CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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Voters in Ireland pave way for abortion on demand

DUBLIN (CNS): Following the May 25 Irish referendum in which voters opted to remove the Eighth Amendment to the country’s constitution—which protects the rights of both the pregnant woman and the unborn child—Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, insisted that “the Irish Church after the referendum must renew its commitment to support life.”
 
In a homily at a Mass during a diaconate ordination at the national seminary in Maynooth, County Kildare, the archbishop insisted that the Church is called to be pro-life “not just in words and statements and manifestoes, but to be pro-life in deeds, by being a Church which reflects the loving care of Jesus for human life at any stage.”
 
He said, “That loving care includes support to help those women who face enormous challenges and who grapple with very difficult decisions to choose life.” 
 
Archbishop Martin said, “The challenge of witnessing to Jesus Christ in today’s world is not an easy one. Many will see the results of Friday’s referendum as an indication that the Catholic Church in Ireland is regarded today by many with indifference and as having a marginal role in the formation of Irish culture.”
 
Results from the nationwide referendum showed that 66.4 per cent of opted to remove from the constitution, while 33.6 per cent voted to retain it. Turnout was 64.5 per cent.
 
Voters was first inserted the Eighth Amendment in 1983 by a margin of 2-1. It “acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
 
The text will now be replaced with an article stating that “provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”
 
Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick, told Massgoers on May 26 that the result “is deeply regrettable and chilling for those of us who voted ‘no’.”
 
He said “It is a vote, of course, that does not change our position. Our message is one of love: love for all, love for life, for those with us today, for those in the womb.” 
 
Referring to Pope Francis’ upcoming August 25 to 26 visit, Bishop Leahy said: “ I cannot think of his visit being more timely: to come here and remind us of the importance of family, of the love we have of family, of the reality that, yes, families get bruised sometimes, but they should never be broken.”
 
Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has said he would introduce legislation that would allow abortion on demand up to 12 weeks, up to 24 weeks on unspecified grounds for the health of the mother, and up to birth where the child is diagnosed with a life-limiting condition that means he or she may not live long after birth.
 
John McGuirk, spokesperson for Save the Eighth, which campaigned for a “no” vote, described the outcome as “a tragedy of historic proportions.”
 
“The Eighth Amendment did not create a right to life for the unborn child—it merely acknowledged that such a right exists, has always existed and will always exist,” he said, insisting that “a wrong does not become right simply because a majority support it.”
 
McGuirk noted: “Shortly, legislation will be introduced that will allow babies to be killed in our country. We will oppose that legislation. If and when abortion clinics are opened in Ireland, because of the inability of the government to keep their promise about a (general-practitioner-led health) service, we will oppose that as well.”
 
He stressed, “Abortion was wrong yesterday. It remains wrong today. The constitution has changed, but the facts have not.” 
 
Ruth Cullen of the LoveBoth campaign insisted that the organisation will try to ensure that the Irish taoiseach (prime minister), Leo Varadkar, is true to his pledge that the government will work to ensure that abortions are rare.
 
“We will hold the Taoiseach to his promise that repeal would only lead to abortion in very restrictive circumstances. He gave his word on this, now he must deliver on it. No doubt many people voted for repeal based on the Taoiseach’s promises in this regard,” she said.
 
“The campaign to protect unborn babies will endure,” she said.

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