Statement from the Elphin Diocesan Pastoral Council* in relation to the Irish Government’s proposal to legislate for the ‘X’ case
“We ask the people of our diocese – laity, religious and clergy – to observe the Fridays of Lent 2013 as special days of prayer and fasting for the intention of supporting expectant mothers and for the protection of the unborn”
The unborn baby has a fundamental right to life
Life is the greatest of all gifts. Each of us from the moment of conception in our mother’s womb to our natural death has a fundamental right to life. It is essential that this most basic of all human rights is protected and promoted. Catholic wisdom holds that the life of the mother and the life of her unborn baby are sacred and are to be given equal respect. At this time, in our country, the right to life of the unborn baby is under threat. In conscience, we feel we must speak up for the voiceless unborn.
Medical Intervention: Yes – Abortion: No
Abortion is the direct and intentional killing of an unborn baby. This is morally unacceptable and can never be justified under any circumstances. Abortion is totally different to “medical intervention” where there is a real and substantial threat to the life of a mother. Such “medical intervention” may indirectly and unintentionally lead to the death of the child in the womb. The Catholic Church holds that this is morally acceptable provided that every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her unborn baby. Current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow the medical profession to apply this vital distinction in practice.
Legislation for the ‘X’ case is not a necessity
Legislating for the ‘X’ case actually means legislating for abortion and is not necessary to ensure women in Ireland receive all the life-saving “treatment” they need during pregnancy. As for a mother with suicidal tendencies she should receive all the compassion, love, medical and psychiatric care and support possible before during and after the birth of her child. Experts accept that abortion is not a ‘treatment’ for such suicidal tendencies and that it may even make such painful situations worse.
A call to defend the right to life of the unborn baby
The Diocesan Pastoral Council urges all Catholics in the Diocese of Elphin and all men and women of goodwill to continue to uphold and defend the inherent right to life of the unborn baby. We respectfully call on all public representatives to oppose the Government’s proposal to legislate on the basis of the ‘X’ case.
A call to special prayer and fasting this Lent
We implore all to pray to God that for enlightenment, courage and inspiration for those who have the power to stop the introduction of this proposed legislation to do so. In particular we ask the people of our diocese – laity, religious and clergy – to observe the Fridays of Lent 2013 as special days of prayer and fasting for the intention of supporting expectant mothers and for the protection of the unborn.
Notes for Editors
• *The Elphin Diocesan Pastoral Council consisting of Laity, Religious and Clergy which advises the Bishop on pastoral matters. Bishop Christopher Jones is the Bishop of Elphin. The diocese includes portions of counties Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath and Galway.
• Ash Wednesday occurs this Wednesday 13 February 2013, and will mark the beginning of the important Christian season of Lent. Lent is a time of prayer, penance including fasting and charity in preparation for Easter.
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