Bishops to Establish New Council for Life
The Catholic Bishops of Ireland have decided to establish a new “Council for Life”, which will be up and running by next March. The move is a response to the “new situation” which exists following the repeal of the 8th Amendment.
Announcing the decision, the Bishops said that, “[i]t is essential for us as a Church which cares passionately about the gift of life, and wants to support both mothers and their unborn children, to seek better ways of responding to this new and very challenging reality.”
The role of the new Council for Life will be “to advise and advocate for the Catholic Church in Ireland on a consistent ethic of life and care for those most at risk.” In preparation for the establishment of this Council, the bishops intend to consult with those “already committed to, and engaged with, upholding the sanctity of life in Ireland.”
The Bishops expressed support for the conscience rights of those who may come under pressure to involve themselves in abortion. “For healthcare professionals, the right of conscientious objection must be respected. It would be a great injustice to require doctors and nurses to participate, even by referral, in the provision of services which would be a serious violation of their conscience. This would only be ‘a way of pretending to respect freedom of conscience while actually requiring one person to cooperate in what he or she sincerely believes is the wrong-doing of another. Such a presumption is at variance with the right to conscientious objection’ (cf. Code of Ethical Standards for Healthcare, Dublin: Veritas, 2018, 8.19).”
The Bishops encouraged politicians who courageously defended the right to life of the unborn child before the referendum to continue to do so as a matter of principle.
The Bishops have also announced that Cura, the pregnancy counselling agency, has decided to wind down and close its services.
“Since its establishment in 1977, Cura staff and volunteers have undertaken important work through its national help-line, counselling and information services, to assist women facing crisis pregnancies in an oftentimes judgemental and unforgiving social environment.”
The Bishops praised the pro-life contribution of Cura staff, volunteers and clients over its 41 years of operation. They expressed regret that Cura has been compelled to close due to the decrease in demand for its services and the accreditation requirements associated with the new regulatory environment for counselling.
Irish Episcopal Conference. June 13.