Roman Catholic Bishops denounce Scottish assisted suicide Bill

Liam McArthur MSP’s Assisted Dying Bill normalises suicide and rejects our “common responsibility” to protect human life, Scotland’s Roman Catholic Bishops have warned.

In a pastoral letter to the nation’s 460 parishes, the Bishops said: “We are called to care, not to kill.”

Recently, the Director of a Roman Catholic institute in Oxford – Professor David Jones of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre – described McArthur’s Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults Bill as “extremely dubious” and a threat to the vulnerable.

‘Dangerous spiral’

The Bishops wrote to parishioners: “At a time when suicide is on the rise in Scotland and we are doing our best to reduce it, what message are we sending to those who are vulnerable when we say that suicide is okay provided it is overseen by a doctor?

“Assisted suicide, which allows us to kill our brothers and sisters, takes us down a dangerous spiral that always puts at risk the most vulnerable members of our society”.

Roman Catholics across Scotland were asked by the Bishop’s Conference to contact their MSPs to urge them “to reject the dangerous proposal”. The letter also said the legislation “would devalue life and put immense pressure on the most vulnerable to end their lives prematurely”.

The Scottish Parliament, it argued, “should focus its energies on improving palliative care rather than on contemplating assisted suicide”.

Contested language

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Prof Jones said: “Suicide is something that we should try to seek to prevent and provide alternatives to, whether it’s for an old person or a young person, whether they have progressive disease or disability.”

While the Bill “proclaims itself as being restricted to people who are terminally ill”, he warned that it only defined ‘terminal’ as “a progressive incurable disease” from which someone could die.

“It doesn’t mean that you’re dying”, he explained, adding: “It could cover anorexia”.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph last month, Claire MacDonald of My Death, My Decision claimed that permitting assisted suicide “for conditions such as anorexia” would be the mark of a “mature democracy”.

Also see:


Scottish Parliament must avoid perceived ‘bias’ over assisted suicide Bill

Belgium: Insurance boss backs euthanasia for elderly to save money

Netherlands: Physically healthy young woman scheduled to die by euthanasia

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