Catholic bishop says 'pro-life culture has saved thousands of lives' in pastoral letter

By Gordon Deegan

The Bishop of Kilaloe Fintan Monahan has stated that the pro-life culture in Ireland has helped save thousands of lives here.

In his pastoral letter on the upcoming abortion referendum, Bishop Monahan has stated that: "We must clearly state what abortion is – it is the direct killing of an innocent human being. This is simply not right. Children with disabilities or genetic disorders are disproportionately affected. In Britain nine out 10 babies who have been diagnosed in the womb with Down Syndrome are aborted.

In his letter entitled ‘Invitation to Choose Life’, Bishop Monahan has stated: “The 8th Amendment to our constitution has saved thousands of lives. The absence of legal abortion in Ireland has ensured, in countless cases, that time is taken to think, plan, get good advice and seek out other options when unplanned pregnancies arise.”

He said: “The resulting pro-life culture has been a great help in saving countless lives in this country.”

Bishop Monahan said: “Many crimes and evil deeds happen in Ireland on a daily basis. The fact that they happen does not mean that they should be made legal. Rather the State needs to use all the legitimate means it has, so as to protect its people.”

Bishop Monahan said that the choice that the Irish people will make in the referendum “will shape our society for generations to come”.

In the letter, Bishop Monahan states: “The choice is ours. My invitation is to “choose life” and for us as Christians to stand up for what we believe in and “Be missionaries for Life”! In choosing life I will be voting ‘No’ in the upcoming referendum and would encourage others to do so also."

He added: “A measure of a truly civilised society is how the most vulnerable and defenceless are treated. The unborn child in the womb is among the most vulnerable and defenceless of all. Alone she/he cannot survive or grow. The proposed referendum will also have alarming and far-reaching consequences for other categories of people with vulnerabilities."

In his letter, Bishop Monahan also states: “We greatly value equality. What is being proposed will create a shocking and blatant inequality. We will have a two-tier value system where we regard the life of some people as valued and welcome but another is not allowed even to be born.”

On the woman's view, Bishop Monahan stated: “Some claim that this issue is a women’s health or a women’s rights issue and it is not the business of anyone else. Cherishing human life concerns us all. The love of a mother for her baby in her womb or embraced in her arms, is the most powerful expression of love in our world. When the Bible seeks to convey how much God loves us, his people, it uses the image of a mother’s love for her child.

“The mother together with the father and helped by the wider family loves, cares for and nourishes the unborn child. The broader community, especially health care professionals, legislators, schools, community, Churches and parishes all play their part in forming a circle of love and care to embrace the mother and her unborn child.”

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