LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Catholic leaders in Britain are calling on voters to remember pro-life issues when they cast their ballots on July 4.

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury issued a statement on June 5 that an election is “a moment of choice.”

“I write to draw your attention to one of these choices in 2024 which involves euthanasia: The medical killing of the sick and aged which is sometimes called assisting their suicide or even assisted dying, though it is not helping the dying in the way our Christian inheritance has taught,” he said.

“At least one party leader has indicated that he will proactively make parliamentary time available for a change in the law to be considered that will remove many of the legal safeguards which have long protected some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Amid the many questions of policy being considered in the weeks ahead, this must surely be a central issue,” Davies continued.

The bishop was referring to Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, who said late last year there here are “grounds for changing the law” on assisted dying.

The last attempt to legalize assisted suicide in the UK was defeated in Parliament in 2015, but Starmer had backed the bill. His party is currently leading the polls in the current election.

Davies said the sanctity of human life “transcends party politics because it impacts upon the moral foundations of our life together.”

“Opening the doors to euthanasia would change the medical and nursing professions in their relationship to the sick and the aged; distort the way the sick and the elderly are viewed in society when it is less costly to kill rather than to care; put intolerable pressures on the sick and the aged who are made to feel a burden; and advance a culture of death which has extended to more and more people in countries where euthanasia has been adopted, even extending to the mentally ill and to children,” the bishop wrote.

On April 8, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth spoke about the growing efforts to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“First, it places an intolerable and immoral demand on medical staff, doctors and nurses. It asks them to ignore the Hippocratic Oath they take to preserve life, in order to extinguish life. Many a vet will speak of their grief at putting down a beloved family pet – ‘putting it out of its misery’ – yet surely we cannot treat an elderly relative in the same way?” Egan asked.

“Assisted suicide would place medics in an impossible dilemma. It would ultimately undermine the trust we place in them. How would we know any more whether the doctor is working in our best interests?” he continued.

“Secondly, to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide would undermine palliative care and the work of care-homes. After all, it is easier and cheaper to kill someone than to care for them. Yes, frailty, pain and infirmity are a difficult trial and the terminally ill can experience despair,” he continued.

“Yet, thanks be to God for the amazing advances medical science has made. Britain is a leader in palliative care with methods and drugs that can manage pain right to the end. The Church always works to relieve suffering but as a Christian, I would add that in union with Christ, it is possible to find from Him all the patience and energy we need to sustain suffering – to ‘carry the cross’ (Mt 16: 24) – and to turn it into a positive good for others,” he explained.

The bishop added the possibility of assisted suicide puts intolerable pressure on the sick and the elderly.

“It makes them feel they are a burden on their family and a financial burden. Yet when we love someone, efficiency and cost-saving is irrelevant. How can helping someone to commit suicide ever be compassionate? It is evil masquerading as a kindness,” Egan said.

He also noted in Belgium and elsewhere where assisted suicide and euthanasia have been legalized, the legislation gradually keeps creeping forward, expanding to cover more and more categories: Sick children, people with autism, those with dementia, the depressed, the mentally ill, the handicapped and others “whose lives someone else decides are not worth living.”

“I appeal to Catholics to mobilize. Don’t be persuaded by emotional pitches in the media. Speak out against this sinister proposal,” Egan said.

“Raise it with the candidates in the forthcoming elections. It is never permissible to use an means to do good. Suicide is a mortal sin and helping someone commit suicide is a mortal sin. For we believe in assisted living, not assisted dying. Death is not pain relief; it is the transition to a glorious new life in heaven with God our Father and Creator,” the bishop said.

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