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Ikon Ortodoks Rusia tentang Pencuri yang Baik di Firdaus (Mazhab Moskow, kr. 1560).

Konversi menjelang ajal (bahasa Inggris: deathbed conversion) adalah tindakan menerima dan menganut suatu keyakinan agama tertentu sesaat sebelum orang tersebut wafat atau meninggal dunia. Seseorang yang melakukan konversi agama di ranjang kematiannya mungkin mencerminkan perubahan keyakinan yang seketika, keinginan menjadikan formal seperangkat keyakinan untuk jangka panjang, atau juga keinginan menyelesaikan proses konversi yang sedang berlangsung. Klaim seputar konversi menjelang ajal pada tokoh-tokoh terkenal atau berpengaruh sering digunakan sebagai perangkat retorik, dan jarang dapat diverifikasi.

IkhtisarSunting

 
Pembaptisan Konstantinus, sebagaimana digambarkan oleh asisten Rafael.

Konversi atau perpindahan keyakinan pada momen menjelang kematian memiliki sejarah panjang. Konversi menjelang ajal pertama yang tercatat dapat ditemukan dalam Injil Lukas, yang mengisahkan salah seorang penjahat yang disalibkan di samping Yesus mengungkapkan keyakinannya akan Kristus. Yesus menerima konversinya dengan mengatakan, "Sesungguhnya hari ini juga engkau akan ada bersama-sama dengan Aku di dalam Firdaus."

Konversi yang paling dikenal dan penting dalam sejarah Barat kemungkinan adalah yang dilakukan Konstantinus I, seorang kaisar Romawi yang kelak dinyatakan sebagai seorang Santo Kristen oleh Gereja Ortodoks Timur. Kendati kepercayaan atau keyakinannya akan Kekristenan terjadi jauh hari sebelum wafatnya, ia baru dibaptis di ranjang kematiannya pada tahun 337. Sumber-sumber tradisional meragukan mengapa hal ini terjadi sedemikian terlambat, namun historiografi modern menyimpulkan bahwa Konstantinus memilih toleransi keagamaan sebagai sarana untuk memperkuat pemerintahannya.[butuh rujukan]

Laporan konversi menjelang ajalSunting

Raja Charles IISunting

Charles II dari Inggris memerintah di suatu negara Protestan pada saat berlangsungnya konflik besar keagamaan. Meskipun ia agak bersimpati pada iman Katolik, ia memerintah sebagai seorang Anglikan, kendati ia berulang kali berupaya mengurangi penganiayaan dan sanksi hukum terhadap orang-orang yang bukan penganut Anglikan di Inggris. Ketika ia terbaring sekarat akibat stroke, terbebas dari kepentingan politik, ia diterima dalam Gereja Katolik.[1]

Jean de La FontaineSunting

Jean de La Fontaine, pengarang fabel yang paling terkemuka dari Prancis, menerbitkan edisi revisi dari karya terbesarnya, Contes, pada tahun 1692, tahun yang sama ia mulai menderita penyakit parah. Dalam keadaan sedemikian, ia berpaling ke agama.[2] M. Poucet, seorang imam muda, mencoba membujuknya untuk menyampaikan ketidakpantasan dari Contes, serta dikatakan bahwa ia memenuhi permintaan untuk memusnahkan sebuah karya barunya yang tidak pantas dan hal ini diajukan sebagai satu bukti pertobatannya. La Fontaine menerima Viaticum ("bekal perjalanan"), dan pada tahun-tahun berikutnya ia tetap menulis puisi dan fabel.[3] Ia wafat pada tahun 1695.

Sir Allan Napier MacNabSunting

Sir Allan Napier MacNab, seorang pemimpin politik Kanada, meninggal dunia pada tanggal 8 Agustus 1862 di Hamilton, Ontario. Konversinya ke iman Katolik mengakibatkan kehebohan di media massa pada hari-hari berikutnya. Toronto Globe dan Hamilton Spectator mengungkapkan keraguan besar mengenai konversinya, dan rektor Anglikan dari Christ's Church di Hamilton menyatakan bahwa MacNab wafat sebagai seorang Protestan.[4] Baptisan Katolik MacNab tercatat dalam arsip St. Mary's Cathedral di Hamilton, dilakukan oleh John, Uskup Hamilton, pada tanggal 7 Agustus 1862. Kredibilitas atas peristiwa konversinya diperkuat dengan kenyataan bahwa istri kedua MacNab, yang telah meninggal mendahuluinya, adalah seorang penganut Katolik, dan kedua putri mereka dibesarkan dalam iman Katolik.[5]

