Coffee House

Lord Carey undermines his successor, again

12 July 2014

12 July 2014

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has changed his mind about ‘assisted dying’ and intends to vote for Lord Falconer’s Bill, which will be debated in Parliament next week. His article in today’s Daily Mail is a tremendous coup for the Dignity in Dying lobby.

When Carey was in office, no one paid much attention to his views. He lumbered from one gaffe to another; we religious correspondents were too amused by his self-importance to notice that he tended to get his way – for example, over women priests in 1992. Since retirement, his stature has grown. He has become more right-wing. He is contemptuous of the bishops’ fear of offending Muslims at a time when Islamists are torching churches; he gives an establishment voice to African evangelicals disgusted by gay marriage.

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In short, he’s the Pope Emeritus of conservative Anglicans all over the world. They will be surprised to read about his support for (as he puts it) ‘the proposed new law [that] would enable doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who have stated a clearly expressed intention to end their lives.’

Lord Carey says that until recently he would have fiercely opposed Falconer’s Bill: ‘I would have paraded all the usual concerns about the risks of “slippery slopes” and “state-sponsored euthanasia”. But those arguments that persuaded me in the past seem to lack power and authority now when confronted with the experiences of those suffering a painful death.’

He doesn’t explain how the law can distinguish between, on the one hand, the merciful curtailment of agony and, on the other, the bullying of old people by legacy-hunting relatives who are chiefly interested in curtailing care home bills. But the British public doesn’t seem troubled by such niceties. According to YouGov, only 13 per cent of us oppose a change in the law. (In old age Carey has developed a nose for popular causes, which makes his volte-face less surprising.)

I wonder what Justin Welby – who opposes assisted dying – will make of this intervention on the first day of General Synod. Carey is challenging the authority of the current Archbishop of Canterbury just as the latter is getting ready to plead with traditionalists to stay in the C of E despite the expected vote for women bishops. But undermining his successors has never bothered Lord Carey of Clifton. Just ask Rowan Williams.


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Show comments
  • http://www.ireneogrizek.com/ Irene Ogrizek

    George Carey indeed knows nothing about assisted suicide. It’s dangerous. http://goo.gl/04lh91

  • eclair

    and will he be first to volunteer or simply first to look benignly on while the deed is done. Its unthinkable.

  • artful

    Its a great pity that Carey has decided to pontificate on a subject of which he knows nothing. So he has decided to accept the world as it is. Obviously he hasn’t read St Paul’s letter to the Romans.

    Romans 12:2 (KJV) ~ And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    • Alexsandr

      isnt any killing a sin to chritians, and that suicide is self murder.
      so it is outlawed by the commandment not to kill.
      how does an archbishop go against one of the main tenets of his faith.

      • artful

        Yes. Killing is a sin and suicide is self murder. Carey will probably live to regret his statement.

  • swatnan

    How so? It’s an act of Mercy, long overdue. What if you were in that agonising position and hadn’t the power to end it all?

    • Alexsandr

      but its dangerous to those who dont want to be killed because of unscrupulous pressure from relatives and doctors etc.

  • Samuel Johnson

    Church of England orders review in response: seemingly unable even to say suicide or murder is wrong unequivocally. Lord Carey seems to forget that the founder of his religion “suffered a painful death”.

    Please watch this video of Jean Vanier, the founder of disabled charity L’Arche: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eldz3uNsmv4

    “But let’s not kill people! Let’s try to cure the pain, and not eliminate people because they’re in pain … Let’s not play a game where we’re killing people because they’re poor and because they’re in need. Don’t eliminate people because we want to eliminate suffering … This is our world, it’s a world of oppression and hatred, but we have to work against oppression.”

  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    In reality he’s just another bloke, retired.
    How can this mean “In short, he’s the Pope Emeritus of conservative Anglicans all over the world.”

    • Tim Baker

      Conservatism is always relative

  • Julie

    No changing of Catholic minds regarding palliative care as a work of spiritual and corporeal mercy; across England for the third successive Sunday, letters will go out at Mass instructing the faithful-especially medical professionals,the first victims of any change in legislation-to write requesting that peers attend the House and oppose the bill.

