Bishop wants last rites seen as ‘emergency service’

Flowers and a balloon outside the church where Sir David Amess was stabbed while meeting constituents on October 15 (CNS/Andrew Couldridge, Reuters)

An English bishop yesterday called for greater recognition of the last rites as an “emergency service” in the wake of the killing of British MP Sir David Amess. Source: CNA.

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury in western England made the appeal after police reportedly turned away a priest who sought to administer the last rites to the Catholic MP at the scene of the attack in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

“Every Catholic Christian hopes to receive the Sacraments and be accompanied by the prayer of the Church in the final crisis of our lives,” Bishop Davies said.

“This is something well understood in hospitals and care homes, yet the events following the murderous assault on Sir David Amess suggest this is not always comprehended in emergency situations.”

Fr Jeff Woolnough, the pastor of St Peter’s Catholic Church, Eastwood, went to Belfairs Methodist Church on October 15 after he heard that Sir David had been stabbed during a meeting with constituents.

According to reports, a police officer outside the church relayed his request to enter the building, but the priest was not permitted to enter. He prayed the Rosary outside the police cordon instead.

Paramedics attended to Sir David, who was stabbed multiple times, for more than two-and-a-half hours before an air ambulance arrived to take him to a hospital, the BBC reported.

In response to inquiries, Essex Police stressed that it was “of the utmost importance that we preserve the integrity of a crime scene and allow emergency services to tend to those in need.”

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Catholic MP Mike Kane suggested that lawmakers pass an “Amess amendment” guaranteeing priests access to those requiring last rites.


Sir David Amess death: Catholic bishop calls for last rites to be recognized as ‘emergency service’ (CNA

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