In a television talk show (Stasera Italia, October 14th 2020), the progressive sociologist Marco Revelli, alarmed, denounced the climate of collective anxiety sweeping across Italy and the West as a result of the macabre dance of the Coronavirus. “Death is circulating the West”, he said, evoking this specter.
Death, however, has never stopped circulating. People die and continue to die every day in a thousand different ways. Death is one of the few certainties, perhaps the very first one, of our lives. We live, but the life of our body has an inescapable limit.
Modern society has tried to remove the thought of death, which infringes the law of pleasure and the wellbeing of the masses.
Death is the consequence of original sin and modern society denies original sin, it denies every sin, presuming that it’s possible to defeat illness and death.
This presumption is a diabolical dream, since it is inspired by the One who inspired the first sin: the Prince of Darkness: he who continues repeating to men: “You will be like gods” and proposes that they arrive at this objective through science, and in particular, through genetic manipulation.
The prohibition against speaking about death, is always expressed in the indignation generated against those priests who speak in their sermons about what was once called exercises for a happy death: the preparation for that fatal moment that awaits each one of us. St Alphonsus de’ Liguori, who wrote a beautiful book entitled, Preparation for Death, in his Massime eterne, reminds us that death is the moment which eternity is contingent upon; a happy eternity or forever unhappy, of joys or woes, of every good or every evil; an eternity of a Paradise or a Hell (Massime eterne, Roma 1910, pp. 11-12).
Yet if a Catholic speaks about death he is accused of wanting to create terror and anguish and ostracized as a prophet of doom, almost as if speaking about death meant desiring, or accelerating this hour. And silence about death has been the dominant maxim up to now.
In a few short months everything has changed. The Specter of Death with his Sickle has been imposed on society and is evoked by those same scientists who should have defeated illnesses and death but have proved themselves impotent faced with the Coronavirus pandemic.
For those who know that death is not the end of everything, but the beginning of another life, this would be a golden opportunity to engage in the apostolate of a happy death. But the priests are silent and the ones speaking about death are sociologists like Revelli or scientists, like Massimo Galli, who claims publically he is an atheist and thus incapable of casting a glance beyond death.
It is no surprise then if contemporary society, incapable of giving meaning to life, falls into anguish when faced with illness and death. It is surprising, though, the silence of those who do have all the weapons to defeat – not death – but the anguish that surrounds it: the ministers of the Apostolic Roman Catholic Church, which holds all the truths regarding the life and death of men and their otherworldly destiny and is the sole possessor of words of eternal life. (John, 6,88).
Our appeal is humble, but ardent. At this tragic and confusing time of our history, Pastors, – speak to us – not about this earthly life – but of the other: eternal life, the real life, upon which we place all our hopes.