Archbishop Vincent Nichols welcomed doctors, nurses and care staff to a special Mass for Health Care Workers, at St Michael's church in central Birmingham last Tuesday, the Feast of St Luke, Patron of Doctors. In his homily the Archbishop of Birmingham, said: "To care for the health of others is as doctors is an ancient and noble calling, and one that has the respect of us all. "The core of the Gospel of life is the proclamation that Jesus has a unique relationship with every person, which enables us to see in every human face the face of Christ himself. The responsibility of health workers is to be guardians and servants of human life. "We need to hold on to the promises of Christ, especially when we find ourselves encountering areas of great controversy in the medical field." The Archbishop continued: "The recent debate in the House of Lords has illustrated this. The focus has been upon the proposal to legalise assisted suicides and voluntary euthanasia, and to do so on the basis of a claim of compassion and the desire to free a person from suffering." "Such legislation would be disastrous. It would radically alter the moral basis of our society by undermining the right to life. We must affirm again and again: as long as I have life, I have the right to life! It would undermine all trust between patient and health worker. It would introduce a fearful mistrust into the most vulnerable years of a person's life and leave them increasingly isolated. "So we take heart in the widespread opposition that these measures are attracting: the vast majority of medical professions, including GP's oppose any change in the law on intentional killing. "This is the encouragement we need to give one another for each of those moments when we come face to face with a practice or a philosophy that reduces those in our care to a problem or, even worse, nothing more than an economic burden. "We can also be encouraged, even more importantly, to speak persuasively to those who are confused under the burden of care, those who are exhausted by demands and no longer feel sure what is the right thing to do. Our quiet words of encouragement can make all the difference."
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