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A bishop awaits Pope Francis in the Vatican this week Gregorio Borgia/AP/Press Association Images

Catholic TDs "will not be excommunicated" if they vote for abortion legislation

A senior Vatican official has said that TDs should resign rather than support abortion legislation.

A LEADING CATHOLIC commentator has said that Irish TDs should not fear losing the party whip in a vote on abortion legislation- and will not face excommunication from the Catholic Church if they vote in favour.

David Quinn was speaking after a senior Vatican official told the Irish Catholic newspaper that Catholic TDs should resign rather than vote to legalise abortion.

Monsignor Jacques Suaudeau, the scientific director of the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican, told the newspaper that Catholic politicians who support the legislation were “pushing themselves out of the Church”.

If you are faithful to your conviction, then you have to get out.

However, Quinn didn’t necessarily agree with that stance, saying that it was up to individual TDs to vote against the legislation, whatever the consequences.

“It is not a question of resignation. All pro-life TDs, not just Catholic TDs,  should be unafraid to vote against the legislation and if that means losing the party whip, then so be it.”

Quinn, who himself is a contributor to the paper, said that there were “two whips, in a way; fear of losing the political whip and fear of distancing yourself from the church”, though he added that excommunication from the Church was “not going to happen” to TDs who voted for the legislation.

“All politicians, the same as any member of society, is obliged to follow their conscience, irrespective of the consequences.

“We all have a moral obligation to do that.”

Already, senior members of the Catholic Church have criticised the Irish Government for their stance on abortion, with Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley boycotting a commencement speech by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Boston College. Cardinal O’Malley accused the Taoiseach of ‘aggresively promoting abortion legislation’.

Poll: Should TDs get a free vote on the abortion legislation?

Read: TDs to support abortion amendment to provide for medical terminations

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