17 December 2018


“To Serve Human Life is to Serve God” (Pope Francis)


Women’s lives are precious, to be loved, valued and protected.  Their babies’ lives are precious, to be loved, valued and protected.  Two lives, one love!... 

It is falsely claimed that wide access to abortion will mark Ireland out as a “modern” country, placing the needs of women “at the centre”.  Abortion ends the human life of an unborn girl or boy.  It deceives women – and men – by creating a culture where the decision to end the life of an unborn child is portrayed as simply a matter of individual “choice”.

Since the introduction of the 1967 Abortion Act in Britain there have been almost nine million abortions.  One-in-five pregnancies in Britain end in abortion; one-in-four in Sweden…  Are these the so-called “modern abortion regimes” that Ireland is seeking to emulate?

When women are in crisis during pregnancy, feeling frightened or isolated, they need to know they are not alone.  A woman facing such a crisis deserves time, compassion, meaningful support and life-affirming alternatives to abortion and its harmful legacy.  Our ambition as a people should be to guarantee genuine care for pregnant mothers, encourage responsible support from fathers, and to truly cherish all children equally.

We should focus our energies and resources on making Ireland the most welcoming country in the world for a woman and her baby in the womb.  Our doctors, nurses, midwives and other care professionals have already helped to earn Ireland’s place as one of the safest countries in the world for mothers and their babies during pregnancy.  Ireland now has an opportunity to give even stronger witness that: we value all life equally; we care for the weakest and smallest, the strongest and healthiest, the youngest, the oldest, and the whole wonderful and beautiful spectrum of life in-between.


Regarding medical intervention, Catholic teaching is clear: where a seriously-ill pregnant woman requires medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are ethically permissible provided every effort is made to save both the mother and her baby.  Such an intervention would be different from an abortion, which is the direct and intentional taking of the innocent life of the unborn.


The innate dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death, is a value for the whole of society, rooted in reason as well as in faith…  

Brothers and sisters I encourage you to be missionaries for the cause of life.  Remember those words of Pope Francis: “To serve human life is to serve God”.  Speak to your families, your children and grandchildren, friends and colleagues about cherishing the precious gift of life at all times from conception to natural death.  Despite the strong pressures to remain silent, do not be afraid to witness to the equality of all life in private conversations and public discussions in the coming months.  As citizens committed to the Common Good, you have a democratic right to make your views known, respectfully, to our public representatives.


Please pray earnestly with me that Ireland will “choose life” and that the lives of all women and their unborn children will always be loved, valued, welcomed and respected in this country.