Oscar WildeSunting

Penyair dan dramawan Oscar Wilde diduga berpindah keyakinan ke Katolik saat menderita penyakit terakhirnya menjelang ajal. Satu-satunya sumber adalah Robert Ross temannya, yang bersaksi: "Saat itu ia sadar bahwa orang-orang berada di dalam kamarnya, dan mengangkat tangannya ketika saya bertanya kepadanya apakah ia mengerti. Ia menekan tangan kami. Saya kemudian diutus untuk mencari seorang imam, dan setelah mengalami banyak kesulitan [akhirnya] menemukan Romo Cuthbert Dunne... yang datang bersama saya serta memberikan Baptisan dan Pengurapan Terakhir. – Oscar tidak mampu menerima Ekaristi".[6] Rumah Pasionis di Avenue Hoche memiliki jurnal yang berisi suatu catatan yang ditulis oleh Romo Dunne bahwa ia telah menerima Wilde ke dalam persekutuan penuh dengan Gereja Katolik. Kendati konversi Wilde mungkin menjadi suatu kejutan, ia telah sejak lama menaruh minat pada Gereja Katolik, pernah bertemu dengan Paus Pius IX pada tahun 1877 serta mendeskripsikan bahwa Gereja Katolik Roma adalah "untuk orang-orang kudus dan orang-orang berdosa saja – untuk orang-orang terhormat, Gereja Anglikan tempatnya". Bagaimanapun, seberapa jauh Wilde meyakini semua ajaran Katolik menjadi bahan perdebatan: khususnya ketika ia melawan desakan Ross mengenai kebenaran Katolisisme: "Tidak, Robbie, itu tidak benar."[7][8][9]

Dalam puisinya yang berjudul The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Wilde menulis:

Ah! Berbahagialah mereka yang hatinya dapat patah
Dan damai dari pengampunan menang!
Bagaimana lagi orang dapat meluruskan rancangannya
Dan membersihkan jiwanya dari Dosa?
Bagaimana lagi selain melalui hati yang patah
Bolehkah Tuhan Kristus masuk ke dalam?

Wallace StevensSunting

Penyair Wallace Stevens dikatakan menerima baptisan Katolik pada momen terakhirnya ketika bergumul dengan kanker lambung.[10] Laporan tersebut ditentang oleh putri Stevens, Holly,[11] dan seorang kritikus bernama Helen Vendler, yang, dalam suratnya kepada James Wm. Chichetto, berpikir bahwa Romo Arthur Hanley "pelupa" karena "ia diwawancarai setelah dua puluh tahun wafatnya Stevens."[12] Menanggapi surat itu, Chichetto menyampaikan bahwa Vendler mengabaikan "kesaksian Dr. Edward Sennett (penanggung jawab Departemen Radiologi Rumah Sakit St. Francis ketika Stevens dirawat dua kali dirawat di sana) dan para Suster dengan siapa ia [Chichetto] berbicara pada tahun 1977 (dan kemudian) yang memercayai laporan Romo Hanley."[13]

