While several European countries permit euthanasia, the Vatican vehemently maintains that life must continue to its natural end. The pope said in his homily that the ill should pray to find "the grace to accept, without fear or bitterness, to leave this world at the hour chosen by God."
If God's the one responsible for lives lost from cancer and AIDS and malnutrition, then, quite frankly, fuck God . . . or, more precisely, his costumed representative. Speaking for myself -- which, of course, is veritable anathema to religion -- I intend to go when I'm good and ready, thanks. (And if I'm lucky enough to be around when the fabled Singularity thing hits, maybe not even then . . . although, strangely enough, I get the feeling cybernetic immortality would piss off His Holiness at least as much as a dignified, relatively pain-free death. After all, the Vatican's nothing if not inconsistent, which should come as no surprise to anyone who's so much as glanced at that insipid book it's so fond of.)
On a related note, I can't help but think that perhaps even someone as deeply out-of-touch as the Pope might experience a change of heart -- one might even call it an epiphany -- if he was forced to spend his final years immersed in the grueling agony of chemotherapy in some dodgy nursing home . . . but that's probably too much to hope for.
Take it away, Pat!