Ronald Reagan: Did his soul leave his body years ago?

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I’ve heard this question asked and answered in the affirmative on talk radio, even by Catholics.

The soul is separated from the body at death (CCC 997) and not before. When the soul is separated from the body, the decay of the body commences.

I think there’s pro-euthanasia agenda behind making a distinction between natural death and soul/body separation: it makes it easier to actively seek the death of a “soulless living body” because you have stripped the human dignity from the person and reduced it to an animal nature.

When a person is asleep or unconscious or suffering from a long-term mentally degenerative disease, it is correct to say that they are incapable of sin but they retain a soul.

The dignity of life must be preserved from conception to natural death.
 
Yikes. Maybe it’s me, but this is just plain a kooky idea.

I agree that there is a certain agenda behind this. If people can be convinced that the soul has left the body, then killing the person is no different than putting your dog out of its misery.

Man, it feels like we as Christians are fighting about 800 different fronts on the cultures attempt to take the dignity out of life and family and everything else. At times I feel overwhelmed.
 
Hi,
As a nurse who has taken care of many patients with altered levels of consciousness of varying degrees, I can emphatically state that no matter what the mental status of a human being, the soul resides within the body until death. Anyone who says any differently is wrong. Alzhiemers is just one of many things that can alter brain function, BTW.

Now, that doesn’t mean I advocate aggressive medical intervention for a person with advanced senile dementia as always being appropriate. Many people have made their will be known that they do not wish this, or have designated a durable power of attorney to make decisions for them regarding level of care when their mental status is irreversably impaired. But, that is a far cry from viewing them as non-human because of their impaired condition, and anyone advocating that they no longer have souls is saying just that. Their agenda is probably pro-euthanasia, IMO…

Sincerely, WhiteDove
 
IMO, any extraordinary use of medicines or machines that take over a natural function of the body in order to keep a patient alive is a violation of that person’s dignity, especially if recovery is not possible or very unlikely. It’s okay to die - it’s not okay to play God. As far as knowing when the soul leaves the body - I can’t see how this is naturally possible to determine. In times of doubt, I would refer to my first comment. My understanding of the Church’s stand on euthanasia and the diginity of life is to preserve life’s natural cycle, and that means allowing people to die when they ought and preventing them from being killed just because of life’s natural process (like suffering for instance).
 
Given that the soul is the unifying and animating principle of the body, it’s impossible for a body to be alive without a soul. If there was a heart beating in his chest and metabolism taking place in his cells it was his soul causing that to happen.

It’s a human soul that causes that fertilized egg to start dividing too. That is why we are to respect human life “from the womb to the tomb.” Regardless of what that life can do, it is a human being created in the image and likeness of God.
President Reagan’s mind may have been gone from his body to a large extent, but not his soul. The soul is not the same thing as the mind though.
 
If someone with Alzheimer’s is a soulless body, then is that true of people with mental retardation, etc? It would have to be true for both, right? Doesn’t that show just how ridiculous this idea is? As Socrates stated, the soul is the animating principle of a living being, and a human being has a human soul **because **he or she is human! How completely the physical body, ravaged by Original Sin, expresses the reality of the soul is beside the point.
 
I believe what the Church teaches is that when the body begins to corrupt the sould has left and not before.
 
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buffalo:
I believe what the Church teaches is that when the body begins to corrupt the sould has left and not before.
Then how do we explain the incorruptible saints?
 
My point is, corruptibility doesn’t appear to be an absolute rule if there are incorruptible saints.

Not that I’m all that concerned, I guess. I mean, I know there are gray areas when determining death, but I don’t think I need to use “when something starts to decompose” as the extreme!
 
gomer tree:
My point is, corruptibility doesn’t appear to be an absolute rule if there are incorruptible saints.
Mysteries are usually hard to explain because they are beyond our comprehension. We observe gravity as an absolute, but could God suspend gravity if he wished?
 
Before I spend any more time arguing this, do you have a source for your first point that the soul leaves the body when it begins to corrupt? If so, and authoritative, I’ll drop it.

I had actually read on a book (I think by Michael Brown, a Catholic writer) that there are instances where people who are later revived actually claim that their soul left their body in the moment before a fatal accident. Now, this is from the mouths of people who are dead and rescussitated (sp?), so who knows how accurate it is. Also, I don’t know a lot about M. Brown, but he seemed faithful to Church teachings from what i could tell.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting point. Of course, God can suspend natural laws - I won’t debate that.
 
I always thought that the soul can stay in the body up to 6 hours after death. I know when my husband was in his last hour we were all praying around his bedside and after he passed we still prayed even more fervently since it is my understanding that the soul is in it’s worst tourture and agony at that time.
 
gomer tree:
Before I spend any more time arguing this, do you have a source for your first point that the soul leaves the body when it begins to corrupt? If so, and authoritative, I’ll drop it.

I had actually read on a book (I think by Michael Brown, a Catholic writer) that there are instances where people who are later revived actually claim that their soul left their body in the moment before a fatal accident. Now, this is from the mouths of people who are dead and rescussitated (sp?), so who knows how accurate it is. Also, I don’t know a lot about M. Brown, but he seemed faithful to Church teachings from what i could tell.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting point. Of course, God can suspend natural laws - I won’t debate that.
CCC
**997 **What is “rising”? In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus’ Resurrection.
**
1016 **By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.

017 “We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess” (Council of Lyons II: DS 854). We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, but he raises up an incorruptible body, a “spiritual body” (cf. 1 Cor 15:42-44).

1018 As a consequence of original sin, man must suffer “bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned” (*GS *§ 18).
 
I don’t read that as you do.

Yes, the body decays, but I don’t read that as saying any decay occurs before the soul can leave. I read it more like “one goes this way, one goes that way. One stays intact, the other decays.”

Simplistic language, I know.

While I’m arguing the point, I can’t say it’s a question I’ll lose sleep over.
 
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Arrowood:
If someone with Alzheimer’s is a soulless body, then is that true of people with mental retardation, etc? It would have to be true for both, right? Doesn’t that show just how ridiculous this idea is? As Socrates stated, the soul is the animating principle of a living being, and a human being has a human soul **because **he or she is human! How completely the physical body, ravaged by Original Sin, expresses the reality of the soul is beside the point.
You have got it. There is an argument implicit in the euthanasists movement, which is that people are only so valuable as they are able to engage in rational argument. This put the intelligensia at the top of the human pyramind and the mentally defective at the bottom.
 
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