DCSIMG

‘Assisted dying law is threat to sanctity of life’

Christians make the journey across the Lindisfarne mudflats today in glorious sunshine. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Christians make the journey across the Lindisfarne mudflats today in glorious sunshine. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

  • by SHÂN ROSS
 

PILGRIMS walked with crosses across the tidal causeway to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne yesterday, on the final leg of the Northern Cross pilgrimage.

Christians from around the world join the annual trek near Berwick-upon-Tweed to celebrate Easter.

Meanwhile, a Roman Catholic bishop is to use his Easter message to attack moves to legalise “assisted dying” in the United Kingdom.

The Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Shrewsbury, will use his homily on Easter Sunday to attack the Assisted Suicide Bill, saying it would change laws “which uphold the sanctity of human life and protecting some of the weakest in society”.

Legislation has been drawn up by Labour former lord chancellor Lord Falconer of Thoroton and MPs would be allowed a free vote if it is debated in the House of Commons.

At a mass held in Shrewsbury Cathedral, Bishop Davies will say: “Today in our country, many consciences struggle amid the shadows as they try to distinguish between good and evil in everything which concerns the value of human life itself. In a matter of weeks, a bill will be brought before parliament aimed at legalising assisted suicide.

“This bill will seek to change long-established laws which uphold the sanctity of human life and protecting some of the weakest in society.

“It is hard to understand that, at a time when there has been so much public concern about the care of the most
vulnerable in our hospitals and care homes, we would contemplate weakening, rather than strengthening, the legal protection offered to some of the weakest and most vulnerable.”

Several previous attempts to legislate on assisted dying have failed, and both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have said they personally oppose change.

But last month, Liberal Democrat care minister Norman Lamb backed change, saying he would vote in favour of
allowing terminally-ill adults with less than six months to live to choose to be helped to kill themselves.

Guidelines issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2010 indicated that anyone acting with compassion on the will of a dying person was unlikely to face criminal charges.

Last month, a group of a dozen Scottish medical experts backed the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.

SEE ALSO

Assisted suicide backed by 69% of Scots polled

 

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