Christian Attitudes to Sickness and Healing
Jesus is seen as a healer many times in the Bible:
- The healing of a leper
- The healing of a paralysed man
- The healing of the woman with the haemorrhage
The Church teaches that:
Christ is a healer of our soul and body.
The compassion of Jesus for the sick poing us to the Kingdom of God.
Jesus' compassion for the sick represent victory over sin and death.
Christians have a duty to care for the sick. It shows they are:
Following the example of Jesus
Serving Jesus as Jesus associated himself with the sick and outcasts.
Christian Attitudes to Sickness and Healing
How does the Church show concern?
Visit the sick
Bring them the sacrament of the Eucharist
Pray for them, asking God to take care of them
Show love to the sick & help them return to health
Sacraments of the Sick:
Communion of the sick - taking communion to those who can't attend Mass
Anointing of the sick - a sacrament given to the sick
Viaticum - special Eucharist for a dying person
Anointing of the Sick
The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick recognises the mystery of suffering and death and offers a way of facing the challenge.
Who is it for?
- Ill people
- Before a person has surgery
- Elderly people
- People who have already had it but illness has worsened
Sprinkling of Holy Water - Reminder of Baptism & call to follow Christ
- Liturgy of the Word - Readings show the healing power of Jesus
- Laying on of hands - Symbolises the giving of strenght, gift of the Holy Spirit and healing
- Anointing with oil - Symbolises God's blessing, healing and comfort
- Liturgy of the Eucharist - Brings person closer to Christ, offers strength & healing
Anointing of the Sick & Life After Death
Effects of the Sacrament:
- Brings power & love of Holy Spirit & offers spiritual strength, comfort, peace and courage
- Offers forgiveness of sins & leads to spiritual healing
- Helps person overcome fear of death & may restore physical health
Arguments FOR life after death (Catholic Church View):
- RELIGIOUS - Jesus rose from the dead & life after death gives meaning and purpose
- NON-RELIGIOUS - People have had near-death experiences where they see an afterlife
Arguments AGAINST life after death:
- People may not believe in God and if there is no God then there can be no after-life
- There is no place where life after death could take place
- There is no evidence of an after-life
- Death is the ending of life so life after death is a contradiction to this
Attitudes to Death and Life after Death
In Christianity, there is a belief in resurrection and life after death.
- Sometimes called a wake
- Keeping watch all night over coffin
At the Church:
- Coffin is sprinkled with holy water - reminder of baptism
- Mass continues normally
- Final commedation - prayers said to welcome the dead into God's Kingdom
At the Graveside:
- Body may be buried/cremated
- Prayers may be said again and holy water may also be sprinkled
Sanctity of Human Life
Sanctity of Human Life:
- The belief that every human life is a gift from God and has special value. Therefore, only God has the right to take away a life.
- Every human being is made in the likeness & image of God - ending a human life is killing a God-like creature.
- Human beings must not interrupt God's plan for a person by killing - God has a plan for everyone.
- Human beings have the ability to make moral decisions and Christ became human showing the possibility of perfection that humans can seek - by taking a life the chance of becoming anything like Christ is taken away.
CATHOLIC TEACHINGS : "You Shall Not Kill" & "You Shall Love Your Neighbour as Yourself"
Threats to the Sanctity of Life:
- Direct taking of a life: Abortion, murder, euthanasia, suicide
- Violation of human rights: Assault, torture, bad working conditions, slavery
All evil because they poison society, cause unnecessary suffering and show dishonour to God.
Abortion: deliberate termination of a pregnancy
In UK, abortions are legal if:
- 2 doctors agree it should be done
- the point of viability has not been reached
- continuing the pregnancy would put the mother's life at risk OR the mental/physical health of the mother is at risk OR there is a risk the baby will be born with serious disabilities
Why do women have abortions?
- Pregnancy is a result of ****/incest/casual sexual encounters
- Having the baby would interfere with lifestyle/career
- Woman not mentally/financially capable of raising child
- Life of mother is threatened by a medical condition - could be passed on to child
Arguments FOR abortion:
- women should choose what happens to their body
- abortion is not murder as foetus can't survive outside of womb on its own
Arguments AGAINST abortion (Catholic Church View):
- every human being has a right to live
- adoption is a viable alternative which achieves the same result
- goes against the sanctity of life
CATHOLIC TEACHING : "Thou shall not kill" & "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born i set you apart."
Adoption // Church can provide financial and social support
Impact of Church Teaching - Christians strive to:
Pray for : unborn children // pregnant women // those who have had abortions
Contraception - the artificial methods used to prevent a pregnancy taking place
Why do people use contraception?
To prevent unwanted pregnancies & STIs // to reduce acne // to regulate periods
Natural Contraception (considered OK in the Catholic Church):
Not making love and the Rhythm Method (sex when a woman is least fertile according to her menstrual cycle)
Condoms // Contraceptive Pill // Sterilisation
Views of Contraception:
The Catholic Church teachces that contraception is wrong because it promotes casual sex when sex is only supposed to take place within marriage. Contraception also prenvents the possibility of new life being created which is part of the purpose of making love. Others argue that there is nothing in the Bible against contraception.
In Vitro Fertilisation: A scientific method of making a woman pregnant which does not involve sex.
Alternatives to IVF:
Use fertility drugs which do not separate reproduction from the act of sex.
Arguments FOR IVF:
Infertility is an illness and so those suffering should receive treatment as with any other illness.
All couples should have a right to try for a baby. For some, IVF is the only way.
Arguments AGAINST IVF (Catholic Church View):
Can lead to destruction of new life if some embryos are thrown away (abortion - goes against sanctity of life)
Brings others into the process (e.g. doctors, donors etc) which challenges the exclusiveness of marriage
Encourages the idea that people have a right to have children, forgetting they are a gift
Euthanasia: Helping someone to kill themselves. Sometimes called "mercy killing"
Passive Euthanasia: Life-saving treatment is withheld from the person
Acitve Euthanasia: Something is done/given to the person to end their life (e.g. lethal injection)
Non-voluntary Euthanasia: Euthanasia where consent can't be given (e.g. person is in a coma)
Voluntary Euthanasia: Where the person suffering has asked for euthanasia
Laws about Euthanasia in the UK:
Euthanasia is against the law but it is okay to withdraw medical treatment or give a powerful painkiller and as a secondary effect, the person dies sooner.
Alternatives to Euthanasia:
The hospice movement which provides pain relief and care
Arguments FOR Euthanasia:
Mercy - if someone is suffering, it is the merciful thing to ease their pain and help them die
Freedom - humans should have the right to choose what happens to them
Quality of Life - if someone is suffering, their quality of life could decrease
Catholic Teachings on Euthanasia:
Every life is sacred - euthanasia goes against the sanctity of life
Suffering can be valuable - unites us with Christ and his suffering endured on the cross
Believes in the Doctrine of the Double Effect
Goes against the Biblical teachings - "Do not kill" & "I put to death and I bring to life"