Mymother’sadvice to the bishops
When I read that Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran said regarding the successful vote to repeal the Eight Amendment from the Irish Constitution: “If you voted yes knowing and intending that abortion would be the outcome, then you should consider coming to confession,” I was reminded of my mother‘s views on this topic and her advice to the bishops. Mary Carmelita Donohoe Lyons, mother of seven children, a granddaughter of Irish immigrants from Co Westmeath, would climb over snow banks to get to daily Mass at her parish church in Yankton, South Dakota, up until two weeks before she died at the age of 93. She visited our home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1984 shortly after Bernard Law, newly installed Archbishop of Boston decried pro-choice women as “the greatest evil of our time”. I asked my mother what she thought about the archbishop’s charge against women. She snapped her fingers and instantly replied: “Well, they can’t have it both ways. You can’t deny a woman the right to decide whether or not to conceive and then expect her to live with the consequences.”
And then my mother, who not only knew her mind well, but could speak it well, added: “I think it’s time for those bishops to get off their high horses.” That was very strong language from my devout Catholic mother. I told her that I thought she was a better theologian than any bishop.
If my good mother were alive today, I am quite certain she would repeat the same admonition to Bishop Doran and to all the bishops of Ireland. If they desire to stop abortion then they should be preaching to the faithful the advice of the late Spike Milligan: “Contraceptives should be used on every conceivable occasion.”
And my mother would give her blessings from on high. Robert F Lyons