Spain. The archbishop emeritus of Pamplona, Fernando Sebastián, cmf, demands a reappraisal of the dignity of Christ’s death on the cross, which he described as stormy and in which, as he recalled, Christ did not receive any palliative care. In this sense, he lamented that in the present world “some people” confuse death’s dignity with fear of pain. “Jesus did not obtain any palliative care but his death was absolutely dignified because he looked upon it face to face, with confidence, because he accepted it with love, because he lived it resting in the arms of the Heavenly
father,” according to the archbishop emeritus of Pamplona. With these words he made a call to all Christians to come closer to the example of Jesus to find dignity for all deaths in the world, those of the innocent and the unjust or unknown deaths.
Precisely in these days, in France an intense debate has broken out about active euthanasia and the palliative care as a result of the death of Chantal Sébire, the woman to whom a few days ago Justice denied the petition to have euthanasia applied to her. She suffered an incurable nasal tumour that disfigured her face.
This was Sebastián’s main message during his speech in the Sermon on the Seven Words of the Holy Week of Valladolid, a catechizing speech that he centred on the “de-Christianization” which society is living, in his opinion. To this society he offered a programme of life and hope humbly following the living example of the Son of God who died “for us all.”
Throughout 80 minutes, the Archbishop emeritus of Pamplona recalled the seven “living words” that Jesus pronounced from the cross before dying more than 2000 years ago; he used them to reflect on the “truth” of the Christian religion which is not a human invention, as he defended, “but the truth of Jesus, which honours the name of God and opens the gate of salvation.”
According to Fernando Sebastián, the Christian religion is not something added to men which they can leave when they go out to the street but it “configures the whole truth of our life as persons” when we follow the example of the life of Jesus and the road he opened toward the resurrection, “something that we cannot understand but we love and desire with our whole heart.”
Fernando Sebastián, who delivered his speech from a lectern located in the so-called pavement of San Francisco, in front of the façade of the City Hall of Valladolid, reminded the faithful that the seven words of Jesus from the cross are the “keys” to understand the truth of human existence, to clarify the labyrinths of life and to overcome all contradictions.