, they were the ones who visited me. They were actively asking for my news… It’s the other one who says “you are important to me”. This reversal that is taking place is salutary. The patient shows that he loves his visitor. Of course, the most terrible thing is for the parents. We knew his people in a setting and suddenly, they are decrepit. But even if I am not aware that I am someone, the others are aware of it.
daily jhm: sometimes we have the feeling of living in hell… Does hell exist on earth?
Bishop De MN. : no, these are hellish situations. “Keep your mind in hell and do not despair,” said the monk of Mount Athos (Starets Silouane Editor’s note). I’m not just a body, I’m a soul. A case had illustrated it. It was about a person in catalepsy, to whom a doctor had, in front of his pupils, twisted the breast. She was unable to react. But a student had seen a tear run down her cheek: she was afraid of being cut up alive. The mystery is what we will never have finished understanding. My human capacity is not limited to the capacity to express oneself.
jhm daily: you are indeed opposed to the revision of the law on the end of life…
Bishop De MN. : as it is, the Leonetti law is good: it’s not me who decides alone.
daily jhm: the Clayes–Leonetti law provides for a collegial reflection to decide to avoid therapeutic relentlessness… which has a cost. By considering thinking about the possibility of introducing “assisted suicide”, can we ask ourselves if an economic concern contributes to the desire to change the law?
Bishop De MN. : It would be a pity for her to take part in it… It is the character of reasonableness that the Leonetti law takes into account. 50 years ago, we would have died of starvation.
daily jhm: are you afraid of death?
Bishop De MN. : I am not yet afraid of death. It may come because, in fact, I am beginning to experience aging. I have my beliefs. Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus said “I am not dying, I am entering life”. I’m not afraid, but I’m not looking for death.
Interview by Fabienne Ausserre
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