A Jesuit priest brought a group of children who had just received their first Communion to the hospital to bless a gay man who had announced his intention to marry his partner and then commit suicide.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press (AP) released a video chronicle of the event, which occurred last May in Seattle but has only now become public.
“It’s hard to be here, but I wouldn’t miss it.” Friends gathered to be with Robert Fuller in his final moments, after he decided to end his life and suffering from cancer. Story: https://t.co/ddIpVvE1YH pic.twitter.com/t340ybV9F9
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) August 27, 2019
On May 10, Robert Fuller “married his partner while sitting on a couch in their senior housing apartment” and then “took the elevator down three floors to the building’s common room” where, surrounded by friends and well-wishers, he injected himself with two syringes filled with a lethal drug cocktail mixed with Kahlua, “his favorite alcohol” into a feeding tube in his abdomen, AP revealed.
“A gospel choir sang. A violinist and soprano performed ‘Ave Maria.’ A Seattle poet recited an original piece imagining Fuller as a tree, with birds perched on his thoughts,” AP announced.
“I’ll be leaving you in a little over an hour,” Fuller told the roomful of people. “I’m so ready to go,” he said. “I’m tired.”
In his interview with AP the day before he died, Fuller said he wanted to provide an example for people around the country concerning laws like Washington’s Death with Dignity Act, which allows for assisted suicide.
Fuller said that suicide had become his “default setting” since the age of 8, when his father’s mother, severely depressed, drowned herself in the Merrimack River.
“If life gets painful, you go to the Merrimack River,” he said.
He also had experience on the delivering end of death. In the mid-1980s, Fuller “administered a fatal dose of medication” to a friend who was suffering from AIDS and he himself was engaging in homosexual activity that was “so risky it verged on suicidal,” AP said.
He eventually contracted AIDS, but lived long enough to benefit from medication developed in the mid-1990s.
“I think I wanted to get AIDS,” he said. “All my friends were dying,” he said.
When in early 2019 Fuller came down with cancer at the base of his tongue, he chose the date of May 10 for his exit from the world.
“Why should I suffer?” he said. “I’m totally at peace with this.”
“Seattle’s St. Therese Parish,” where Jesuit Father Quentin Dupont helped out on weekends, “was known for accommodating a range of beliefs,” AP said, and Fuller had sung in the gospel choir and read scriptures from the lectern during services.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is “morally unacceptable” to bring about the death of handicapped, sick, or dying persons and causing death in order to eliminate suffering “constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator.”
“The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded,” it states.
“If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal,” it states.
The archdiocese of Seattle released a statement Wednesday alleging that parish leaders had been unaware of Fuller’s intention to end his own life.
The Associated Press, however, reported that Fuller’s plans were “widely known and accepted” among the parishioners at St. Therese, which he regularly attending towards the end of his life.