The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) is urging Irish citizens to “honour the sanctity of human life” in the lead-up to the country’s national referendum on abortion.
In a letter made public to all church members last Sunday, the PCI said that “meaningful protection for the unborn can only be secured if the Eighth Amendment is retained in the forthcoming referendum.”
“We therefore encourage church members to consider these matters prayerfully and with great care over the coming weeks and to vote in accordance with their conscience,” the letter said.
“As Christians, we see the scriptures speaking consistently of the importance and value of human life, including that of the unborn,” it said. “On that basis, we are responsible before God to honour the sanctity of human life.”
The PCI suggested that being pro-life is fully compatible with its own progressive stance on social issues.
A “truly progressive Ireland,” they declared, is one “where the weak and vulnerable, including children in the womb, are cherished and protected.”
With their letter, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has formed a united front with the Catholic bishops, who have repeatedly asserted the importance of retaining the eighth amendment to the constitution.
In late January, Irish bishop Kevin Doran issued a pastoral letter denying the abortion lobby’s pro-choice mantra, noting that the unborn child has no voice and no choice and is at the mercy of what adults choose to do to him or her.
“When it comes to the right to choose, there is a tendency to forget that there is another person involved; a vulnerable person who has no choice and who depends entirely on others for protection,” wrote Doran, the bishop of the Elphin diocese. “If society accepts that one human being has the right to end the life of another, then it is no longer possible to claim the right to life as a fundamental human right for anybody.”
Three more Catholic bishops published simultaneous pastoral letters on April 15, urging Catholics and all people of good will to reject attempts to overturn the Eighth Amendment, which declares and defends “the right to life of the unborn.”
The following Sunday, a fifth bishop, Denis Brennan of the Diocese of Ferns, chimed in with his own packed pastoral message on behalf of the unborn.
Repealing the Eighth Amendment “will strip the voiceless of their most fundamental right and make all talk of any other human rights irrelevant for them,” Bishop Brennan said, adding that “we are the unborn baby’s last line of defense.”
“In matters of life and death, none of us is a supreme judge who can decide the fate of another, least of all the vulnerable and the voiceless, the unborn child,” he continued. “None of us should ever have the power to decide on the death of another.”
The position of the PCI and the Catholic Church is forcefully opposed by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, an openly gay politician who has been pushing for Ireland to become a pro-abortion country.
The referendum on whether to repeal the amendment will take place on May 25.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome