In this regard, I cannot fail to express concern about the Assisted Dying Bill which will be discussed in the next few months in the House of Lords. This is a very sensitive issue, which required a serious commitment from us to protect and defend human life as a gift from God. As Pope Francis said in His Message to Catholics in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales on the occasion of the Day for Life celebrated last year: “Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect”.
More recently, in the Pope’s Message to the participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, last February, the Holy Father used even stronger words denouncing the “tyrannical dominion of an economic logic that excludes and sometimes kills, and of which so many today are victims, beginning with our elderly”, typical of the societies that Francis calls -in His Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium- “”˜thrown away’ culture” in which the “excluded are not the ”˜exploited’ but the outcast, the ’leftovers’” (n. 53). In this context, -continues the Pope in His Message to the Pontifical Academy for Life- we “clearly” find in our societies the “exclusion of the elderly, especially when he or she is ill, disabled or vulnerable for any reason”. Against this kind of exclusion, the Holy Father affirms that “poor health and disability are never a good reason for excluding or, worse, for eliminating a person”.
Dear brothers, I am glad to see the work that the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship is doing in this regard trying to clarify the “Sense and nonsense on ”˜Assisted Dying’”. I thank Archbishop Peter Smith in a special way. May I encourage them but also each one of you to announce the Gospel of Life among our People, as well as in Society in general, presenting the reality which hides behind the “nice”, “politically correct” and “compassionate” expression “assisted dying”.