Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 71(4) November 2021

Catholic Bishops Speak on Assisted Suicide

Faith leaders warn of risk to vulnerable posed by Assisted Dying Bill in a joint statement

The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbi warn of the risk to vulnerable people should Parliament back a new attempt to change the law on assisted suicide.

Photo of faith leaders

In a joint letter to peers, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Justin Welby, and The Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, speak of their “profound disquiet” over the Assisted Dying Bill, ahead of its second reading in the House of Lords in October.

“As leaders of faith communities, we wish to express our profound disquiet at the provisions of the ‘Assisted Dying’ Bill currently in the House of Lords.
We acknowledge that Baroness Meacher is seeking the alleviation of suffering. This motivation we share wholeheartedly, but we disagree on the means advanced to address this very real concern. In particular, we are conscious of the risks and dangers entailed in the provisions of the Bill and the ‘real-life’ practical inadequacies of the proposed safeguards.
By the faiths we profess, we hold every human life to be a precious gift of the Creator, to be upheld and protected.
All people of faith, and those of none, can share our concern that the common good is not served by policies or actions that would place very many vulnerable people in more vulnerable positions.
We appeal to people of whatever faith or belief to join us through our common bond of humanity in caring for the most vulnerable people within our society.
In contrast to the proposals in this Bill, we continue to call for measures to make high-quality palliative care available to all at the end of their lives.
We believe that the aim of a compassionate society should be assisted living rather than an acceptance of assisted suicide.”


Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales