By Rev. Walter Macken
The Church always has had a down-to-earth, realistic, and at the same time immensely sympathetic view of death. The Roman Catechism warns against pastors who delay the last rites until it is almost too late. The Church has always wanted to give people the maximum opportunity to face the moment of leaving this life with all the help and assistance promised by our Lord. Fundamentally the phrase of St. Paul, which is a cry of victory, always has been the basis for the Christian's attitude to death: "This corruptible nature of ours must be clothed with incorruptible life, this mortal nature with immortality. Then, when this mortal nature wears its immortality, the saying of Scripture will come true. Where then, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?" Rather than the end, death has to be seen as a beginning; it is the beginning of real life, a life which is genuine and lasting, where there are permanent values and real absolutes. Beyond death lies the target which is truly definitive.
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