Protections for unborn 'not undermined' by treaty

 

CATHOLIC VOTE:THE TREATY of Lisbon “does not undermine existing legal protections in Ireland for unborn children,” the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference has said.

In a statement issued last night they also said they wished “to make it clear that a Catholic can, in good conscience, vote Yes or No” in the forthcoming referendum.

They warned “any material which misinforms voters is an interference with the exercise of a fundamental right and has no place in church buildings or grounds”.

The standing committee of the Irish Bishops Conference said “the Lisbon Treaty is of the greatest importance, not only for us here in Ireland but also for the future shape of the European project.”

They continued that “while we do not seek to align ourselves with either side of the referendum debate, we wish to make it clear that a Catholic can, in good conscience, vote Yes or No” and urged “all Christians to consider carefully the contents of the Treaty.”

They stressed “the responsibility on all of us to vote and to do so with regard not just for our own personal or group interest, but for the good of every citizen and the whole community.”

They said that “the European Union is not just a common market; it must be a community of values. Values matter. We call on our elected representatives at home and in Europe to promote and ensure respect for the values on which European civilisation and culture have been built, values such as the fundamental right to life and protection of the weakest in our society.

“The Treaty of Lisbon does not undermine existing legal protections in Ireland for unborn children. It remains our responsibility, as citizens of Ireland and as citizens of the European Union, to promote vigorously the ‘Gospel of Life’ as described by Pope John Paul II in the encyclical Evangelium Vitae.

“As citizens of Ireland we have a responsibility to make our voices heard about the kind of Europe in which we wish to live. It would not be the first time that Ireland has played such a role. The very nature of the EU calls for a pooling of sovereignty in specific areas. The common good could be strengthened by a sharing of sovereignty in this context, although it must not be allowed to weaken the principle of ‘subsidiarity’ which is an intrinsic component of the whole European project,” they said.

They concluded “the right of people to exercise their vote freely is of fundamental importance. Last year we condemned the introduction of misleading, incorrect or irrelevant elements into the debate.

“Any material which misinforms voters is an interference with the exercise of a fundamental right and has no place in church buildings or grounds.”

Cori, the Conference of Religious of Ireland, has repeated that it has “absolutely no association or connection whatsoever with the organisation Cóir who are campaigning on the Lisbon Treaty”. In a statement yesterday they said “we already issued a statement on this matter in early September but we were recently made aware of the ongoing wrongful association of Cóir with Cori by some people.”