Irish Archbishops: response to government abortion decision
(Vatican Radio) The four Catholic Archbishops of Ireland: Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop
of Armagh; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin; Archbishop Dermot Clifford,
Archbishop of Cashel & Emly; and Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, have
issued a response to the decision on Tuesday by the Government to legislate for abortion.
their statement, the Archbishops said the decision “should be of utmost concern for
all.” They said that, if adopted, the government’s proposal will fundamentally change
“the careful balance between the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child.”
John McAreavy spoke to Vatican Radio about the Archbishops' response. “The Bishops
see this as a hugely significant change in Irish law, and see it as something which
would weaken respect for life, and indeed endanger life and create a new culture in
medical practice and medical care in relation to the unborn child in Ireland.”
McAreavy said “Ireland obviously is a country, with a very deep and proud Catholic
tradition. The strength of that tradition today, particularly when it comes to the
protection of the life of the unborn remains to be tested.”
In the present
controversy, he said, “The Irish bishops and pro-life people in Ireland are committed
to arguing their case forcefully and strongly and logically and respectfully. And
I hope that as a result of this that it will have some effect.”
to the full interview of Bishop John McAreavy with Christopher Wells:
please find the full text of the Archbishops’ statement:
by the Irish Government to legislate for abortion should be of the utmost concern
If what is being proposed were to become law, the careful balance
between the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child in current law and
medical practice in Ireland would be fundamentally changed. It would pave the way
for the direct and intentional killing of unborn children. This can never be morally
justified in any circumstances.
The decision of the Supreme Court in the ‘X’
case unilaterally overturned the clear pro-life intention of the people of Ireland
as expressed in Article 40.3.3 of our Constitution. To legislate on the basis of such
a flawed judgement would be both tragic and unnecessary.
The dignity of the
human person and the common good of humanity depend on our respect for the right to
life of every person from the moment of conception to natural death. The right to
life is the most fundamental of all rights. It is the very basis for every other right
we enjoy as persons.
The lives of untold numbers of unborn children in this
State now depend on the choices that will be made by our public representatives. The
unavoidable choice that now faces all our public representatives is: will I chose
to defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb
in all circumstances, or will I chose to licence the direct and intentional killing
of the innocent baby in the womb?
Moreover, on a decision of such fundamental
moral importance every public representative is entitled to complete respect for the
freedom of conscience. No one has the right to force or coerce someone to act against
their conscience. Respect for this right is the very foundation of a free, civilised
and democratic society.
All involved, especially public representatives, must
consider the profound moral questions that arise in responding to today’s announcement
by the Government. We encourage all to pray that our public representatives will be
given the wisdom and courage to do what is right.