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In the popular UK soap, Coronation Street, the character Haley Cropper was suffering with terminal cancer, an awful disease which affects so many people. She disclosed to her husband Roy that she intended to end her life to avoid the pain and disability that may follow. She decided when, where and how she would achieve this. Roy attempted to dissuade her, he was distraught, he wanted to care for her and be with her to her natural death as any loving husband would.

But Roy was not given that opportunity. Haley took a lethal drink and died in his arms. The Church teaches that such an act is wrong on several counts. First, to take our own life defies a natural basic instinct to live, to live a life that is given to us by God. Secondly, it destroys the love we should have for ourselves and deprives those around us from loving and serving us to the end. Some of this has been demonstrated in the responses of the cast who are distraught that suicide was being considered. Worst of all, suicide is a rejection of God and the gift of life that he gave us and as such it is an act of disobedience. ‘Thy will be done’ is replaced with ‘My will be done.’ Whether the act of suicide is a mortal sin and a bar to the Kingdom of Heaven is a matter for God to judge and depends on many factors.

Taking all this into account, how much better would the storyline have been if the writers had chosen to showcase the palliative care and immense love shown by those who work up and down the country in the hospice movement? Those around her could also have demonstrated their love for Haley and had a chance to say their own goodbyes.

But no, they went down the suicide route, narrowly avoiding, of course, the assisted suicide story for which it appeared to be heading as that may have been too political for the current social climate.

So why was the suicide route taken? Because the media is being used by our secularist society to slowly drive us into submission to ‘their will’, the will of man. Suicide, assisted suicide, euthanasia and abortion all help to rid society of those who cannot contribute any longer, those whom society finds inconvenient. In the UK and much of the west, we are sleepwalking into a culture of death, rather than being people of the light.

To prove the point, Haley will have a ‘humanist’ funeral in which, no doubt poems will be read and those attending will be encouraged to celebrate her life. Why bother? What was it for unless it was ‘to know, love and serve God in this life and to be with Him in the next’.

Thank God that amongst Christians, the funeral Mass is about praying for the repose of the soul so that the individual benefits from prayer and temporal sin is removed completely before spending eternity in heaven with God our Father. It is also an opportunity for the community to console one another and to encourage prayer for the repose of the soul of the deceased loved one.