Comments on right to life issues from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in a Homily at Mass for Dublin Cura Volunteers.
For decades, now, CURA has represented the care and support of the Catholic community for women facing crisis pregnancies, as well as providing counselling to women who have had abortions and counselling for mothers and fathers of new babies. The work of CURA is a practical and caring witness to the dignity of every human life.
As the Irish Bishops have repeated in recent weeks, Catholic teaching clearly affirms that every human life has unique and irreplaceable dignity. The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother. By virtue of their common humanity a mother and her unborn baby are both sacred with an equal right to life. In facing situations of conflict, Catholic teaching stresses the equal rights of the mother and the unborn child and the desire to save both lives.
In Ireland we have a strong record in the area of maternal and neo-natal care. Our levels of maternal mortality are ahead of many European countries. Our doctors and nurses and midwives deserve our respect and gratitude.
Stressing the equal dignity and right to life of the mother and of her unborn child is also a strong affirmation that there are no second class human lives, no human life whose right to life deserves lesser respect or lesser protection. That is a fundamental principle of our Constitution – and indeed of democracy – to be maintained and protected.
I thank CURA for the manner in which it has over years provided constant, caring and confidential support for women in difficult pregnancy situations.
Annette O Donnell
Director of Communications