17 September, 2005

Why did the Pope fear dying?

If Pope John Paul II was going to Heaven then why did he fear dying? If the Pope did not fear dying then why did he accept aggressive and invasive hospital treatment in his eighties? Surely you would only accept such treatment if you are desperate to cling to life. But then why would you cling to life if you're going to Heaven?

Here is a summary of the Pope's last days:
Feb 1, 2005: The Pope needs urgent hospital treatment after severe breathing problems due to flu but he is not in intensive care, the Vatican says. He returns home 10 days later.

Feb 24, 2005: He is rushed back to hospital after a relapse of earlier flu. Doctors performed a tracheotomy to ease his breathing, robbing him temporarily of his voice.

March 1, 2005: Pope starts speaking again.

March 13, 2005: Pope speaks directly to the Roman Catholic faithful for the first time since throat surgery. He returns to Vatican later that day.

March 24, 2005: A cardinal who stood in for the Pope at a Holy Thursday ceremony at the Vatican says the ailing Pontiff was "serenely abandoning" himself to God's will.

March 27, 2005: The ailing Pope appears at his window to bless the faithful on Easter Sunday but fails in his efforts to speak.

March 30, 2005: Vatican announces the Pope is being fed through a nasal tube in an effort to boost his strength and help his slow recovery from throat surgery.

March 31, 2005: Vatican says Pope is suffering from very high fever caused by a urinary infection, and receiving antibiotics.

April 2, 2005: Pope John Paul II dies aged 84 following heart failure.

Source: Reuters


  1. I have a couple of ideas about this. I hope they make sense.

    First off, the pope is the pope, not superman. Even for many enlightened people it's easy to fear death, more so if you're in a fatigued mental state.

    I grew up in a small Irish settlement community in Ontario. I was brought up in a Roman Catholic Church, and I had some kind of rural/liberal upbringing. I've always kind of thought that it was always good to trust God. But we are still human, and we can't always trust ourselves.

    Pope John Paul was a very good man, and was also one of the more liberal-minded popes of the Catholic church. It was only natural for him to wonder if had steered the church in the right direction. One of the basic tenets of catholicism as I was taught was that we must look to God with love but also humility, and I suppose the Pope felt that very much so. It doesn't necessarily mean he was afraid of death, but rather he may have been afraid of judgement.

    That's just my thoughts. I'd like to see what you have to say. I discovered the concept of christian anarchism in Philosophy class, and I have to say, I like the ideas. I look forward to participating in a few discussion on this site, if I'm recieved well.

  2. Hello, I am not a Christian, that is not to say I oppose it. I just prefer to stick to no religion, and focus more on my own spirituality, and the good of the universe. So you may think it not my place to comment here, but I will anyway.

    My thought is perhaps he did not fear death, but felt he needed to pursue every available option to remain alive. Is taking your won life not considered a sin? Where do we draw the line between suicide and letting yourself die?

    If someone was to knowingly develop a brain tumour, and do nothing about it, with the thought of speeding your exit from this earth, is that all that different from blatant suicide.

    The teachings of all religions are quite open to personal interpretation. Hence my belief of the downfall of organised religion: Free will/ Which is also our greatest asset.

    Perhaps I'm ranting, just felt the urge to comment this particular entry. Feel free to comment any of my thoughts on my page.

  3. Another thought, I'm not a religous man.
    The will to live in man is extremely strong. I believe when faced with dying before time, man's will to live takes over. The finality of death is something that our will fights against.
    I've watched people die, while working in the Ambulance service. I've watched the will to live and I've seen fear and peace in imminent death.
    I always considered it a great privilidge to be present.

  4. Hosea 4: 6 (KJV) "My people perish from a lack of knowledge." Christian who believe God don't fear, whether death or any thing. Actually even if they could fear death they would know not to fear judgement. Romans 8:1

    "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." philippians 1:21 that does not sound like fear of death to me.

  5. Thankfull heart is a fortable heaven which you bring everywhere