The English tabloid the Daily Mail reports on Belgium’s Plan to Wash Its Dead Down the Drain , and the paper is not exaggerating. As the subhead puts it: “Bodies would be dissolved in caustic solution . . . and flushed into the sewer.” The process is called “resomation,” and the article says that six American states allow it.
Compare that with Fr. Rick Frechette’s care even for the nameless and unclaimed dead, described at the end of Matt Labash’s Weekly Standard article, Love Among the Ruins .
Haiti might be the only place where death with dignity entails being buried five-to-a-cardboard coffin. But it is moving and beautiful. Yet, I suggest to Frechette, it seems futile. Why do this? However horrible their lives were, this isnt going to change that. Why spend so much time and energy serving people wholl never know theyve been served?
Frechette thinks about it a long while, then says, If the dead are garbage, then the living are walking garbage.
I watch Raphael and Fred working down in the pits. In the heat, they look like theyve gone for a swim. Their close-cropped hair turns chalky white from the loose dirt falling in around them. They come out of the pits, which are so deep, they need running starts up the sides, and then have to grab someones hand above ground to pull them all the way out. Father Rick, his vestments stained with dirt and sweat, takes a spot above the body bags and cardboard coffins. There, he offers the last words these forgotten souls will ever have spoken to them:
The evening has come. The busy world is hushed. The fever of life is over. And your work on earth is left undone. In His great mercy, may God give you a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful, departed to the mercy of God, rest in peace.