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The Eternal Pity Reflections on Dying

by Richard John Neuhaus

  • ISBN: 9780268027575
  • ISBN10: 0268027579

The Eternal Pity Reflections on Dying

by Richard John Neuhaus

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Univ of Notre Dame Pr
  • Publish date: 05/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780268027575
  • ISBN10: 0268027579
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Description: Drawing upon a vast range of human experience and reflection, The Eternal Pity: Reflections on Dying demonstrates how people have tried to cope with the inevitability of death. Different cultures, informed by religious belief and sometimes desperate hope, teach people to respond to their own death and the death of others in modes as various as defiance, stoic resignation, and grief unbridled to the point of exhaustion. In addition to examples from literature, poetry, and religious texts, Father Richard John Neuhaus provides an intensely personal account of his encounter with death through emergency cancer surgery, and reflects on the changes that encounter has made in the way he lives.

While some contemporary writers have deplored the "denial of death" in our culture, The Eternal Pity shows how themes of death and dying are perennial and pervasive, although not always made entirely specific. Society may be viewed as a disorganized march of multitudes waving little banners of meaning in the face of the threat of non-being that is death. Some selections in this book reveal people utterly surprised by their mortality; others highlight how the whole of one's life can be a preparation for what used to be called "a good death." For some, life is a relentless effort to hold death at bay; for others, death is, although not welcomed, reflectively anticipated. Nothing so universally defines the human condition as the fact that we shall die. The Eternal Pity helps us to understand how the prospect of that final indignity compels a variety of decisions about how we might live.

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