Monday, December 14, 2009
Bishops concede 'compassion' as a reason not to prosecute in assisted suicide cases
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales want you to respond to the consultation by the Director of Public Prosecutions on assisted suicide. The DPP's proposed guidelines include a list of 'factors' for and against prosecuting those who help others commit suicide. The Bishops official response points out that being a close relative, contrary to the DPP, should NOT give you a right to immunity from prosecution if you persuade granny to end it all and help her on her way.
But their response (pdf, p 12) concedes that being motivated by 'compassion' is a factor against prosecution - along with more straightforward factors such as that of making only a small contribution to the death.
Is the fact a murderer genuinly beleives his victim is better off dead really a reason not to prosecute him?
If the murderer thought that the victim was better off dead because he was a member of the wrong religion or race this would be an aggravating factor in the crime under the present law of the UK. Yet if he thinks so because the victim is disabled, this apparently mitigates the offence, and may lead to a decision not to prosecute.
Again, the fact that a person is ill, in pain, or dying, gives those around him a duty to look after him. But according to the DPP, and even according to the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, it gives everyone a ready-made excuse to help him on his way.
Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael
Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen