Two famous Catholics right died recently, in short succession: Robert Novak and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. We said a special prayer for them today (yesterday, technically, since it’s after midnight here on the east coast), since both of them occasioned the Catholic Information Center. Shriver was a customer, and Novak was actually baptized at the CIC, apparently.
For Novak, here are some of his thoughts on dying, from an interview in 2008:
Q: You’ve said your Catholicism was helping you deal with your illness.
A: Well, nobody wants to die. I certainly don’t. But all Christian faiths, and certainly Catholicism, hold that there’s an afterlife, that we are not just dust to dust. And that’s comforting, particularly now that I have an illness and there’s very little chance I will recover. A priest who visited me told me I’ve been given a chance to prepare myself. So I began to think about my life and what I’ve done right and not done right and to prepare myself for the last days. I’ve found that reassuring.
Q: What’s the most helpful thing someone can say to a person who’s gravely ill?
A: There’s not much you can say. A lot of people say: “You’re a tough guy and a fighter. You’re gonna beat this.” Well, I don’t know if I will beat it. Being tough and a fighter have nothing to do with it. I guess the most helpful thing they can say, if they’re a man or woman of faith, is to tell me they’re praying for me.
For Eunice Kennedy Shriver, here’s a 1992 NY Times full-page ad she signed. It’s powerful and worth the read. This was right at the point where the Democratic Party effectively (and irrationally) kissed its pro-life wing goodbye. If you would, say a few prayers for both of these individuals.