Pope Francis has rebuked the Irish people over a recent referendum legalizing abortion, suggesting that it is a widespread “throwaway culture” that leads people to deprive the unborn of “the very right to life.”
In his opening remarks on arriving in Dublin Saturday for the World Meeting of Families, the pope asked rhetorically whether the spread of a materialistic “throwaway culture” has made us “increasingly indifferent to the poor and to the most defenceless members of our human family, including the unborn, deprived of the very right to life.”
On May 25, the Irish people voted to repeal the eighth amendment to their constitution, which recognized the right to life of unborn children and guaranteed them protection under the law.
Present among the pope’s audience Saturday was Ireland’s first openly gay Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, a vocal advocate of abortion who campaigned actively for the repeal of the eighth amendment.
Pro-abortion forces both inside Ireland and internationally waged an intense crusade to convince the Irish to abandon their defense of preborn children, with the help of celebrities like U2’s Bono and actor Liam Neeson as well as international financiers such as George Soros.
Irish Christians — including the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) and the Catholic Church — sought to counter the campaign by reminding their members of the inherent dignity of the human person from conception to natural death.
“As Christians, we see the scriptures speaking consistently of the importance and value of human life, including that of the unborn,” said the PCI in a letter to its members. “On that basis, we are responsible before God to honour the sanctity of human life.”
In January, Irish bishop Kevin Doran issued a pastoral letter decrying the abortion lobby’s pro-choice rhetoric, asserting 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. “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 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.”
For his part, Pope Francis has called abortion a “scourge” as well as a “horrendous crime,” insisting that “a just society recognizes the primacy of the right to life from conception to natural death.”
“Unborn children should always be welcomed,” the pope said last May 6, during the lead-up to Ireland’s abortion referendum, adding that “life must always be protected and loved from conception to its natural end.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome