OUR MISSION AGAINST DESPAIR

First Things | 6/13/2018 | Ramona V. Tausz
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The work of dying well,” wrote Richard John Neuhaus , “is, in largest part, the work of living well.”

Unlike Neuhaus, we no longer know how to live—or to die—well. The cancer of loneliness spreads through the nation, crippling our people with depression. New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proclaim that suicide is on the rise in America and is now the tenth-leading cause of death. The numbers were given names and faces last week when both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain hanged themselves. Self-slaughters have gone up by more than 30 percent in nearly every state (and almost every age cohort) since 1999, with a staggering 45,000 Americans murdering themselves in 2016.

Founding - Editor - Life—and - Death—in - Lay

Our founding editor wrote on the good life—and the good death—in As I Lay Dying, his much-loved reflection on his battle with colon cancer. As he slumped in a hospital bed, Fr. Neuhaus prepared his mind for the possibility of impending death. He took comfort in the knowledge that he had lived well: “To the extent that my life has significantly influenced the life of another, I continue to be part, in myriad ways … of the living of that life.”

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