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Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Westminster: Bishop gives evidence against Euthanasia Bill
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¬†Bishop Christopher Budd, representing the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, gave oral evidence last Thursday, 13th January, to the House of Lords Select Committee considering the 'Joffe' Bill on Euthanasia. The Select Committee considering Lord Joffe's Bill on Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill heard evidence from members of different faith groups as part of a wide-ranging enquiry. Written evidence had already been submitted jointly by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England House of Bishops, under cover of a letter co-signed by Cardinal Murphy O'Connor and the Archbishop of Canterbury on 3rd September 2004. At the outset of his oral evidence Bishop Christopher Budd made the following introductory comment: "I am Bishop Christopher Budd and I am here to represent Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor and the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales. I believe that we all start from the need of compassion for those who are dying. We part company however when working out what is acceptable or compassionate. We do not believe that killing someone, even when invited to do so is the hallmark of compassion. Compassion as the word suggests is 'suffering with', accompanying someone on a journey the length of which is not in our control. The journey of course is open-ended and as we know the way we come to die is highly variable. It is love that give dignity to everyone on that journey, especially the person dying. The Christian moral tradition has the following wisdom for those accompanying the dying person: ∑ Love is the overarching virtue ∑ We do not intentionally kill anyone ∑ We do not strive officiously to keep a person alive as long as technically possible through over burdensome or futile treatment. ∑ We always seek to sustain basic care to the end, including feeding and hydration for as long as is possible and in ways that are not burdensome. Law must always seek to protect the vulnerable. The proposed change weakens this protection . It will also act as a corrosive force in our society and gradually weaken the trust that is vital for patients, doctors, nursing and care staff and family members. Our experience of the abortion legislation has to be a cautionary tale. I hope that this committee will draw the same conclusion as the 1994 committee namely (and I quote): ' we do not believe that these arguments (those in favour of euthanasia) are sufficient reason to weaken society's prohibition of intention killing. That prohibition is the cornerstone of law and of social relationships. It protects each one of us impartially, embodying the belief that all are equal. We do not wish that protection to be diminished and we therefore recommended no change in the law to promote euthanasia.' (HMSO, London 994, para 236-237) Source: CCS
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