Sold out audience hear truth about assisted suicide

EVENT: Understanding the Catholic view of assisted suicide

“It’s getting worse” says Dr David Jones, as he discusses the spread of assisted suicide.

“We can see that in Belgium and The Netherlands. It’s not only the elderly and people with physical diseases, it’s also those suffering from psychiatric problems.”

Dr Jones (left), director of the Anscombe Bioethic Centre in Oxford and award winning scholar and author, is coming to Edinburgh this month to discuss the Catholic view of assisted suicide.

He spoke in a week when Belgian doctors were put on trial for euthanising a 38-year-old woman who was suffering after a difficult relationship breakup.

The macabre march of assisted suicide in Belgium is something he is familiar with, having co-edited the book Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium (2017).

He said: “Suicide is something that the church views as a tragedy. It recognises that people who do it may be in a very disturbed state of mind, so the church prays for people who have committed suicide.”

On medically assisted suicide, he said: “If a person is young, people try very hard to prevent suicide. But if the person is older, isolated or has disabilities, some people think it’s quite reasonable for them to take their own lives.

“Rather than helping them to live, they assist them in ending their lives, which they wouldn’t so if they were younger and healthier. So it involves a kind of discrimination.”

Dr Jones will be joined at the event by Evelyn Howie (left), a former senior palliative care nurse, who spent 15 years at St Columba’s Hospice in Edinburgh.

She hopes to dispel a few myths about hospices.

“There’s an assumption that it’s a very sad and difficult place to work,” she said. “On the contrary, it was a happy and positive place. A hospice provides specialist palliative care and is dedicated to improving the lives of people with a life limiting disease.

"So it helps them live with peace and dignity, to alleviate suffering and help individuals through the dying process, which is a process of life.”

Bioethics Day, 11am, Saturday 25th January, Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh. Free event, organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Catechetics. Register on Eventbrite.

EVENT: Bioethics Day to help Catholics combat culture of death

Assisted suicide is a massive issue today. What's the Catholic view and what's the role of palliative care in resisting the culture of death?

Dr David Jones (below) knows all about the issues. He is Professor of Bioethics at St Mary's University in Twickenham and speaks at our Bioethics Day at the Gillis Centre, Edinburgh, on Saturday 25th January.

He will give a Catholic view of assisted suicide focusing on the theological, pastoral and legalistic issues. He will also describe his experience as Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre in Oxford.

At this year's SPUC Scotland conference, delegates heard about the combined efforts of medical groups and politicians to embed the practice of assisted suicide into the United Kingdom.

It follows the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) announcing that its position on assisted suicide would move from one of opposition to neutrality.

Dr Gordon Macdonald, of Care Not Killing, warned that politicians were steadily beginning to embrace the concept of assisted suicide. In 2010, 65.9% of Westminster politicians opposed assisted suicide. However, currently, only 35.6% of Westminster politicians oppose assisted suicide with 37.5% ‘unknown’.

SPUC Deputy Chief Executive, John Deighan said: “There is a concerted move by the euthanasia lobby to get the medical bodies on side before attempting legislation. They appear to have identified the move to a neutral position as a way of gaining momentum for their cause.

“We must work to enhance life for sick, disabled and elderly people, not pass a law which offers them death as a solution to their problems.

“The current law protects every citizen, especially the elderly, sick and disabled. Offering people the choice to end their lives creates unacceptable pressure for them to choose death. It is vital that we resist all attempts to embed the abhorrent practice of assisted suicide into society".

Bioethics Day, Gillis Centre, 100 Stathearn Road, Edinburgh. 11:00am to 2:30pm (registration from 10:30am). Light lunch provided. Register now for this free event at Eventbrite.