Archbishop John: “Every human life is to be cherished.”

Archbishop John issues a pastoral message on assisted suicide making clear we are called to care for those suffering, not to bring about their death.

With increased pressure on MPs to change the legislation on assisted suicide, Archbishop John Wilson has issued a pastoral message highlighting the threat this poses to human life and our claim to uphold equality.

In the message, Archbishop John outlines that the threats to human society today are not only physical, but moral and spiritual too. Human life is a gift from God and one that must be cherished, it is not a commodity we “manipulate and dominate”.  Archbishop John said:

The Catholic Church believes and teaches that every life is valuable, regardless of one’s physical or mental state or ability. We are called to care for those who are suffering, not to bring about their death.

We cannot approve of any form of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Rather, we need to support individuals, families, and those who work in healthcare, so that the fundamental value of life is not eroded.”

In the pastoral message, issued on 22 March 2024, Archbishop John drew on Pope Francis who said:

“We must be careful not to confuse [medical care] with unacceptable drifts towards euthanasia. We must accompany people towards death, but not provoke death or facilitate assisted suicide.”

Pope Francis went on to say:

“I would point out that the right to care and treatment for all must always be prioritised, so that the weakest, particularly the elderly and the sick, are never discarded. Indeed, life is a right, not death, which must be welcomed, not administered. And this ethical principle applies to everyone, not just Christians or believers.”

As the pressure on MPs from the assisted suicide advocacy groups increases, Archbishop John calls on people to write to their MPs to express opposition to assisted suicide and your desire for the government to commit to improving palliative care provision across the UK.

Archbishop John rightly reminds us that assisted suicide is not the only threat we are facing, with attempts to manipulate HM Government’s Criminal Justice Bill with extreme abortion amendments making it possible for abortion up to birth. The Archbishop urges people to support charities, such as Right to Life, by voicing their opposition to these proposed amendments. 

In concluding, Archbishop John adds:

As baptised followers of the Lord Jesus we must do all within our power to support the most vulnerable in our society, especially those who have no voice to speak for themselves.

Read the pastoral message in full below.

Pastoral message on assisted suicide