When words are used to hide the truth (4)


Previous generations were unafraid to face death

Previous generations were unafraid to face death

We don’t need to look in a dictionary for definitions of words which surround the end of life. ‘Death’ means coming to the end of your life, when your heart stops beating, and your brain ceases to function. ‘Killing’ means the death of a man or woman, brought about by another person, as for example in a war. ‘Murder’ means the deliberate killing of one human being by another. ‘Suicide’ means people ending their lives deliberately. What, then, the situation where a doctor provides and administers lethal drugs to another, who wishes to end his or her own life? Is this ‘assisted dying’?

No, it is not. It is a form of ‘killing’; it is stretching the language even to call it ‘assisted suicide’. The Bill before the House of Lords has hi-jacked the phrase ‘assisted dying’, which has its own very proper meaning.

As a priest I have often over the years been asked to assist people who are dying, usually with family and friends. Prayer, confession, anointing – all have been part of the ‘assisting’ of dying. Reminiscence and memory, the saying of thankyou’s – but above all the presence of other people with the one who is dying, these things belong within the phrase ‘assisted dying’. Certainly, the provision of medical care, to ease pain while maintaining consciousness wherever possible, is vital. The amazing strides over the years by the Hospice Movement should banish all thoughts of pursuing this pernicious Bill. We should be ashamed of what we are doing; we need to pour money and expertise into the support of perhaps the most vulnerable people in our society – the dying – but above all our time, our love and our care.


About Scott Anderson

Formerly an Anglican priest (ordained 1975) received into the Catholic Church in February 2012, and ordained to the Diaconate on 27th July 2013. I took early retirement, and divide my time between London and northern France. I am deeply committed to the Ordinariate as a gift of the Holy Spirit in the search for unity. Like many Ordinariate members I feel a personal gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict, together with loyalty to our Holy Father, Pope Francis. My blog tries to make a small contribution to the growth of the Ordinariate by asking questions (and proposing some answers) about the 'Anglican Patrimony'. I have always been fascinated by the whole issue of growth and decline, and therefore concerned for appropriate means of evangelisation in western Europe. I believe that the Holy Spirit is constantly renewing the People of God and that we must be open to him. My love of music and motorcycles will occasionally surface in my posts. On Saturday 19th October 2013, I was ordained to the Priesthood at Most Precious Blood, Borough, by the Most Revd Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, for the service of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham. I continued to serve the Ordinariate group and Parish at Most Precious Blood until the end of 2014. Subsequently, I helped in the care of the Ordinariate Groups at Hemel Hempstead and Croydon, and in the Archdiocese of Southwark, until the beginning of September 2015. With the agreement of my Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, the Bishop of Amiens appointed me Administrator of the Parish of Notre Dame des Etangs (Pont Remy) in Picardie, France. This appointment is to last for a year, to give the Bishop the opportunity to assess the future of the parish.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to When words are used to hide the truth (4)

  1. The proposals of this bill represent an abhorrent indictment upon the UK and on English Law which, for so many centuries has been emulated by so many. Let us hope and pray that those we have elected see sense and have the decency to put it where it belongs.

  2. Harry says:

    As I’ve said somewhere else, our politicians seem to be engaged in attacking life at both ends, with almost rubber stamp abortion in spite of what the law says and now this proposal. It’s really naïve to say that they are acting with compassion in allowing ‘assisted dying’. It’s inevitable that people at their most helpless and vulnerable will either feel obliged to end their lives so as not to be a burden on relatives or be pressured into it. I believe there is already evidence from outside the UK where this is the case.

    • I had supposed that, as the momentum for dispatching the terminally ill gained momentum, the C of E would fight a rear-guard action and then capitulate. What I had not foreseen was that there would be a rush to embrace it even before the debate begins! Will Archbishop Welby and the House of Bishops have the courage to rebuke him?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s