At Masses throughout the country yesterday, bishops petitioned parishioners to vote against repealing the Eighth Amendment, with one saying that society has been “walking with our eyes closed into an era of eugenics”.
The bishops authored pastoral messages which were delivered to congregations across their dioceses.
In his message to 68 parishes, the Bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley said where a baby is terminally ill or has been conceived through rape “especially in those tragic cases both the mother and her unborn child can and must be loved and cherished”.
“The child in the womb is innocent of the circumstances of its conception and its health condition,” he said. “There is no other situation in life where the ending of the life of an innocent person is the answer to a difficulty.”
He said the referendum could remove the only remaining effective law to protect the unborn. If the Eighth was repealed, he said, legislators would then be able to propose laws for abortion right up to birth “with no restrictions and over which the people of Ireland will have no control”.
“We can only speculate as to how many lives have been saved by the Eighth Amendment,” he said. “We will never again have a more important vote. There is no cause more noble than to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.”
Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, said he did not agree that a pregnant woman should have an absolute right to choose the fate of her pregnancy.
“Once we deny the right to life of the unborn, we can no longer defend ourselves from what flows from an abortion culture,” said Bishop Nulty.
“I have the sense that we are walking with our eyes closed into an era of eugenics, unwilling to look where we are going but still continuing on.”
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