Irish bishops set to lobby politicians in abortion campaign
The Church’s position was confirmed by the Catholic Primate of All-Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady, yesterday who suggested another referendum on abortion was possibly the only solution to deal with the controversial issue.
His comments drew a swift response from Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, who said it would be a retrograde step if the Catholic Church went back to dictating to elected representatives how to address the issue of abortion.
Previous referenda on the issue proved extremely divisive and involved often bitter clashes between Church and State figures.
The Government last year established an expert group, chaired by Mr Justice Seán Ryan of the High Court, to examine how best to implement the 2010 decision of the European Court of Human Rights that the State had violated the rights of a woman who had cancer who said she was forced to travel abroad to get an abortion, and to provide a legislative basis for the Supreme Court’s ruling in the X case.
A report from the expert group has not yet been delivered to Government but if it is seen to recommend legalising abortion, the Catholic Church has made clear a strong drive will be launched to persuade the Government not to take any such action.
As to the form this campaign would take, informed church sources told The Irish Times priests would be equipped with ample, high-quality “pro-life” material for preaching and personal contact with parishioners.
The church would also co-operate with lay organisations, including non-Catholic ones, in such a campaign. Church members, the source said, would be “encouraged to contact their local public representatives to say they do not want abortion in Ireland and pointing out that this country is recognised as the safest place in the world to have a child”.
Priests and laity would lobby public representatives with a view to “raising awareness among the political class with material consisting of reasoned argument and correct facts”. Bishops would also speak to politicians. [More]