Bishop Tom Wright opposes the idea of the government setting up an independent enquiry to look at assisted suicide. Speaking recently in the House of Lords, he said that
Parliament is there not to bend to every media-manipulated public whim, but to take the larger and longer view.
It is often the case that ethics debates taking on a special meaning when individual cases are considered. Bishop Wright drew attention to
the old lady who last summer told me several times that she just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up, but who eventually made a full recovery and celebrated her 63rd wedding anniversary last month and greeted her sixth greatgrandchild last week. Had we been in Holland or Oregon, someone might have ‘compassionately’ given her a paper to sign and the deed would have been done.
Bishop Wright then declared his interest in the case:-
the lady in question is my mother.
Much as we can sympathise with those who feel that life is no longer worth living, to consciously help them on their way is not compassion, but ‘collusion with distorted desire.’
The genuinely compassionate course includes the remarkable work of palliative care, in which we in this country are field leaders, particularly through the hospice movement.
Church of England Newspaper, 12th February 2010.