Ars Moriendi

Ars Moriendi

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. We sense that this is good time to look afresh at that tradition.

What is the ‘art’ in dying well?

The ‘art’ taught that  other people have climbed the same slope that you find yourself  climbing and  have fallen in the same way that you fall. And other people whose loved  ones  are dying, have learnt how to support them.

The ‘art’ lies in knowing  that you are not alone on the way you have been forced to  take. In the past,  illustrated books were written to share knowledge of the art of  dying.

Advice for the dying person

They were written as  manuals, providing advice for the person dying, for the family,  and for all the  carers including the priest.

Then, with advances in  palliative medicine, and with the corresponding need for  people to die in  hospital so as to control pain effectively, many of the lessons of  Ars  Moriendi  were lost or at least seemed less relevant. We handed  everything over to the  experts.

Ars Moriendi  today

But things have changed.  Now we are able to access high quality pain relief at home.  Once again, with  families more able to be involved, we sense that this might be a  good time to  take the  Ars Moriendi  as our inspiration and re-present it for  our own  times.

Today, we have all the  great opportunities that modern technology offers in making  high quality  material for a new  Ars Moriendi, and we have the internet and social  media to disseminate the content to as many people as might find it helpful.

The Art of Dying Well