Dying atheist and healing masses

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Nimeniton
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:59 am

Dying atheist and healing masses

Post by Nimeniton » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:39 am

In July 2011 last year I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. This is not curable unlike early stage prostate cancers and my prospects are grim. Still modern medicine can do a lot to delay the inevitable. Hormone treatment can keep the cancer at bay for on average 18 months. After 7 months my cancer became aggressive again and I recently left Finland to stay with my parents. I very much wanted to spend the remainder of my life with my family and they were keen that I join them. They are generous and healthy and fit for their years.

My mother is a very strict Catholic but even she said that I would not be asked to join them for daily mass - a huge concession from her which I very much appreciate. Today, I discovered they will be having a healing mass for me and my mother's lips trembled when she said she knew that I did not believe but I could see that she hoped I would one day attend.

This was difficult for me. They have been very good and helpful to me yet I know this healing mass is a waste of time and I have no desire to encourage this false hope. I have seen my mother pray for the recovery of a daughter and a grand-daughter and each time her prayers were not answered. Today, their graves lie side by side.

But even if I believed in a God I would still ask why are the faithful encouraged to pray for healing instead of pray that God's will be done. It is obvious that if there is a God that it is his will that everyone should die. Miracles are to convert or shore up the faith of believers they are not that 'God' wants people to live forever. I am cynical about these healing masses which no doubt the faithful pay for. I wonder how popular 'Accept God's will' masses would be with the faithful. I suspect not popular at all.

I hope this does not become an issue between my mother and I. I want these last times to be good ones between us. The death of two family members has not made her accept 'God's will' but instead to pray for a miracle. Praying for healing is least in touch with reality. In the end I will die. It is better that she accepts the inevitability of my death than have false hope. If accepting God's will helps her do that, then that will be enough for me. I don't expect her to become an atheist but neither do I want her hopes dashed yet again.
Beebub
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Re: Dying atheist and healing masses

Post by Beebub » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:33 pm

I'm sorry to read of your situation and I hope that the medical treatment you get extends your survival period as long as possible.

Don't be too hard on your mum. The daily mass attendance and the healing mass may not be giving her false hope. Some deeply religious people get great comfort from their faith so maybe this is her way of dealing with it. Maybe she's drawing comfort from it all rather than actually expecting it to work.

If she has already accepted that you're not going to join her at daily mass attendence, maybe it's better for you to just let her at the healing mass. It's not going to do you any harm, however causing a row between yourself and your mum may give you unessessary stress. Stress is one thing you certainly don't need at the moment and a kind and loving mum beside you can't but help.

Best of luck with your treatment.
Nimeniton
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:59 am

Re: Dying atheist and healing masses

Post by Nimeniton » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:35 pm

Beebub wrote:Don't be too hard on your mum


Firstly thanks for your kind comments.

The issue is not one of being hard on my mum but of wishing to protect and help her. Unfortunately she does believe the healing will help. When the cancer came back with a vengeance she looked sad and said, "but I prayed and had masses said every day". She was evidently disappointed. And she will continue to experience this disappointment as the various tests and results come through. I can't see much comfort in this for her just desperation and disappointment.

My comment was a criticism of the Catholic church that they emphasise healing rather than help people learn to cope with the situation. The procedure seems to work this way.

Step 1. Pray for cure
Step 2. Cure does not happen
Step 3. Well, it was not God's will.

Now you will note that the church never starts with step 3, this only happens when the person dies.

Now it is part of their dogma that God's will be done ; so I am looking for something inside her belief system that will help her accept the reality of the situation. And this is to move straight to step 3. I will wait for the right moment.
yellowfish
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Re: Dying atheist and healing masses

Post by yellowfish » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:46 pm

I am sorry to hear of your situation, obviously you know your mother better than anyone hear and you are right to want to protect her from the false hope if it is going to harm her.
I honestly do not feel qualified to offer advise, but I would like to say that my parents lost two children and in the last year my mother has had to learn to cope with the loss of my father, she knows my opinions on her beliefs, but inspite of the fact that my father was an Atheist I have not sought to argue with her over her wish to have his ashes kept and buried with her. (He donated his body to medical research, so will be cremated next month) She wants him to join her in a christian churchyard and lives in hope of seeing all her loved ones in an after life. If I thought it was or would harm her I would try and change her mind,but in her case through upbringing and lifelong belief this false hope gives her comefort, so i leave it alone.

I know the situation is different and obviously you have much to deal with without the added religouse pressure, but if it is unlikely she will change her religous beliefs then false or not they are going to be part of what sustains her through this and beyond.

Anyway, I am genuinly sorry for your position and whatever decision you come to I hope your relationship with your mother is something that stays posative for you both.

All the best.
Nimeniton
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:59 am

Re: Dying atheist and healing masses

Post by Nimeniton » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:28 am

yellowfish wrote:
Anyway, I am genuinly sorry for your position and whatever decision you come to I hope your relationship with your mother is something that stays posative for you both.

All the best.
Many thanks. Perhaps I read too much into the healing mass situation. And there is not really a pressure just a hope from my mother. Yesterday she brought up the topic of euthanasia and I assured her I would never ask her to do such a thing though I added that I would not like a long lingering and painful death. I believe even medically assisted suicide is illegal here. I don't experience much pain fortunately so the topic is not a current issue but I was impressed that my mother instigated the conversation.
Nimeniton
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:59 am

Re: Dying atheist and healing masses

Post by Nimeniton » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:47 am

Yesterday, I said to my mother that if I were a believer I would concentrate on "Thy will be done". She looked a little sad. I did not have to add,"rather than hope for a miracle". She understood that I was trying to prepare her.The reality of my situation is sad for my family and friends and I do not relish what the future holds. Still I feel oddly calm and up to a point accepting. I am not the only one in this position and the final result will happen to all of us.
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