Papal Nuncio says faith must influence political choices in abortion debate

Archbishop of Dublin believes Catholic Church not always good at presenting its message

Archbishop Charles Brown, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson /Irish Times

Archbishop Charles Brown, the Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson /Irish Times

 

Irish people must never be afraid to allow their faith influence and shape political choices, especially on basic human values such as the right to life, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown said today.

Archbishop Brown, who was addressing the Corpus Christi procession in Cork, said that in calling for a year of faith Pope Emeritus, Benedict, had written about the necessity of witnessing faith in a public way.

“A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him,” Benedict wrote.

Archbishop Brown added: “Our eucharistic procession today helps to remind us of the public dimension of our Catholic faith,’’ he added. “Let us stand with the Lord of life and promote his gospel of life in our society.’’

Archbishop Brown said everybody had their own petitions which they brought to the Lord in prayer. “But allow me to ask you to pray to the Lord for a special intention today, that He will keep Ireland a pro-life country where mothers and their unborn children are safe and protected.”

Speaking yesterday in Knock, Co Mayo, Archbishop of Tuam Dr Michael Neary said many of the values which for so long proved to be the foundation of Irish society were now presented as old fashioned and outmoded. “The sacredness of unborn life is one of them,’’ he added.

Dr Neary said the pro-life issue was not a question of politics and some, in an attempt to confuse, presented concerns about the proposed abortion legislation in a simplistic and superficial way as Church versus State.

“It is about our shared commitment as citizens and as human beings to a fundamental and universal value: that the direct and intentional killing of an innocent person can never be justified,’’ he added.

“The right to life is such an inviolable right that no individual and no State may ever modify or destroy it.’’

Dr Neary said the current heads of the abortion Bill provided no additional clarity for doctors about the medical conditions in which they could intervene to save the life of a mother.

“Instead, they envisage new laws that will permit the deliberate and intentional destruction of the life of the unborn baby, potentially up to and including the moment of birth,’’ he added.

Speaking on Friday at St Aidan’s cathedral, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin said the Church was not always good at presenting its message in the right way. While he was not suggesting the solution was to be found in better media management or spin doctoring, the Church was still better at teaching what was wrong than winning men and women for the beauty of Christ’s teaching.

“In many discussions around the current abortion debates something has gone wrong - with us and with the media - if the front page story turns out only to be about excluding and excommunicating,’’ Dr Martin added.

“That is not what is central to the Church’s teaching and witness.’’

A large turnout is expected at a “national vigil for life’’ rally in Merrion Square, Dublin, next Saturday, organised by anti-abortion campaigners.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Sean Brady has welcomed Ireland’s participation in yesterday’s worldwide eucharistic adoration.

He said Pope Francis’s proposal to hold the event was a wonderful idea.

“Adoration of the eucharist reminds us of the importance of the sacrament of the eucharist in our faith, a faith which will lead us to bring the message to our homes, families, communities and the world,’’ he added.