    • Tim Baker

      Where there is a will there is a way

  • Uncle Brian

    An hour or so ago I posted a comment that hasn’t shown up yet. If it gets binned I will understand why, but it would be nice to know whether that is what has happened, or whether it’s still waiting its turn in the mod’s queue.

  • CraigStrachan

    “African evangelicals disgusted by gay marriage”

    Is is gay marriage that disgusts them, or gay people?

    • Andy

      Probably both. Not necessarily in equal measure.

    • Tim Baker

      Why? Do you plan to get married there?

      • CraigStrachan

        I’d need to get divorced first, but then again they seem to be down with polygamy….

  • Patience Berkley

    Why is my pro Carey posting being censored? Got a problem with dissent at the Spectator?

    • Patience Berkley

      SO…a man who was a doctor of theology, ran a theological training college,
      was a successful and popular Bishop for three years before being
      elevated to Archbishop where he commanded respect in Africa and USA
      and ran the COE for 11 years DARES to offer an opinion???

      Carey clearly explains he watched at close hand as a dying man suffered
      unnecessary torment and this had an impact on him.

      One MIGHT hope Welby, the Eton-educated, oil executive who found Jesus
      crossing a street in Parts, who has been in the job less than a year,
      having been foisted upon the Church by an un-elected cabal who
      manufactured his appointment, who had less than six months experience
      as a Bishop before MIGHT listen to a man like Carey!

      • Patience Berkley

        Carey,whilst a Biblical Christian (instinctively of the Conservative wing) was open to Evangelicals, and had an excellent working relationship with Liberals and Anglo Catholics, like the Bishop of Taunton at the time. His enthronement was a moving mix of all wings of the faith and his ministry and career reflect that also. Despite travails and tragedy in his family life, he was and remains a man of great character and intellect, able to give time to those who needed it. No surprise he remains hugely liked around the world, particular in
        Africa.

        • Patience Berkley

          Welby, on the other hand has already demonstrated himself to be all at sea theologically, a religious weather-vane with no convictions to anchor him, when it comes to difficult moments of conscience. Furthermore, he has shown himself to be open to pressure from the (Etonian!) PM who hauled him in for a chat in the first three months and let it be known if JW doesn’t bring the Church in line with Human Rights legislation (viz Female Bishops Etc.) the PM will intervene or force Welby to intervene himself…

          • Patience Berkley

            I know which Captain I’d rather have on the sinking ship that is the COE, and it is neither the present incumbent nor the hairy monk that preceded him!

            • artful

              Michael Ramsay was the best Archbishop in modern times.

  • EmilyEnso

    Its the thin edge of the wedge.
    It won’t be long until people are under various coercions to end their lives.
    And it is a threat to every elderly, disabled and sick person in the country.
    The disabled lobby is completely opposed to this.
    The old cliches – their lives not worth living – put them out of their misery – a burden on society – will all be trotted out.
    What started out in the low countries as asking to die has now become a death sentence for people who are not asking to die – they just kill them. Many are afraid to go to a doctor.
    What a wonderful charter for the Shipmans of the medical profession.
    Archbishop Carey was an utter failure to the church .
    Now he fails the most vulnerable in society.
    Surprised?

    • telemachus

      Yes
      We should name this what it is
      *
      The Shipman Charter

      • Andy

        What about Mid Staffs ? Your killing factory. Another glorious achievement of the Fascist Labour Party.

        • Alexsandr

          and the uncaring Liverpool care Plan

      • LaurenceBoyce

        Yes we should . . . if we want to completely misrepresent the aims and purposes of this bill.

    • Alexsandr

      this was Hitlers solution for his ageing population.

      and the disabled

      http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/holocaust/h-euthanasia.htm

      • Tim Baker

        Hitler was Catholic

        • Paddy S

          Hitler was a pagan who euthanised thousands of people for very reason Damian mentioned above.

    • Conway

      What shocked me about the way it has gone in the Netherlands is that it isn’t only the old who are assisted to die, it’s young people, too. I think those who fear mission creep are right.