ReferensiSunting

  1. ^ (Inggris) Hutton, Ronald (1989). Charles II: King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Oxford University Press. hlm. 443, 456. ISBN 0-19-822911-9. 
  2. ^ (Inggris) Jean de La Fontaine
  3. ^ (Inggris) Sante De Sanctis (1999). Religious Conversion: A Bio-psychological Study. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-21111-6. 
  4. ^ (Inggris) King, Nelson (5 August 2009). "Alan Napier MacNab". Soldier, Statesman, and Freemason Part 3. Diakses tanggal 2010-01-04. 
  5. ^ (Inggris) Dooner, Alfred (1942–1943), "The Conversion of Sir Allan MacNab, Baronet (1798–1862)", Canadian Catholic Historical Association Report, 10: 47–64 
  6. ^ (Inggris) Holland, A. and Rupert Hart-Davis (2000): The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde. pp. 1219–1220, New York: Henry Holt and Co. ISBN 0-8050-5915-6
  7. ^ (Inggris) Taylor, Jerome (17 July 2009). "The Vatican wakes up to the wisdom of Oscar Wilde – Europe, World". London: The Independent. Diakses tanggal 2009-11-15. 
  8. ^ (Inggris) "Oscar Wilde: The Final Scene". Diakses tanggal 2008-12-04. 
  9. ^ (Inggris) McCracken, Andrew. "The Long Conversion of Oscar Wilde". Diakses tanggal 2008-12-04. 
  10. ^ (Inggris) Maria J. Cirurgião, “Last Farewell and First Fruits: The Story of a Modern Poet.” Lay Witness (June 2000).
  11. ^ (Inggris) Peter Brazeau, Parts of a World: Wallace Stevens Remembered, New York, Random House, 1983, p. 295
  12. ^ (Inggris) Archives of the Holy Cross Fathers (Eastern Province) (AHCFE), North Easton, Massachusetts, 02356. Helen Vendler's letter (dated 8/28/09): "Dear Father Chichetto: I am sorry to have annoyed you by my putting of quotes around the word 'baptism.' I simply wanted to indicate by the quotation marks my skepticism about the fact. Of course, I did find something 'arwy' in Father Hanley's account, but I have never accused Father Hanley of prevarication, only of forgetfulness. I believe he believed that things happened as he said, but he was interviewed twenty years after Stevens' death. Of course I credit the first part of Father Hanley's story concerning conversations with Stevens during Stevens' first day in the hospital between 26 April and 11 May. He returned to the hospital with disseminated cancer in July, and Father Hanley says that the baptism took place 'a few days before his death.' Stevens had not apparently requested baptism in April during his first stay in the hospital. Of course, I can imagine Stevens discussing religion with a priest who was attempting to convert him, but nothing in his poetry or prose suggests any wish to be a member of any church. It's therefore hard to believe Father Hanley's recollection. And it is harder to believe because there is no written record and no contemporaneous evidence. I can understand reasons why people might request that a baptism be kept private. Father Hanley does not describe any such request by Stevens, so the absence of a written record becomes more inexplicable. Father Hanley, in his long service, no doubt conseled, consoled, and baptized many dying people. It seems to me quite possible that he confused Stevens with someone else. Faulty memories are common in all of us, and it does not seem to me at all probable that Stevens would have requested baptism, have requested secrecy, or have responded with the cliche, 'Now I am in the fold.' Such language is inconsistent with Stevens' abhorrence of chiche. I do not impugn Father Hanley's veracity, only his memory. In the absence of any contemporary testimony and any recorded notice, I think that any biographer would agree that an unsupported recollection, voiced twenty years after the fact, cannot be taken as conclusive. There is nothing in Stevens' life and writing that makes a request on his part for baptism plausible or believable. It makes no difference to the writing, of course, which was in any case complete before Stevens' hospitalization. Yours truly, Helen Vendler"
  13. ^ (Inggris) AHCFE, Fr. Chichetto's letter (dated 9/2/09): "Dear Helen Vendler, I didn't expect you to agree with everything I put down in my letter to you. It is disturbing, however, when you ignore the testimony of Dr. Edward Sennett (in charge of the Radiology Dept. at St. Francis Hospital when Stevens was admitted both times [1955]) and the Sisters with whom I talked in 1977 (and later) who believed Fr. Hanley's account. They never spoke of any kind of forgetfulness or memory loss on Fr. Hanley's part, whether noble (when one intentionally does not remember injuries, mischief, etc.) or unmeant (when one unintentionally cannot remember things owing to trauma, confusion or some other mental impairment). What provoked me NOT to visit Fr. Hanley in 1977 was their testimony that his account in 1955 was credible and that they believed Stevens was baptized. The Sisters had no reason to doubt Hanley's word, one of whom worked with him and knew him quite well. You seem to want to ignore that. Do you really believe they were ALL taken in by Fr. Hanley's 'forgetfulness,' by his 'mental impairment,' in 1977, when he was alive, retired, and in touch with them? (He lived only a half hour away from them!) Dr. Sennett was too sharp a person and knew the Sisters too well to believe they were being deluded and misled owing to Fr. Hanley's 'memory loss.' Also, in your response, you ignore the fact that a number of priests in the past refrained from recording (in nearby parishes and hospitals) the baptisms of certain dying people. I myself, for example, remember baptizing two people and leaving their baptisms unrecorded on two different occasions. That is, I baptized two people (unconditionally and absolutely), gave them Communion, and didn't record their baptisms in a nearby parish or at the hospital – for many reasons, not the least being that the dying person wanted no Catholic funeral and preferred that his/her 'reception' remain private (i.e., between himself/herself and God). I mentioned this in my first letter. Such private baptisms did occur in New England and elsewhere! (Today, of course, federal law and new legislation requires that some sort of record of a person's baptism be kept in the hospital as part of the deceased person's medical history. But that was not always the case in the past. And it is anyone's guess as to whether priests abide by those rules today; they pick and chose so freely.) Finally, to assume that because 'nothing in his [Stevens'] poetry or prose suggests any wish to be a member of any church' he therefore could never have requested a private baptism flies in the face of so many 'hour of death' accounts of the dying, many of whose private testimonies, disclosures, groundless terrors contradict the reckonings and calculations erected or founded on their earlier lives (and, in this case, the person's writings). The dying often believe for themselves; not for another person or for the sake of some book they wrote. Any person who has witnessed the dying also knows that they 'say' and disclose their sentiments (in words and gestures) better than the witnesses or those around them can, foolish cliches and all. In conclusion, I don't think this response to your letter will dissuade you from holding your own belief that Fr. Hanley was forgetful, etc. Indeed, reasoning further against your opinion in this matter would be like fighting against a shadow – all-consuming, exhausting without affecting the shadow. I also sincerely believe you can't change. As a critic, you have too much invested in your opinion. (One of my colleagues lent me her THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS to read. In that book you are quite adamant about Hanley on page 80.) However, based on Dr. Sennett's and the Sisters' propriety of feeling for Fr. Hanley and their belief that he was telling the truth in 1977 as he was in 1955, I do believe Stevens was baptized privately (though in academic journals his baptism will always be lightly condemned, censured, or laid aside as 'inconsistent' with his writings). I also believe that the baptism should never have been made public. Stevens was a great 'unnamer,' to quote Harold Bloom, and Fr. Hanley should have left his baptism unnamed, as it were, anonymous, like a 'blindness cleaned.' Sincerely, (Fr.) James Chichetto, C.S.C."

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