Wegens Hemelvaart gesloten
On the glory days and decline of the Catholic Church. When Martin Derckx was born in 1940, his native village of Meijel in the Peel was still 100 per cent Catholic. A village of prayer, pie and miracles where women had to go to confession after childbirth to become clean again and boys were appointed to become priests. Martin too was 'called' and left for the minor seminary as an 11-year-old boy. However, his life path changed course. Whatever happened to the mighty institution, shrouded in incense and surrounded by the sounds of Ave Maria?
After her father chose euthanasia due to an incurable illness, Jasmijn Derckx delved into his history using his memoirs and found answers for a generation. Her book gives a personal and a penetrating picture of the Catholic Church on the border of past and present and is a moving ode to her father and his best friend. For anyone who was brought up religiously and now struggles with modern choices such as euthanasia and divorce or, as for people directly involved, that want to better understand this process.
Self-empowerment is also about being able to chose when it comes to dying.
Choosing from within
Jasmijn Derckx: When my father knew he did not have long to live due to an incurable
form of cancer, he gave me and my sister his memoirs. Based on his memoirs, I went on a journey
through his life and therefore also through my own past. I got answers to many questions. Not only
for me personally, but I also came to better understand the role faith played in certain life choices
such as euthanasia and divorce. I decided to write the book 'Wegens Hemelvaart gesloten'.
Still, topics like 'euthanasia' and 'divorce' are sensitive issues in relation to faith.
The best compliment following my book 'Closed for Ascension' came from the priest
from the church in my father's hometown (Meijel): 'Jasmijn, because of your book the people in my
parish talk about this topic'. And that is exactly what I aim to do with my book: open the conversation on these issues.
So that people can and, more importantly, are allowed to make choices regarding life choices from their own control.
The book has two storylines: a family chronicle centred on the life and death of father Martin Derckx; and in addition, a reflection on the backward ethics and morality in the Roman Catholic Church, through conversations between Martin Derckx and his friend the moral theologian Prof Edward Schillebeeckx.
By combining fact and fiction, the author manages to intertwine the two strands naturally. The reader gets to know Martin better and better and gets virtually involved in his dilemmas.
Towards the end, the storylines merge and the story becomes increasingly personal, intimate. The final chapters surrounding Martin's incurable illness and death are gripping. Daughter and father draw ever closer together, with the daughter's love contrasting sharply with the church's callousness.
'Wegens Hemelvaart gesloten': the novel that bridges faith and euthanasia.
'This book is a novel, biography and pamphlet at the same time. As a biographical novel, it moves on the border between fiction and non-fiction. In the final chapters, the book culminates in a protest against the Catholic Church's stance against euthanasia.
With David Frequin
Presentation of the book 'Closed for Ascension' (2018) to Bishop de Korte
While writing this book in 2017, I met David Frequin who shared his personal battle with cancer and his fight with the Catholic Church that closed its doors to him when he asked if his funeral could be celebrated at St John's if he chose euthanasia. We shared the same mission. Sadly, David Frequin passed away on 12 March 2020.
Would you like to book a lecture on this topic? Have a conversation with Jasmijn Derckx?
Feel free to contact us!