I heard the grievous news today that the House of Lords has ruled in favour of ''assisted suicide.'' Since when was anyone at liberty to decide the hour of their own death? Just think of the ghastly implications of this ruling, and where it will logically lead - I see it now: anonymous doctors and clinicians, handed documents about someone they deem to be disabled, or a ''burden,'' and they stamp the form with red ink - ''let him be killed'' - in the interests of ''human dignity'' of course. This is going to be worse than Nazi Germany, or the purges of Stalin. I am not one bit surprised by the ruling though, if I am quite honest - for as I told my parish priest this evening, I have always had a pessimistic view of life, particularly as regards the Church in the Modern World, you know, fighting the ''long defeat'' and all that...
The ruling put me in mind of a quotation from The Lord of the Rings:
''He calls,'' said Gandalf, ''but you cannot come to him yet. For he must seek healing on the threshold of death, and maybe find it not. Whereas your part is to go to the battle of your City, where maybe death awaits you. This you know in your heart.''
''He will not wake again,'' said Denethor. ''Battle is vain. Why should we wish to live longer? Why should we not go to death side by side?''
''Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor, to order the hour of your death,'' answered Gandalf. ''And only the heathen kings, under the domination of the Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair, murdering their kin to ease their own death.'' (The Lord of the Rings, Book V, Chapter VII, The Pyre of Denethor. Emphasis my own).