The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) has called for parishes to stop campaigners on the Eight Amendment speaking from the pulpits at mass.
In a statement, the ACP expressed its concern that allowing pulpits to be used by campaigners is "inappropriate and insensitive" and "will be regarded by some as an abuse of the Eucharist."
It said that it fully endorses the Catholic teaching that all human life, from beginning to end, is sacred, and that every human person shares in the fundamental right to life.
It also said that it is aware that human life is "complex, throwing up situations that are more often grey than black and white" and which demand a sensitive, non-judgemental approach.
The association also acknowledged that since it is made up of unmarried men with no children, it is "not best placed to be in any way dogmatic on this issue."
"We do not wish to tell anyone how they should vote," it said.
"But we encourage both ourselves and any citizens who may be interested in our viewpoint, to do the best we can to acquaint ourselves with exactly what we are being asked to vote for, and what the
possible consequences of our vote may be.
The ACP ended its statement by saying it would no be engaging further in the debate.
John McGuirk from the Save the 8th group said they had been invited to speak to a number of congregations about the referendum.
In a statement, he said: "We will never decline an invitation to educate voters about the extremity of the Government’s proposal, which legalises abortion for healthy mothers, and healthy babies, for any reason at all.
"Our campaign shares, and applauds, the deep commitment of the Christian community to the values of respect for the life and dignity of every human individual. These values and beliefs are not limited to people of faith, and are shared by people of no religion whatsoever."
The statement said that the issue was both a social concern and relevant to peoples' spiritual beliefs.
It ended by saying: "No person is compelled by either their church, or by our campaign, to listen to any speaker.
"If we have reached the point where speaking about the right to life in a Christian church is in some way controversial, that would be a sign that hysteria has overtaken rational discourse in this referendum campaign.”
- Digital Desk