Assisted suicide puts pressure on terminally ill, bishop claims
THE new Bishop of Elphin has said he is opposed to assisted suicide because of the pressure it puts on the terminally ill.
Fr Kevin Doran told the Irish Independent that when he is installed as Bishop of Elphin, he will be "strongly advocating that the church and church agencies be unambiguous in their witness to the dignity of human life at all stages".
The Dublin priest resigned from the Mater Hospital's board last October when the hospital said it would comply with the terms of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.
He said: "Somebody might feel that because it (assisted suicide) is a legal possibility, that then it would be the decent thing to do, to save their relatives' difficulty."
The bishop-elect, who is likely to be consecrated in July, said: "The church is not against death, the church is against the taking of life. The decision rests with God who is the giver of life and he alone can decide when it is our time. It is about being seen to stand firm with those who are most vulnerable."
The Supreme Court in April 2013 ruled against right to die campaigner Marie Fleming's challenge on the ban on assisted suicide. The MS sufferer passed away last December.
Fr Doran was speaking to the Irish Independent at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo, following Pope Francis's announcement that he had been selected to succeed Bishop Christopher Jones.
Fr Doran is a former university chaplain who ran the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 2012 for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
He succeeds Bishop Christopher Jones who retired two years ago after two years at the helm of the diocese of more 70,000 Catholics and also headed up the marriage agency Accord.
Asked about next year's referendum on same sex marriage, the 60-year-old priest said that he believed very strongly in the church's teaching on the sanctity of marriage.
"Obviously I respect loving relationships of all kinds but marriage is unique," he said.
In his address in Sligo cathedral to priests, nuns, schoolchildren and parishioners from his new diocese, the incoming bishop acknowledged that many of the services traditionally provided by the church are now state funded and state controlled.
"It is important for us to reflect on the nature and the meaning of these partnerships between church and State," he commented.
Asked about the role of women in the church, he said that as leader of Elphin diocese he would have "no qualms whatsoever" about looking at possible key roles women could play.
"In the last job I had with the International Eucharistic Congress, six out of eight of my management team were women. They did a fantastic job."