Bishops repeat claim that Government is misleading people on abortion Bill

All parishes being circulated with the Church’s Choose Life leaflet

Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, (right) and Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick speaking during a press conference in Maynooth, Co Kildare earlier this week where they accused the Government of misleading the people on the abortion legislation.  Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin, (right) and Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick speaking during a press conference in Maynooth, Co Kildare earlier this week where they accused the Government of misleading the people on the abortion legislation. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Fri, Jun 14, 2013, 13:07

Every Catholic parish in the State is again being circulated this weekend by the Church’s bishops with a ‘Choose Life’ leaflet urging people to contact public representatives to oppose Government legislation on abortion.

It is the fourth of 10 such weekly leaflets the bishops plan to circulate.

Parishes are being advised that the leaflet “is for your parishioners, parish newsletters and websites to assist in promoting the Church’s position on the sanctity of unborn human life”.

This week’s leaflet repeats the Catholic bishops’ assertion in their statement on Tuesday that people are being “misled” by the Government on the proposed legislation and that it is under “no obligation to legislate for the X case.”

They also challenge “repeated statements that this legislation is about saving lives and involves no change to the law or practice on abortion”, as repeated by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil last Wednesday, and say “legalising the direct and intentional destruction of the life of an unborn baby can never be described as ‘life-saving’ or ‘pro-life’.”

Under the heading A Time to Uphold the Right to Life the bishops say “we are at a defining moment for our country”.

They continue “the right to life is the most fundamental of all rights; it is the foundation of all other rights. No individual has the right to destroy life and no State has the right to undermine the right to life.”

They say the Government is proposing abortion legislation that will “fundamentally change the culture of medical practice in Ireland”.

They say that “for the first time, legislation will be enacted permitting the deliberate and intentional killing of an unborn child. This represents a radical change. Every citizen, not just people of faith, should be deeply concerned.”

They urge citizens “to exercise their right to make their views known - respectfully - to our public representatives.”

An accompanying ‘Prayer for the Child in the Womb’ includes the line “help those who make our laws to uphold the uniqueness and sacredness of every human life, from the first moment of conception to natural death.”

An accompanying quote from Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary states that “the Church feels duty -bound to speak out with courage on behalf of those who have no voice.” Another, from Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy, points out that “cherishing of mothers and babies is a noble cause. It is not limited to the impact of this or that political move. It is a continuing call from the Gospel’s logic of love, the love that is mutual.”