By Susan Ciancio
I have always enjoyed a good crime show, and one of my favorites over the years has been the Law & Order series. But like many shows these days, it seems that the writers have an agenda—one where only some people matter.
In the final episode of the season (yes, this is a spoiler, so beware!) for the Law & Order spinoff entitled Organized Crime, one of the main characters (a police detective) was shot through the neck. The bullet severed his spinal cord, and he was rendered a quadriplegic. Lying in the hospital room, he begged his partner to kill him by removing the box that sends shocks to his nerves to help him breathe. He said he didn’t want to live.
His partner was appalled at the request and refused to comply. Then the man’s father entered the room, and the other detective left. The father touched his son’s face lovingly, and tears fell down the son’s cheeks. We hear no dialog. A few scenes later, however, the father has gone, and the son codes and dies. It’s clear that the box is no longer attached. It is also clear that the father has done what his son’s partner refused to do.
This is truly a devastating scene, a sad narrative of what goes on in our society today, and a telling tale of what the media wants us to believe.
There is absolutely no doubt that life as a quadriplegic would be extremely difficult—emotionally, physically, and even financially. But there is also no doubt that this man’s life had the same value it had prior to him being shot.
And that’s the message that shows like this avoid. They want people to believe that this act of killing is “merciful” because this man’s life would have been hard and because he couldn’t do the things he used to do. They want viewers to have such misguided sympathy for his situation that they would condone killing.
It’s a sad state indeed, and it’s one we must combat.
Having mercy on someone does not mean believing that his life is not worth living. A person does not lose dignity because of a disability. We all have dignity; we were given this dignity at our creation by our Creator. It is our job to uphold this dignity in ourselves and others. To do so, we treat all people as Christ would. We love, cherish, and care for others with compassion no matter what they can or cannot do. We teach them that their value is not dependent upon their abilities. The best way we can do this is to teach society to care for others and to help those with disabilities understand that they are not burdens to be dispensed with but cherished brothers and sisters to be cared for.
This type of education begins when children are small. We must teach them to care for and perform acts of kindness for younger siblings, for elderly grandparents, or for sick parents or friends. We teach them to see Christ in all people and that in doing for others we do for Him. We teach that there is great honor in helping others. And we teach that no one is a burden, even though caring for them might be difficult at times.
At the Culture of Life Studies Program, we understand how vital it is to impart these lessons on our children. Too often our society promotes selfishness and a woke ideology that leads kids down a very dangerous path and away from Christ. It’s this “you do you” mentality that demonstrates what all too many people believe today: If it’s not hurting me or anyone else, go ahead and do it.
This mentality fails to take into account the person himself—that he is a beloved child of God whom we should care about and protect even if he fails to protect himself.
It is our job as parents to teach this. And CLSP lessons help. One in particular will help your teens combat a culture that claims that “death with dignity” is merciful. Without Mercy: An Introduction to Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Other Threats to the Medically Vulnerable examines the topics of euthanasia and assisted suicide and teaches students the reality behind what the culture of death advocates regarding end-of-life issues.
Using Church documents, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and subject-matter experts, this four-day supplement provides students with a basic understanding of the Catholic Church’s teachings on euthanasia and gives students the tools they need to defend those teachings against current cultural attitudes and pro-euthanasia arguments.
Through discussion questions, case studies, and the presentation of real-life scenarios, your children will learn how to articulate their beliefs so that they can stand up for those who are vulnerable or nearing the end of their lives. In addition, they will learn the redemptive value of suffering and why we should use our suffering to unite with Christ on the cross.
Lessons like these are invaluable. Lessons like these help our children grow closer to Christ by teaching the sanctity of all human beings. And lessons like these help us build a culture that respects all life—from creation until death.