Our Lady of Fatima, Pilgrimage around the Diocese of Scotland.The Pilgrimage Statue of Our Lady of Fatima arrives at St Mirins Cathedral in the Diocese of Paisley,Rosary and veneration of the statue led by Bishop John Keenan, Sunday 8th Oct 2017.Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry 07770 393960 @Paulmcsherry2
Moderator Designate of the Church of Scotland. Rev Dr Iain Greenshields will be the Moderator of The Church of Scotland for 2022 / 2023. Rev Greenshields is currently Minister of St Margarets Church in Dunfermline
Imam Shaykh Hamza Khandwalla, Bishop John Keenan and the Rt Rev Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the Church of Scotland.
By Peter Kearney, Helen Silvis and Bill Heaney
Scotland’s faith leaders will today confirm their opposition to assisted dying.
Bishop John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, will join the Rt Rev Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the Church of Scotland and Imam Shaykh Hamza Khandwalla, Imam of Dundee Central Mosque, at the Scottish Parliament.
And they will sign a statement urging MSPs to vote down a proposal to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland.
The joint statement expresses “deep concern” that assisted suicide “inevitably undermines the dignity of the human person” and that it could “put pressure on vulnerable individuals to opt for assisted suicide.”
The statement ends with a firm commitment by the Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic Church, and the Scottish Association of Mosques to oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Bishop Keenan said: “Assisted suicide attacks human dignity and results in human life being increasingly valued on the basis of its efficiency and utility. Implicit in legal assisted suicide is that an individual can lose their value and worth.
“Evidence from countries where assisted suicide or euthanasia is legal shows that vulnerable people feel pressured to end their lives through fear of being a burden. In such situations the option of assisted suicide is less about having a ‘right’ to die and more about feeling the full weight and expectation of a duty to die.
“When vulnerable people, including the elderly and poor, express concerns about being a burden, the appropriate response is not to suggest that they have a duty to die; rather, it is to commit to meeting their needs and providing the care and compassion they need to help them live.”
Later this year Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur, pictured right, is expected to present a bill before the Scottish Parliament proposing that assisted suicide should be made legal.
In their Joint statement the faith leaders say: “On behalf of the faith communities we represent, we wish to express our deep concern about the proposed Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill, which will shortly be considered by the Scottish Parliament.
“Our faith traditions are united in the principle that assisted dying in itself inevitably undermines the dignity of the human person, and to allow it would mean that our society as a whole loses its common humanity.”
“The ways in which similar laws in other countries are being applied, and the effect that its introduction would have on some of the most vulnerable in our society, including the disabled and the elderly, would be extremely detrimental.”
The statement ends with a call to “Members of the Scottish Parliament to consider carefully the implications of this Bill, to express their concerns, and to vote against it.”
Joint statement on behalf of the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland:
We wish to express our deep concern, on behalf of the Churches which we represent, about the proposed Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill.
This Bill would make it legal, in certain circumstances, to help people to commit suicide. While we acknowledge the sincerely held motivation of those seeking change, we do not believe that this is the correct approach to the alleviation of suffering.
Most doctors in Scotland experienced in the care of people at the end of their lives are opposed to assisted dying, and almost half would consider quitting if it were introduced. Our own experience of care, of grief and bereavement gives us the understanding that there are ways to relieve suffering and support palliative care and people at the end of their lives. More support an attention needs to be given to this work.
We grieve with those who grieve and identify with those who suffer, but do not want anyone to be in a position where they feel that they are a burden – on their family, on society, or on the NHS, or that older people or people with disabilities or who could apply for assisted dying might feel pressured to do so.
The ways in which similar laws in other countries are being applied, and the effect that its introduction would have some of the most vulnerable in our society, including older people and people with disabilities, would be extremely detrimental. Society is called to care for those who are suffering, not to end their lives.
The Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland remain firm in their opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia.
We hope all Members of the Scottish Parliament will consider carefully the implications of this Bill, recognise the seriousness of our concerns, and we ask them to vote against it.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Iain MacLeod Greenshields, Moderator, General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and Rt. Rev. Bishop John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley, Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.