UK Catholic Bishops Urge Robust Opposition to ‘Assisted Dying Bill’

AP/Yves Logghe

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is urging Catholics to actively resist the Assisted Dying Bill, calling it “an unprecedented attack on the sanctity of life.”

Bishop John Sherrington, lead Bishop for Life Issues for the Conference, has written an open letter encouraging Catholics to pray for the defeat of the Bill and to make their opposition known to peers at the House of Lords, which will debate the legislation in October.

“The term ‘Assisted Dying’ is euphemistic,” Bishop Sherrington asserts, since “the truth is that this bill seeks to introduce Assisted Suicide.”

The bill’s proponents are “making good use of language to confuse the issue and call it a compassionate and caring approach to redefine the question and obscure the actual reality and consequences of such legislation,” the bishop declares.

Citing Pope Francis, Sherrington insists that physician-assisted suicide “is part of a ‘throwaway culture’ that offers a ‘false compassion,’” whereas true compassion does not “justify and approve the death of a patient.”

The bishop also emphasizes that the introduction of assisted suicide opens vulnerable people to “external pressures” that can drive them to choose suicide not in freedom but so as to avoid being a burden on others.

These dangers are not only a matter of theory, he adds, but have been “evidenced by other countries which have introduced Assisted Suicide.”

In strenuously opposing the bill, the UK bishops join “many voices from the world of disability-rights and other allies” who are also very fearful and fighting this bill, he states.

Moreover, he proceeds, “it is important to remember that this position is not only a matter of faith but also human reason.”

In conclusion, Bishop Sherrington encourages three important actions in the next weeks, namely, praying for the bill’s defeat, writing to the Peers arguing against the bill, and sharing personal stories as well as reasoned arguments on social media.


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