      • telemachus

        All you need is a corrupt doctor to label you terminally ill
        By that it is understood that they are considered to have less than 6 months to live
        *
        Remember the Lockerbie bomber, sent back because he was terminally ill

  • Kitty MLB

    I whiff sanctimonious miasmic hypocrisy in the air.
    A baby can be denied the chance of any life because a mother
    might not be ready and you will say that is her right.
    Yet if some terminally ill person, who was in absolute agony
    still compos mentis decided they wished to shuffle off this
    mortal coil then they have no choice, just suffer to the very
    end because that is Christian.

    We are just discussing one situation here. Not doctors wishing
    to make more space in hospital beds or people with Alzeimers
    I’d also like to point out that Hospices do actually help in this way.
    So in this one situation should a person not have a say or dignity
    in death ..i

    • telemachus

      Kitty
      It is not sanctimonious to wonder how many relatives may wish to hasten their legacies
      Or how many differently minded relatives may be guilty for evermore if they feel they have acquiesced to death of a loved one
      Or how many doctors may look back at an action and later feel it is a betrayal of their life’s work
      We all have a moral core that cannot be fooled

      • Alexsandr

        yes
        it is a fallacy that all relatives care for their elderly relatives. Just look at the number of people left in care homes with nary a visitor.
        or elderly people dumped at A+E because relatives cannot be bothered to find them a care home place.
        well now they will be offered a 3rd choice. get their subservient and perhaps slightly demented relative to sign their life away so they are not a nuisance or so they can get the inheritance before it all blown on care home fees.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Has the clergy been banned from turning up robed to the Lords – where are we with that one?

    • Tim Baker

      may the House of Lords prosper for eternity!

  • JoeDM

    Individuals should have the right to assisted dying if they have a incurable illness.

    • telemachus

      Someone said that life is an in curable illness

    • Alexsandr

      how do you protect the vulnerable or subservient people who could be bullied into this. This isnt a procedure that can be undone. This is bad law.

      • telemachus

        Exactly
        Bully the old
        Make relatives guilty
        Make doctors guilty
        Typical Carey

        • Kitty MLB

          You may find when death comes calling he
          has no preferences in regards to age.

          Doctors have a duty to preserve life, they cannot
          prevent death. So when death is close but not
          quite knocking on the door and the person on
          The other side of the door has had enough
          have they not the right.

          • telemachus

            Indeed
            But not the right to involve others in what many find to be morally distasteful

        • Patience Berkley

          Disgraceful personal insult from a keyboard warrior hiding behind the anonymity of a fake name!
          Have you actually ever met the man or even stood within a mile of him, let alone had to stand in his shoes to make some of the decisions he had to make in his career?

          Go back to the naughty corner and take those dirty big chips on both shoulders and do something useful instead of wasting a lovely afternoon writing spiteful hogwash on the web!

          • telemachus

            Sorry

      • Ricky Strong

        Would you not agree though that you are only presenting one side of the argument, and a fair point at that. If I were faced with a terminal illness that would render my life confined to 24/7 care, incapable of even basic movement why should I not have the right to end my life? Why should that basic choice be left to other people to decide? Is it not surely my decision and mine alone?

        • Alexsandr

          Of course I understand your point. But I feel the opportunity for abuse makes giving you your choice too dangerous.

          • Ricky Strong

            Can that opportunity not be quelled by a process that would require the opinions of doctors, psychologists and other experts. I am not well read enough to pass comment but I wonder what the statistics are for Swiss clinics that assist in suicide and whether they have been subject to abuse.

    • EmilyEnso

      They have a right to end their lives.
      It should not be state sanctioned.

      • telemachus

        They have the right now
        What they do not have and must never have is the right to make others complicit in this

    • Samuel Johnson

      We all have an “incurable illness”; it’s called life. If you make “assisted dying” available to some, by what right would you be able to deny it (in this lawyer-dominated society) to any others? Witness people being killed for “depression” in other states that have legalised it.

  • telemachus

    Carey is usually on the side of reaction
    Viz
    Carey claimed that in some countries where same-sex marriage had been made legal – including Mexico, Brazil and the Netherlands – it had led to unforeseen consequences such as three-person marriages.

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