BY Ian Dunn | July 25 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Papal pro-life message for UK, Ireland

Pope Francis has urged Catholics in Britain and Ireland to combat the ‘culture of death’ in a message ahead of Day for Life this Sunday.

The message, signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, said the Pope was confident that the Day for Life would inspire ‘young Catholics in particular’ not only to help ensure ‘adequate legal protection for the fundamental human right to life, but also by seeking to bring the merciful love of Christ as a life-giving balm to those troubling “new forms of poverty and vulnerability” which are increasingly evident in contemporary society.’

He added: “To all involved in the Day for Life celebrations, His Holiness imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, joy and peace in the Risen Lord.”

The Pope’s message comes as plans to legalise assisted suicide in England and Wales passed their first hurdle in the House of Lords last Friday.

Peers backed the Assisted Dying Bill at second reading, after debating its measures in a packed chamber for almost ten hours. The debate was the first opportunity for peers to speak on the general principles of the bill.

The legislation is a Private Members’ Bill, introduced by the Labour peer and former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thornton. The bill would make it legal for adults in England and Wales to be given assistance to end their own life and would apply to those with less than six months to live.

The bill is based on a similar law in Oregon, in the United States, but with ‘more safeguards,’ Lord Falconer has said.

Two doctors would have to independently confirm the patient was terminally ill and had reached their own, informed decision to die. Currently, the 1961 Suicide Act makes it an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or a suicide attempt in England and Wales. Anyone doing so could face up to 14 years in prison.

The strength of religious opposition to the bill was made clear in a joint letter signed by Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster, Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and 21 other of the most senior Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Zoroastrian and Jain faith leaders in England and Wales.

The Bishops’ Day for Life is celebrated yearly by the Catholic Church in Scotland, England and Wales and Ireland. It is a day dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition.





– Read the full version of this story in July 25 edition of the SCO in parishes from Friday.



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