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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 22 December, 2014

Bishops call for political campaign against proposed new abortion law

Ireland’s Catholic bishops say the proposed abortion bill marks a “dramatic and morally unacceptable change” in Irish law.

Cardinal Seán Brady said bishops had not discussed whether pro-choice politicians should receive Communion at not.
Cardinal Seán Brady said bishops had not discussed whether pro-choice politicians should receive Communion at not.
Image: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND’S CATHOLIC BISHOPS have called on members of the public to lobby politicians against passing the the Government’s draft proposals to legislate for abortion in some circumstances.

The bishops said the legislation would legalise the “direct and intentional killing of unborn children” – and claimed it was “essential” that anyone who felt similarly to contact TDs and Senators.

“We encourage a deeper understanding of the inviolability of the right to life of both a mother and her unborn child, in all circumstances,” they said in a statement this lunchtime.

“Accordingly, at this crucial time, it is essential that all who share these beliefs make them clear to their legislators,” they said.

The Bishops described the draft heads of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill, published earlier this week, as “a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law”.

They also shared their belief that the Bill was “unnecessary to ensure that women receive the life-saving treatment they need during pregnancy,” they said.

Concerns of compromise for Catholic ethos in hospitals

They further raised concerns that the Bill would impose a procedure on hospitals which held a Catholic ethos – which was tantamount to a denial of fundamental freedom to profess a religion.

“This would be totally unacceptable and has serious implications for the existing legal and Constitutional arrangements that respect the legitimate autonomy and religious ethos of faith-basis institutions,” they said.

Describing the deliberate decision “to deprive an innocent human being of life” as “always morally wrong”, the bishops called on those who shared their beliefs to attend a Vigil for Life in Knock tomorrow afternoon.

“Cherish both mother and baby! Choose life!” their statement ended.

The primate of All-Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, this afternoon added that the Irish bishops had not yet discussed the topic of whether legislators favouring the legislation should be permitted to receive Communion at Mass.

Similar calls have been made in the past in the United States, but Brady said there was “a great reluctance to politicise the Eucharist” in Ireland for the time being.

“Hopefully the same result [...] could be achieved by dialogue or discussion,” he told RTÉ’s News at One.

He said politicians had “an obligation to oppose the laws that are attacking something so fundamental as the right to life.

“They would have to form their own conscience then,” he added.”

Read: ‘Professional experts’ only to be called for hearings on abortion bill

More: No decision from Fianna Fáil on abortion vote

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