On Sunday 7th September, Labour MP Jim Dobbin died while on a trip to Poland with the Council of Europe. The committed Catholic, Mr Dobbins became a Member of Parliament for the Heywood and Middleton constituency in 1997. He chaired the all-party Pro Life Group and was a staunch supporter of pro-life issues.
Following his death, Cardinal Vincent and Archbishop Peter Smith, Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference and Archbishop of Southwark, released statements about the late MP.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops Conference:
On behalf of the Catholic community, I express profound sorrow at the unexpected death of Jim Dobbin MP on his recent trip to Poland. I share with many a deep sense of loss at his death. First thoughts are with his widow and family. I assure Mrs Pat Dobbin of my prayers for her beloved husband and, of course, for her and her family at this time of loss. I pray that the precious gift of faith in the promises of Jesus will strengthen and sustain her in the sure hope of God's merciful welcome for Jim and his eternal rest in the presence of his living Lord.
Jim Dobbin has been a stalwart servant of this country throughout his long life, especially in his Parliamentary career. His service was particularly robust and persevering in matters concerning the fundamental dignity of every human life, from the moment of conception to its natural end. This is the most radical service than can be given, for once that fundamental respect for human life is lost, then society is dramatically weakened and the vulnerable put into real danger.
We salute Jim's sterling work and thank God for the consistent witness he gave. In the phrase of Pope Francis, Jim was truly a missionary disciple in this land. May he rest in peace as he awaits the final resurrection of all things in the Lord.
Archbishop Peter Smith:
I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the sudden death of Jim Dobbin MP. My prayers, along with those of so many others, are with his wife Pat and his family. Jim was a man of deep faith and great courage. He was totally committed to his family, to his Catholic faith, and to his vocation in politics and public life.
Jim was a prominent Catholic MP, and I had the privilege of knowing him well in recent years. At a time when taking a public stand on life issues, especially abortion, was particularly hard, he was always courageous and steadfast in standing up for what he believed to be right, and he did this for very many years against an often a harsh and wintry prevailing climate of opinion.
Because of his manifest integrity and the respect and courtesy he always showed others, I know he came to be highly respected on all sides of the House of Commons. He was an exemplary servant of both his faith and his country. He is a great loss to Parliament, constituency, party and, of course, the Church.
May he rest in peace.