Siamese twins: bishops' response

 After Friday's decision by the Court of Appeal, the Catholic Media Office issued the following statement from the Most Rev Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster: "The Court of Appeal has given very careful consideration to this case, in which everyone involved has been seeking to do what is for the best. I have not had an opportunity yet to read the judgment and so cannot comment on the reasons given by the Court. "In expressing a number of anxieties about this case I have been particularly concerned that a precedent might be set in English law that could allow an innocent person to be killed, or lethally assaulted, even to prolong the life of another. If such a precedent has indeed been set I would have profound misgivings about the Court's decision. "I have the greatest sympathy for the parents in their present distress." The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, said: "I wish to pay tribute to the care with which the Court of Appeal has addressed the agonising moral question of the care of Jodi and Mary. However, I express dismay at the judgment that has been reached as it amounts to the direct killing of an innocent person, whose basic right to life will be denied. "I express my deep concern for the parents of these babies who in coming to England for excellent medical care now face the prospect that one of their children will be killed. The prayers and thoughts of many are with them. "I await with anxiety the outcome of a possible appeal." Archbishop Murphy-O'Connor submitted some reflections to the Court of Appeal on 14 September 2000. A copy of his submission is available on his website at

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