Arch­bishop’s call:

Martin says re­peal would be ‘a rad­i­cal change to our broad pro-life cul­ture’

The Irish Times - - Front Page - PATSY McGARRY Reli­gious Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

Christians must be pro-life Arch­bishop Diar­muid Martin has said:

Christians must be pro-life when it comes to the un­born and those who are vul­ner­a­ble at the end of their lives, Catholic Arch­bishop of Dublin Diar­muid Martin has said.

Re­fer­ring to the ref­er­en­dum on May 25th, he said “it seems in­con­gru­ous that just as med­i­cal science al­lows us to un­der­stand much more about the evo­lu­tion of the baby in the womb and his or her orig­i­nal­ity and unique iden­tity that we should sim­ply throw out all con­sti­tu­tional pro­tec­tion of the un­born child. For that rea­son I will be vot­ing No.”

The arch­bishop also rec­om­mended that over the com­ing week­end ev­ery par­ish in the Dublin arch­dio­cese “hold a spe­cial mo­ment of prayer for life” at a time of each par­ish’s choos­ing to co­in­cide with “the Feast of Pen­te­cost, ded­i­cated to the pro­tec­tion of life”.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, he asked “the Catholic com­mu­nity in the Arch­dio­cese of Dublin to join in mo­ments of prayer in the com­ing days in each par­ish.

“I ask you to in­voke the spirit of Je­sus to touch hearts and com­mit our so­ci­ety to be pro-life in defending the lives of un­born chil­dren and in sup­port­ing women and men in the chal­lenges they meet in ac­cept­ing the joy of par­ent­hood.”

Os­tracised and hu­mil­i­ated

For too long “a men­tal­ity was com­mon in Ire­land in which sin­gle moth­ers were os­tracised and hu­mil­i­ated. This nar­row moral­is­tic cul­ture was of­ten sadly en­hanced by the at­ti­tude of the church.

“It was women who stood up and chal­lenged that cul­ture and af­firmed their de­sire and right to be able to keep and give love to their chil­dren. We owe a debt to those women who, then and now, [are a] wit­ness to life. It is still not easy to be a lone par­ent and we have to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment to ease the ob­sta­cles and bur­dens of lone par­ents and their chil­dren,” he said.

Com­plex sit­u­a­tions

The Eighth Amend­ment “ought to have been ac­com­pa­nied by an ap­pro­pri­ate leg­isla­tive frame­work to as­sist doc­tors in deal­ing with com­plex sit­u­a­tions. This is still pos­si­ble,” he said.

Re­peal­ing the amend­ment was “not about per­mit­ting lim­ited abor­tion. It would bring about a rad­i­cal change to our broad pro-life cul­ture. It would end any con­sti­tu­tional pro­tec­tion what­so­ever for the un­born.

“Proposed fu­ture leg­is­la­tion would per­mit abor­tion with­out re­stric­tion up to 12 weeks, but also per­mit abor­tion on phys­i­cal and men­tal health grounds up to six months,” he said.

In fu­ture it would be pos­si­ble, “that small mi­nor­ity par­ties of a coali­tion gov­ern­ment could de­mand that abor­tion leg­is­la­tion be ex­tended as part of a pro­gramme for gov­ern­ment.

Re­peal­ing the Eighth Amend­ment in such cir­cum­stances “would be a point of no re­turn”, he said.

Evan­gel­i­cal Al­liance Ire­land, which rep­re­sents evan­gel­i­cal Christians and or­gan­i­sa­tions in the Repub­lic, also called for re­ten­tion of the Eighth Amend­ment yes­ter­day.

Arch­bishop Diar­muid Martin: Christians must be pro-life

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