Primate Urges Catholics to Oppose Abortion


The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has said that Catholics should speak out in defence of the right to life of the unborn in advance of a referendum on the 8th Amendment. In a pastoral letter for the New Year, Archbishop Eamon Martin reminded Catholics that they have the right to make their views known to their elected representatives.


“All human life is sacred. All human life is precious. This is why the direct and intentional taking of innocent human life is always gravely wrong,” the archbishop wrote. He warned that in the name of “modernising healthcare”, the Oireachtas abortion committee proposes “a very liberal abortion regime, including unrestricted access to abortion up to twelve weeks, and, thereafter during pregnancy, very broad grounds for abortion and access to abortion.”


Archbishop Martin defended Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution – the eighth amendment – which “gives an undertaking to respect, defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child.”


“Article 40.3.3 is a declaration of equality and respect for human life – it represents, at the very foundations and substructure of our laws, a conviction that all human life is equally worth cherishing.  To repeal this Article will leave unborn children defenceless, and completely at the mercy of whatever abortion laws are introduced in Ireland – both immediately, and as will inevitably be further broadened in future years.”


The archbishop warned that Ireland risked going down the road of other European countries, such as Britain and Sweden, where abortion has become commonplace. He also called for more support for women facing crisis pregnancies.” Our ambition as a people should be to guarantee genuine care for pregnant mothers, encourage responsible support from fathers, and to truly cherish all children equally.”


“We should focus our energies and resources on making Ireland the most welcoming country in the world for a woman and her baby in the womb.  Our doctors, nurses, midwives and other care professionals have already helped to earn Ireland’s place as one of the safest countries in the world for mothers and their babies during pregnancy.  Ireland now has an opportunity to give even stronger witness that: we value all life equally; we care for the weakest and smallest, the strongest and healthiest, the youngest, the oldest, and the whole wonderful and beautiful spectrum of life in-between.”


Archbishop Martin exhorted Catholics to speak to their families, friends and colleagues “about cherishing the precious gift of life at all times from conception to natural death.”  “Speak the truth about life, and speak it with love,” he urged them. “Despite the strong pressures to remain silent, do not be afraid to witness to the equality of all life in private conversations and public discussions in the coming months. As citizens committed to the Common Good, you have a democratic right to make your views known, respectfully, to our public representatives.”

Irish Episcopal Conference. January 6.

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