Restoring the Sacred

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Screwtape and "Death with Dignity"

Carrie Cress, Ph.D. drew on C. S. Lewis' classic: The Screwtape Letters yesterday in an essay she wrote for Catholic World Report, entitled: Screwtape and the Marketing of Suicidism.

Those not familiar with The Screwtape Letters can read a brief summary of C. S. Lewis and his classic by clicking HERE.

Cress composed her own tongue-in-cheek version of the great classic to bring clarity to the whole concept of "death with dignity."  She titled her parody, “Marketing Murder Through Suicide,” and it's reproduced below in its entirety.
Screwtape: “So Wormwood, how are our numbers this year?”
Wormwood: “Well, pretty good. Loads of suicides that featured massive casualties are really up. ISIS and Co. have been a great investment.”
Screwtape: “Yeah, they keep falling for that 5000 virgins thing you came up with awhile back. Let’s continue that program. You know I was against it at first, but it really is working. Go figure. What else you got?”
Wormwood: “The Dutch are not disappointing us either. You know we convinced them that the most compassionate thing we could do is to let those who want to die die – and they took to that like fish in water. Well, we have added a second tier to that program and now they are killing off those they think should die – the mentally ill, terminal patients, etc…”
Screwtape: “Excellent. Is this catching on anywhere else?”
Wormwood: “We have to start slowly, and get suicide normalized first, but there are big gains in North America. That Brittany Maynard case was huge for us. One people believe that life is theirs to keep or destroy, anything is possible. Won’t be long before we can roll out the second phase, particularly now that health costs are going up and no one wants to pay for vegetables.”
Screwtape: “I was a genius to come up with that 'death with dignity' line. It works every time, you know.”
Wormwood: “Yes, and western mortals also really like the 'physician-assisted suicide' tag. Makes suicide sound clinical and legit.”
Screwtape: “Indeed.”
Wormwood: “I have to say, that frightening Fulton Sheen [shudders] had this figured out in the 1940s, when he called it 'suicidism' and said it was 'symptomatic of a spiritual disintegration' and 'a plunge into the irrational and the meaningless self-destruction'. Thankfully, few noticed then and even fewer care now. Ooh, but I do love a good explosion of meaningless self-destruction—it makes me smile!”
Screwtape: “There, there; calm yourself. We must not let our delight in death distract us from further opportunities. What other notable advances can we claim?”
Wormwood: “My honorable mention of the year is Andreas Lubitz, pilot of GermanWings Flight 4U 9525. This is the stuff that nightmares are made of, which is a dream come true for us. Of course, we had our best guys on it for years, but we finally hit pay dirt. The promise of fame, in the end, was just too much and Lubitz did all the heavy lifting – and locking – for us. I think we should use this as our model for the year. Groundbreaking stuff.”