Bishop says repeal will leave unborn more vulnerable than wildlife

Eighth Amendment does not tie hands of doctors, parishioners in Cork told

‘Compassion is not one sided,’ Bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley said. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Compassion is not one sided,’ Bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley said. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill


Ireland will end up providing greater protection to various forms of wildlife than to the unborn child in the womb if the Eighth Amendment is repealed, a Catholic bishop has told Mass-goers.

The Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley said if the amendments was repealed “the unborn baby will be left with no protection whatsoever.

“It is remarkable that the State, which, under the Wildlife Act, has so many legal protections for non-human life, is trying to remove the most basic right of the child in the womb.”

Bishop Buckley said that humanity of the unborn and the inhumanity of abortion were rarely mentioned in political debates in advance of the referendum but both should be recognised and acknowledged.

“We cannot now deny, in 2018, that the baby in the womb is alive, vulnerable and an innocent baby whose safety is in our hands. Many fathers and mothers have seen the amazing ultrasound pictures of their children. The baby’s heart starts beating at 21 days after conception,” he said.

“It is often said that those who support life are not compassionate. Compassion is not one sided. Compassion for the mother is vital but we must also extend our compassion to the child in the womb. There is no semblance of compassion involved in ending the life of the innocent child.”

In a pastoral message read out at all Masses in the 68 parishes of the diocese which covers Cork city and most of West Cork and has a Catholic population of 280,000, Bishop Buckley said the Eighth Amendment had never prevented a woman getting the appropriate medical treatment.

Quoting Pope Francis, the bishop said the Catholic Church had always taught that abortion was gravely wrong and was not compatible with people’s Catholic faith, and if people vote Yes on May 25th, they were actually voting for abortion.

This view has been contested by other figures in the church, with Fr Brian D’Arcy stating on Saturday that “we cannot judge” women who decide to have an abortion in difficult circumstances.

“Whatever way you vote if you vote with your conscience then that’s fine with God,” the priest said.

“ I hold by the Catholic Church’s teaching and I respect somebody who has a different view.”