Taoiseach not making sense, according to senior Cardinal at Vatican
Poll shows 86 per cent favour referendum on abortion
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, who told this week’s Irish Catholic newspaper: “One cannot, as a Catholic politician, excuse oneself from the question of abortion by claiming one should not bring one’s Catholicism into the political realm.” Photograph: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images
A senior member of the Roman Curia has said Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s description of himself as a Taoiseach who happens to be a Catholic, but not a Catholic Taoiseach, “does not make any sense”.
Irish-American Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, effectively its Supreme Court, said: “One cannot, as a Catholic politician, excuse oneself from the question of abortion by claiming one should not bring one’s Catholicism into the political realm.”
He said: “Of course, the church does teach that abortion is evil, but the evil of abortion can also be known by human reason. The natural law is to do good and avoid evil and the first prerequisite is to safeguard and promote human life. The distinction made in the [Taoiseach’s] statement . . . therefore does not make any sense.”
He added: “If the natural law is not upheld, people enter a culture of death which, when it becomes prevalent, destroys the people.”
‘Hungering for leadership’
Cardinal Burke said: “I was raised in an Irish Catholic family which had a keen sense of the moral law. I go back to Ireland regularly and there are many wonderful people in Ireland hungering for leadership.”
He was interviewed in this week’s Irish Catholic. In an interview with the Catholic Voice published last February, the cardinal said priests should exclude from receiving communion politicians who support abortion.
Asked for his views on the death of Savita Halappanavar, he said: “The death of Savita Halappanavar is indeed tragic. It is, however, contrary to right reason to hold that an innocent and defenceless human life can be justifiably destroyed in order to save the life of the mother.
“The Irish people, and especially the Irish Government, should be very alert to the kind of argumentation which will be used by the secular media and by secular ideologues, in general, claiming that the destruction of the new human life in her womb could have saved the life of Savita Halappanavar and, therefore, would have been justified. Such an argument is absurd in itself. Even though, if the reports are correct, Savita Halappanavar requested an abortion, her request would not have made it right for the law to permit such an act which is always and everywhere wrong.”
This week’s Irish Catholic also carries the results of a poll conducted last month which found that 86 per cent of those surveyed believed “the decision to introduce abortion” should be put to a referendum rather than be left to the Oireachtas and that the same number believed “politicians should be allowed a free vote” on the issue.
The poll was conducted by Amárach Consulting on behalf of the anti-abortion Family & Life group.