Support the Amess Amendment

Priests are an emergency service

 

Support the Amess Amendment

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11,178 people have signed. Help us reach 20,000 signatures.

Support the Amess Amendment

The brutal murder of Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP for Southend West, has reverberated across the world. This appalling act was an attack on Western values of democracy and freedom.

One disturbing detail emerging from this tragedy was the news that Sir David, a devout Catholic, was denied the comfort of a Catholic priest as he lay dying. 


On hearing the news that Sir David had been stabbed, the local parish priest Father Jeff Woolnough hastily gathered up his stole and holy oils and rushed down the road to offer spiritual comfort to the MP, who was also his friend, but was refused permission to enter the cordon by the police officer on duty. 


The police have subsequently explained this decision as being necessary in order to preserve the crime scene and to restrict access to allow for the emergency services. The response has not acknowledged the important comfort and healing that the presence of a priest may bring to the victims and their families in such terrible situations.

For Catholics, the Last Rites are seen as a crucial emergency service and a person should never be willfully deprived of the opportunity to receive the final sacraments, unless there is a compelling reason, such as serious risk to the safety of others.

This clearly did not apply in the case of Sir David, as the assailant had already been apprehended, there were several witnesses and it would have been very simple to eliminate the priest’s DNA from any investigation.

Being able to both administer and receive the Last Rites is an issue of fundamental religious freedom. Experienced priests are able to administer the sacrament in such a way that it does not obstruct medics.

The  ‘Amess Amendment’ has now been introduced into the House of Lords  to add to the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill, and this  would allow entry to a crime scene to ministers of religion in order to perform religious rituals or prayer associated with dying.

Sign the petition calling on the CEO of the Royal College of Policing, the Home Secretary and the Minister for Crime and Policing  to respect the needs of religious minorities and support the Amess Amendment. 


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Support the Amess Amendment

To the Head of the College of Policing, the Home Secretary and the Minister for Crime and policing.

I would like to express my dismay that a Catholic priest was denied access to give Sir David Amess the Last Rites when he was fatally injured by an assailant at his surgery in Southend West

While I appreciate that the officers who attend stressful situations such as these are under a lot of pressure, it is clear from the response by Essex police to this incident, that police either do not understand or are ignoring the needs of religious minority communities as being of secondary importance to maintaining the integrity of the crime scene and allowing access to emergency services.

For many religious minorities, especially Catholics, priests and ministers are as essential to their wellbeing as emergency services and should, where it is safe to do so, be treated as such. In the case of Sir David Amess where the suspect had already been apprehended, the decision not to allow him to tend to his dying friend seems to have prioritised process and procedure over the victim’s actual needs.

As a devout Catholic Sir David would have been comforted by the presence of a priest, which would also have given great solace to his family.

Please give your support to the Amess Amendment and guarantee the religious rights of the dying. 

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

Support the Amess Amendment

Sign this petition now!

020,000
  11,178
 
11,178 people have signed. Help us reach 20,000 signatures.