By Sarah Mac Donald - 05 September, 2015
The Primate of All Ireland has written to MPs in Northern Ireland about the forthcoming ‘Assisted Dying’ Bill which is due to be debated in Westminster on 11 September.
In a statement on Friday, Archbishop Eamon Martin said he had written to Northern Ireland’s Members of Parliament ahead of the annual Day for Life in Ireland which takes place on 4 October and which this year has the theme ‘Cherishing Life – Accepting Death’.
In his letter, the Archbishop asked the MPs to oppose the “destructive and pessimistic” approach to human life proposed in the ‘Assisted Dying’ Bill.
He also appealed to Catholics in Northern Ireland to become actively involved, as baptised Christians and as citizens, in promoting a culture of love, care, respect and protection for every human life.
“I ask Catholics to encourage their MPs to oppose this Bill,” he appealed.
In his statement, Dr Martin emphasised that the life of every human person is equally valuable, whatever the stage or state of that life.
“Every human life is worth living and worthy of our utmost care and protection to its natural end. As Pope Francis has said, ‘What a lie … to make people think that lives affected by grave illness are not worth living!’” the Archbishop quotes.
In asking Catholics and others to oppose this Bill, he said he was asking them to state with confidence and joy that the future of humanity does not lie in a culture of death and the deliberate destruction of another, but in a culture of life and care for one another in which medicine and science are at the service of human dignity, not threats to our very existence.
He added that the human, moral, social and medical implications of the so-called ‘Assisted Dying’ Bill are far-reaching and profound.
“I appeal to Catholics and all who believe in the inherent dignity and value of every human life, in all its stages, to inform themselves about the important values at stake in this debate, to pray for the progress of a culture of life and mutual care in our society and to contact their Member of Parliament to ask them to oppose the passage of this Bill in favour of a more humane and ethically sound future for humanity.”
The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, has urged the faithful to contact their MPs ahead of a vote on the bill.
In a statement, Cardinal Vincent Nichols warned, “The intrinsic value of each human life will be gravely undermined if this or any bill to legalise assisted suicide were to become law.”
He also warned that it would also fundamentally change the ‘do no harm’ principle that underpins all medical practice.