Bishop John Keenan is calling on Catholics to renew their commitment to opposing attempts to introduce assisted suicide in Scotland.

He made the comments in a pastoral letter to be shared with Catholics this Sunday to mark the annual Day for Life.

Bishop John, of Paisley Diocese, has episcopal responsibility for Life Issues in Scotland.

He said: "Our faith teaches us that there is no such thing as a useless life, and to reverence the gift of life to its natural end.

"Assisted suicide sends a message to disabled people that they are a burden and puts pressure on the vulnerable to opt to die, as in Oregon where half of those who chose assisted suicide felt a burden on their families, communities and healthcare system."

He added: "When the elderly and disabled are worried about being a burden, our response should be to commit ourselves to providing care and compassion to help them have a life worth living."

Day for Life

The annual Day for Life is celebrated on Sunday 16 June. It highlights Church teaching that life is to be nurtured from conception to natural death.

The theme is The Lord is my Shepherd – Compassion and Hope at the End of Life.

Day for Life is celebrated each year across three Episcopal Conferences - England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Bishop John Sherrington (England and Wales), Bishop Kevin Doran (Ireland), and Bishop John Keenan (Scotland) commend this year’s theme.

A special collection will take place at vigil and Sunday Mass on Sunday 16 June for the Bishops' Conference of Scotland's Apostolate for Life.

A resource document can be found here.

A debate on end-of-life issues has been in the headlines in Scotland, with the Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill being introduced at Holyrood.

Bishop Keenan added:  "The Day for Life is an invitation for us to renew our calling personally and as a society to care for others at the end of their lives, and to help our culture to see the end of life as an occasion for spiritual growth filled with grace and love."

Read the pastoral letter here. Day for Life Resources can be accessed here. The Day for Life takes place on Sunday 16 June.


To tie in with the Day for Life, the Archdiocese is hosting a workshop: 'Called to Care, Not to Kill'.

It takes place on Tuesday 18 June at 7:00pm in The Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh.

The workshop is free and you can register here.

By the end of the workshop you'll be able to engage with, and inform others, in plain language, about key concerns arising from Assisted Suicide bill.

This initiative will be supported by the Campaign Against Assisted Dying group (CAAD), who have experience in such development work, in conjunction with the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office.