Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 06 May |
Saint of the Day: St. François Montmorency de Laval
home iconNews
line break icon

Polish archbishop asks UK Church to intervene in end-of-life case in England


Tomasz Jastrzębowski/REPORTER

John Burger - published on 01/19/21

A court ruled that food and water could be withheld from the patient, who has been in a coma since November 6.

The president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Poland has written to his counterpart in Great Britain, asking for his intervention in the case of a Polish man who is in danger of being starved to death in England.

Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, has also weighed in on the issue, Poland’s national news agency PAP reported. 

Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki wrote to Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, saying the man has been “sentenced to death by starvation,” the news agency said. 

The man, identified only as “RS” in court papers, had a heart attack at his home in southern England November 6. His brain was deprived of oxygen for at least 45 minutes. Since then he has been in a coma in hospital. 

Specialists told the man’s family that his condition would never significantly improve and thought life-support treatment should end. His wife agreed and told a judge that her husband had talked of not wanting to be a “burden.” His mother and sisters disagreed, saying that because of his Catholic beliefs he would not have wanted his life to be ended if it could be saved.

A London-based judge sided with the man’s wife of nearly 20 years, reasoning that she would know his mind better. He determined that it is in RS’s best interests not to receive life-sustaining treatment, including artificial ventilation, nutrition and fluids. 

Last week, the Anscombe Bioethics Center in Oxford issued a statement criticizing the court ruling. It pointed out that RS was described as a “practicing Catholic” who had voiced opposition to euthanasia in the past. Although his wife reported that he once said he would never want to be a burden if he was seriously ill, such a statement should not be taken to sanction the withdrawal of basic care such as food and water, Anscombe argued. 

PAP reported this week that the Polish president’s chief of staff discussed the issue with Britain’s ambassador to Poland, Anna Clunes, on Monday.

“It was a difficult conversation. I have also spoken with the Polish ambassador to London, and I am in constant contact with Polish consuls who are on site in Plymouth,” Szczerski tweeted on Monday.


Read more:
Bioethics society expresses regret in case of man denied food and water


Read more:
French court orders food and water be removed from quadriplegic man

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
Cerith Gardiner
7 Ways to strengthen your relationship with the Virgin Mary
Philip Kosloski
How to pray the Chaplet of St. Joseph
Matthew Becklo
Yes, ‘The Chosen’ is that good—and just keeps getting...
SAINT Januarius
J-P Mauro
Watch the blood of St. Januarius liquefy in May 2021
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.