The Catholic Church offers practical and spiritual support to those faced with the prospect of death via the Art of Dying Well. We believe that death opens the way to new life. In dying, we close our eyes for the last time here, in order to be able to really see for the first time there.
Regardless of our beliefs, most of us want to die peacefully and in a way that gives comfort to those who are grieving for us.
There are many things in modern life that can make this difficult. One of the biggest factors is our reluctance to think about death and to talk about it openly.
That is why we want to begin a conversation about how to die well. We want to discuss support for the dying and those close to them. We want to replace the prevailing climate of fear and anxiety about death with one of gentleness and hope.
It may sound odd at first but valuing life and accepting death go hand in hand. That is why the Catholic Church is against voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide – the so-called “right to die”. It is not only that euthanasia cuts life short. It is also that, if we take our own life, we miss the opportunity really to accept death as something that comes to us.
Catholics believe in letting go and trusting in God in the final journey towards death and eternal life. But even if you are not religious, accepting death can make it easier to prepare yourself and others when the time comes. It should open the way to important conversations with your loved ones, your carers and your doctors.
There is a shared interest in discussing how we can make death more peaceful and meaningful. It is likely that you will share the Church’s concern that sometimes, particularly in hospital, dying patients are subjected to unnecessary medical interventions that prolong suffering.
You will probably agree with the Church that they should be kept as comfortable as possible and given appropriate pain relief. You will probably want to know more about what you can do to achieve a good death for you and your loved ones.
This site is not only for those who have faith, whether Catholic or not. It is for everyone.
After centuries of ministering to the dying, the Catholic Church has a fund of experience to share in what was traditionally called the art of dying well, or in Latin, Ars Moriendi.
“Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ,
Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
who was poured out upon you,
go forth, faithful Christian.
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
with Joseph, and all the angels and saints.