Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Catholic View of Death

I have picked this little excerpt because it is one of the few places GKC mentions today's saint, St. Cecilia. It is also an excellent corrective, as so much of his writing is, for the modern and popular view. But see for yourself, and you will have a resource for the next time someone brings up the question of death and suicide:
Now, of course, as I say, a Catholic knows the answer; because he holds the complete philosophy which keeps a man sane; and not some single fragment of it, whether sad or glad, which may easily drive him mad. A Catholic does not kill himself because he does not take it for granted that he will deserve heaven in any case, or that it will not matter at all whether he deserves it at all. He does not profess to know exactly what danger he would run; but he does know what loyalty he would violate and what command or condition he would disregard. He actually thinks that a man might be fitter for heaven because he endured like a man; and that a hero could be a martyr to cancer as St. Lawrence or St. Cecilia were martyrs to cauldrons or gridirons. The faith in a future life, the hope of a future happiness, the belief that God is Love and that loyalty is eternal life, these things do not produce lunacy and anarchy, if they are taken along with the other Catholic doctrines about duty and vigilance and watchfulness against the powers of hell. They might produce lunacy and anarchy, if they were taken alone. And the Modernists, that is, the optimists and the sentimentalists, did want us to take them alone. Of course, the same would be true, if somebody took the other doctrines of duty and discipline alone. It would produce another dark age of Puritans rapidly blackening into Pessimists. Indeed, the extremes meet, when they are both ends clipped off what should be a complete thing.
[GKC The Thing CW3:307-8]
And that fits in quite well, not only with our previous discussion of the knights, but even with our larger study of Science. Consider this again: "...he does know what loyalty he would violate..." Think about it...


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