Three Irish Catholic bishops issued separate declarations on Sunday urging voters not to overturn Ireland’s Eighth Amendment, which recognizes the right to life of unborn human children.
Ireland has been targeted by pro-abortion forces who are desperate to repeal its pro-life legislation since it furnishes a proven model for the world of why abortion is never necessary. According to the United Nations, Ireland has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates and some of the best maternal healthcare in the world.
In a pastoral letter issued on Sunday, Bishop John Buckley of the Diocese of Cork and Ross called the May 25 referendum “a very important moment in Irish history.”
“Ireland will be the first country in the world to hold a referendum to introduce abortion by popular vote. Will the people of Ireland decide that there is no safe place for the unborn?” he asked.
The bishop also underscored the anomaly of abortion, which advocates have disingenuously tried to peddle as “healthcare.”
“There is no other situation in life where the ending of the life of an innocent person is the answer to a difficulty,” he said.
This issue compares to no other, the bishop declared, since infants in the womb are uniquely innocent and uniquely vulnerable.
“We will never again have a more important vote,” he said. “There is no cause more noble than to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Never before in history have we had so much scientific proof that the unborn baby is, in fact, a living, breathing human being.”
On the same day, Bishop Alan McGuckian of Raphoe issued his own pastoral letter reaffirming the “absolute sacredness of all life from conception to natural death,” so cherished by the Irish people.
To suddenly deprive a category of human beings of this most fundamental right would be “a seriously backward step,” he said.
“The scientific evidence was never clearer than it is now,” Bishop McGuckian said. “It is a great irony that we in Ireland are for the first time in history losing our clarity about the right to life of the unborn.”
“When we change or delete a law we run the risk of blinding ourselves over time to the truth behind it even though all the evidence we need is before our eyes. In our day we see more clearly than ever before how everything begins at conception,” McGuckian said.
A third bishop, Denis Nulty of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, also released a pastoral message Sunday, underscoring his intention to “speak boldly and clearly” because nothing “is as important for the future of our shared humanity as the right to life.”
Cutting through the rhetoric surrounding debates on abortion, Bishop Nulty said that there is “nothing to be gained by denying the truth that our lives begin at conception.”
The fact is, “the abortion debate is not really about biology,” he said. “Everyone knows that a life has begun. The question is: whether it is right to deliberately stop that life being born?”
Once we deny the right to life of the unborn, he said, “we can no longer defend ourselves from what flows from an abortion culture,” which “fundamentally alters our attitude towards disability” as corroborated by rivers of statistics.
The argument that Ireland is “behind the times in Ireland in regard to abortion” is completely false, Nulty argued. It is rather a prophetic stance that points to a better future.
While the pro-life movement in Ireland faces a powerful, well-funded repeal campaign, which receives financing from wealthy individuals and groups from outside the country that are determined to eliminate Ireland as a pro-life beacon, the bishops have taken a courageous and uncompromising stand.
On May 25, Irish citizens will go to the polls for the referendum on the Eighth Amendment, which the people of Ireland enshrined into law in 1983. The Amendment declares:
The State 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.
One final pro-life rally is scheduled to take place in Dublin on May 12.
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