The Kirk should back “assistance towards a peaceful death”, terminally ill former moderator of Church of Scotland says


“It is only just that the Church come together and discuss this,” former minister says

A FORMER moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has said the Kirk should back “assistance towards a peaceful death” as long as safety provisions are in place.

The Very Reverend Sandy McDonald, who has pulmonary fibrosis, told the Herald: “It just gets worse. There is no cure. I have had to address it and decide what to do.

“I have an advance directive which says ‘do not resuscitate’. I do not want to be fed by something in my stomach.

“What I do want is the right to a peaceful end to my life.”

The Kirk’s formal position is to oppose the Assisted Suicide Bill, which was proposed by Green Party MSP Patrick Harvie after the death of independent MSP Margo McDonald, who had long argued for it. The Kirk believes that better palliative care should be provided for elderly people in bad health.

McDonald said the phrase ‘assisted suicide’ was “the wrong slant” because it had “criminal overtones for many people”.

“We need to take seriously the provision of a peaceful end of life for all those who need and want it,” McDonald said.

McDonald added: “We have got so many people, in our nursing homes, in our care homes and our bed blocked hospitals, whether elderly or seriously ill, are saying ‘it’s time for me to die’. I sympathise hugely with them.”

CommonSpace reported (click here to read more) earlier this month on a Health and Sport Committee hearing at the Scottish Parliament, where Harvie spoke in favour of the bill, saying: “It seems to me there is an overwhelming public mood – as shown from consistent opinion polling over many years – that people who take an action in the best of intentions, an act of compassion to end the suffering of a loved one, at their own request, at their own instigation – I think there’s a clear public appetite that people in that situation should not be prosecuted, sentenced or imprisoned.”

McDonald said that he believed it was “only just that the Church come together and discuss this”.

McDonald’s son, the actor David Tennant, dedicated his award at the National Television Awards to his father earlier this month.