Church makes last-minute appeal to TDs over 'immoral' Bill
Archbishop Eamon Martin says issue of excommunication is a distraction
Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin who said voting to pomote abortion cannot be reconciled with the Catholic faith. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
The Catholic Church is engaged in a final round of contacts with TDs urging them to vote against the abortion Bill in tonight’s critical vote
Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin said the church was making the last-minute appeal because of the enormity of what is at stake.
“The unborn child is an actual human person and this Bill will make it permissible, legally, for the killing of an unborn child or the permanent disablement of an unborn child, even though we are told that this is totally unnecessary and that there is a better way of caring for women. Women can children deserve better,” he said this morning.
Archbishop Martin repeated the church’s stance that people were being misled on the Bill and criticised its “very wide and selective interpretation of the risk to life”.
Responding to a questions about the legal clarity that the Bill provides for medical professionals Archbishop Martin said the new legislation would actually place doctors in a very difficult position.
He admitted the scandal of child abuse by Catholic priests and how it had been dealt with by senior members of the church had “in the eyes of many people, eroded our credibility” and admitted that some people were “less likely to listen” due to this background.
However, despite this, Archbishop Martin said it was important for the church to speak out and added that “I feel personally a huge obligation to be speaking out against this”.
He said if the Bill was passed “the deliberate and intentional killing of an unborn child” would be permissible in this country, he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
Asked about the possible excommunication of TDs who vote favour of the Bill Mr Archbishop said this was rare and in this instance a distraction.
“Knowingly and willingly and intentionally voting to promote abortion is co-operation in evil and can’t be reconciled with your faith.”
Archbishop Martin added he found it “really weird” that TDs are being told they cannot vote with their conscience and that they are in danger of being excluded from the party when the Constitution provides for freedom of belief.