Senior Vatican prelate tells Cork Mass of 'culture of death'

Taoiseach, Government ‘have failed to engage’ with key issues says Catholic bishop

A senior Vatican prelate, Irish-American Cardinal Raymond Burke, advised Mass-goers in Cork yesterday not to be discouraged from living "faithful Christian lives in a society marked by the culture of death".

The prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura, effectively its Supreme Court, said "more and more, we witness the violation of the most fundamental norms of divine natural law, written upon every human heart by God, in the policies and laws of nations, and in the judgments given by their courts".

'Evil fruits'
In a sermon marking the sixth Fota international liturgical conference at a High Mass in the church of Saints Peter and Paul, he said: "We see before our eyes the evil fruits of a society which pretends to take the place of God in making its laws and in giving its judgments, of a society in which those in power decide what is right and just, according to their desires and convenience, even at the cost of perpetrating mortal harm upon their innocent and defenceless neighbours."

It was, he said, “a society which has abandoned its Judeo-Christian foundations, and above all, the fundamental obedience to God’s law which safeguards the good of all. It is a society which embraces a totalitarianism masking itself as the ‘hope,’ the ‘future’, of a nation”.

Meanwhile, Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor has said the Taoiseach and Government have “dealt a fatal blow to the legitimacy of the political and legislative process” and “disenfranchised massive numbers of citizens of the Republic” through their handling of debate on abortion legislation.


Papal nuncio to Ireland Archbishop Charles Brown pointed out yesterday that "the teaching of the Catholic Church is very clear; a person "has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. 'He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience' . . ." He noted too that Ireland's Constitution "explicitly states that freedom of conscience is guaranteed to every citizen".

Speaking yesterday at a ceremony in Co Down, Bishop Treanor hailed “the courage of those TDs, men and women, in Dáil Éireann who refuse to bend to weavers of party political mantras, who recognise that the Taoiseach and the Government have failed to engage with key and substantive issues raised in reasoned comment on both grounds of pure reason as well as on grounds linking human reason and Christian faith”.

He added, “this failure has seriously impoverished the quality of the public and political debate. It has dealt a fatal blow to the legitimacy of the political and legislative process. It has, I believe, disenfranchised massive numbers of citizens of the Republic.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times