Bishops’ statement on proposed abortion legislation
Preliminary response by the Catholic Bishops of Ireland to Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013
The Catholic bishops of Ireland stress once again the importance of continuing to provide a health care service in Ireland which ensures complete respect for the sacredness of the life both of the mother and her unborn baby. The bishops express their appreciation of the work carried out day by day in this ethos by doctors, nurses, midwives and other health personnel. Through Cura, the Church’s crisis pregnancy agency, help is available to any woman facing a crisis pregnancy.
The Heads of the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 published by the Government on Wednesday would, if approved, make the direct and intentional killing of unborn children lawful in Ireland. The Bill as outlined represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law and is unnecessary to ensure that women receive the life-saving treatment they need during pregnancy.
The Gospel of Life is at the heart of the message of Jesus; the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong. We uphold the right to life as the foundation of every other human right. We encourage a deeper understanding of the inviolability of the right to life of both a mother and her unborn child, in all circumstances. Accordingly, at this crucial time, it is essential that all who share these beliefs make them clear to their legislators.
The Bill also appears to impose a duty on Catholic hospitals to provide abortions. This would be totally unacceptable and has serious implications for the existing legal and Constitutional arrangements that respect the legitimate autonomy and religious ethos of faith-based institutions. It would also pose serious difficulties for the conscientious beliefs of many citizens.
Abortion, in the sense of directly killing the unborn child, is never a remedy for suicidal ideation and therefore should never be cited as a justification for the direct killing of an innocent human being. It is a tragic moment for Irish society when we regard the deliberate destruction of a completely innocent person as an acceptable response to the threat of the preventable death of another person.
We invite all who cherish human life to support the Vigil for Life which is taking place in Knock tomorrow - see below. We encourage everyone who can attend the Vigil to do so or to join in prayer with us. Cherish both mother and baby! Choose life!
Special national Vigil of Prayer for Mothers and their Unborn Babies to take place in Knock
· Mass in the Basilica will be live streamed on www.knock-shrine.ie
Tomorrow Saturday 4 May will see a national Vigil of Prayer for Mothers and their Unborn Babies taking place at Our Lady’s Shrine in Knock, Co Mayo. The theme of this Vigil will be ‘Choose Life: We Cherish Them Both’ and it is supported by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
This special liturgical event will begin at 1:00pm with a Rosary Procession and will conclude with Mass in the Basilica at 3.00pm. The main celebrant for the Mass will be Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, and the homilist will be Bishop Brendan Leahy, Bishop of Limerick. A blessing for expectant mothers who are present will be given during the Mass.
Parishioners from around the country have been invited to attend the Rosary and Mass. For further details on the ‘Choose Life: We Cherish Them Both’ national Vigil of prayer, pilgrims can view the pro-life website www.chooselife2013.ie which contains personal video testimonies and special prayers dedicated to protecting the unborn. The attached mother and baby image and flyer content can be used for publication.