BY Peter Diamond | September 6 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Church calls for increased funds for palliative care as Scot flies to Switzerland

Anthony Horan, director of Catholic Parliamentary Office, said any move towards introducing euthanasia would be a ‘dangerous statement’ by lawmakers.

The Catholic Church has called for more investment in end of life care after a Scottish man flew to Switzerland seeking euthanasia.

The Church comments come a day after Pope Francis addressed the Italian Association of Medical Oncology, telling doctors, nurses and patients that ‘euthanasia is a way of treating the human person as an object.’

On Friday September 6, Richard Selley, 65, from Perth, flew to Zurich following a four-year diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease.

Vulnerable people

Mr Selley, a former teacher, who has to talk-type to communicate, has previously spoken about feeling like a ‘prisoner’ in his own body and he has been campaigning for a change in the law.

Asked about the case, Anthony Horan, director of Catholic Parliamentary Office, said any move towards introducing euthanasia would be a ‘dangerous statement’ by lawmakers.

“Our resolve as individuals and as a society is undoubtedly tested in the face of real suffering and despair. We must prioritise care, companionship and compassion at all stages of life, including sufficient investment in palliative care to develop and improve end of life care for those in need,” Mr Horan said.

“Legalising assisted suicide puts immeasurable pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives prematurely, for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden on others.

Prevent suicide

“In Oregon and Washington in the USA where assisted suicide is legal, a majority of those who end their lives do so because they fear becoming a burden, not because of the symptoms of their conditions.

“Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia declares that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived; it is a dangerous statement for lawmakers to make. We should be preventing suicide, not assisting it.”

Previous attempts to introduce euthanasia legislation have failed to get through the Scottish Parliament.

This week, Pope Francis addressed the issue, saying: “If one chooses death, the problems are solved in a sense—but how much bitterness behind this reasoning, and what rejection of hope involves the choice of giving up everything and breaking all ties?”

The Holy Father encouraged the medical workers to ‘inspire everyone to be close to those who suffer, to the little ones above all, and to put the weak in the first place, so that they can grow a more human society and relationships marked by gratuitousness, rather than opportunity.’

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