Author asks Grapevine readers to oppose assisted dying bill

As the House of Lords prepares to debate the Assisted Dying Bill, a hospice chaplain has published his memoir of ministering to those close to death.

Inside the Hospice by Peter Michael Scott began life as a regular column in the diocesan newspaper, Westminster Record.

The book version – available from St Pauls Publishing – was compiled and published during Lockdown, when Fr Peter was recovering from surgery – and publicity was impossible.

Based on his extensive experience as a hospital and hospice chaplain and mostly written during his time as chaplain at St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, each of the 37 chapters invites the reader to contemplate an experience or encounter that Fr Peter has in the hospice with the eyes of faith.

And Fr Peter is calling on Catholic Grapevine readers to write to members of the House of Lords, objecting to the Assisted Dying Bill which is to be debated in October.

He says: “St Joseph’s is a Catholic Hospice – the first hospice in the UK – and it is in my DNA to object to this awful possibility.

“Part of the reason for writing the original articles was to put the healthy dialogue of talking about death into parishes.

“I believe the book presents a positive and truthful image of good Catholic hospice care at St Joseph’s, and helps those who might be frightened of dying.”

In one chapter, Fr Peter freely admits to being a “spiritual magpie”, who likes to “collect or steal advice from prayerful people and use it when spending time with God”.

The book has been welcomed by Tony McLean, head of St Joseph’s Hospice.

He says: “Within Fr Peter Scott’s book, our previous head of Chaplaincy, captures the essence of what we have been doing here at St Joseph’s for more than 116 years.

“The care we have provided to those with life limiting illness and those at the end of their life in my view is second to none.

“We ensure dignity and fulfilment for our patients and their family.”

Peter Michael Scott recalls a man who died surrounded by flowers, bees and children’s painting.

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