Bishop Buckley’s Second Pastoral Letter on the Right to Life
Within days Ireland will be facing a Referendum to remove the right to life of the unborn from the Constitution. I am asking you to reflect on a number of issues and misinformation that people have brought to my attention since the publication of my Pastoral Letter.
Some people fail to see the humanity of the unborn and consequently their right to life. The baby and the inhumanity of abortion are rarely mentioned in the political debates. All of us arc alive because our mothers chose to accept the life in their wombs. We cannot deny, now in 2018, that the baby in the womb is alive, vulnerable and an innocent baby, whose safety is in our hands. Many fathers and mothers have seen the amazing ultrasound pictures of their children. The baby’s heart starts beating at 21 days after conception. Our Irish language has a beautiful word for the unborn – beo gan breith – which means alive but not born.
It is often said that those who support life are not compassionate. Compassion is not one sided. Compassion for the mother is vital but we must also extend our compassion to the child in the womb. There is no semblance of compassion involved in ending the life of the innocent child. Compassion means that we look after the mother and the child. It is our responsibility as a society to promote every support for women in a crisis pregnancy. We must be there for each other, always, all the days of our life. Pope Francis has very comforting words for those who may have had an abortion and for whom it was a very painful decision. “Do not be discouraged,” the Pope said. “Believe in the mercy and forgiveness of the Lord.
Under the provisions of the 8th Amendment, no treatment is ever denied to an expectant mother. The Church teaching is quite clear. A woman in pregnancy must be given every life-saving treatment that she needs, even if the child she is carrying will not survive this life-saving treatment. Doctors have always had to deal with situations where their intervention to save the mother’s life has resulted in the unavoidable death of the baby in the womb.
The Church has always taught that abortion is gravely wrong “and is not compatible with our Catholic faith in any way” (Pope Francis). If you vote Yes, you are actually voting for abortion. Many of our brothers and sisters in other Christian churches, in other faiths, and of no faith hold a similar view.
The question before us is quite clear: do we want abortion on demand for any reason up to 12 weeks, which is when 90% of abortions take place? The right to life in the Constitution will be replaced by the right to end the life of an innocent person. The unborn baby will be left with no protection whatsoever. It is remarkable that the State, which under the Wildlife Act has so many legal protections for non-human life, is trying to remove the most basic right of the child in the womb.
I commend the work of the many pro-life groups – many of whom, of all ages, I have met around the city – to protect the unborn child. They are the voice of the voiceless.
As voters, we are the unborn babies’ last line of defence. I am encouraging you again to speak to your families and friends about the issues I have outlined but do so with respect and courtesy. Continue to pray for mothers and the unborn at this critical time. In the light of what I have said in my Pastoral Letter it is essential to vote NO if we are to build a truly compassionate society that values all life.
PRAYER FOR LIFE
Heavenly Father, we are all your children, sons and daughters of the same loving Father, and for this we praise you.
We thank you for the gift of life.
Help us to appreciate the great dignity of every human being.
Open our hearts to welcome every child as a wonderful gift.
May the life of a mother and her baby in the womb be equally cherished and respected.
Help us to realise that every person is precious that every baby deserves love, that every baby deserves life.
Help those who make our laws to uphold the unique dignity of every human being from conception to natural death.
May Mary and St Joseph pray for us at this time.
We make all our prayers through Christ our Lord.
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesday after 10.00 am Mass until 11.00 am to pray for life.
The Annual Ecumenical Service for Christian Unity: In St. Luke’s Church, Douglas, on Sunday May 20th (Pentecost Sunday) at 7.30 pm. All welcome. This service is organised annually by the Cork Ecumenical Standing Committee which comprises: Rev. Geraldine Gracie, Methodist Church; Rev. Daniel Nuzum, Church of Ireland; Ms Valerie Fletcher, Presbyterian Church and Fr. Christy Fitzgerald, Roman Catholic Church. The sermon will be delivered by Fr. Christy Fitzgerald.
First Holy Communion: Congratulations, prayers and good wishes to the boys and girls of Bunscoil Chríost Rí who received First Holy Communion this weekend, to their families and teachers.
Thank you from the Pastoral Development Office – Fr Charlie Kiely wishes to acknowledge your generosity to the annual collection taken up last weekend and looks forward to meeting many of you over the coming year at our various events in the diocese.
The SMA National Novena in honour of Our Lady of Knock: Begins on Friday 18th May at African Missions Church, Blackrock Road and ends on Saturday 26th May which concludes with our Annual Pilgrimage to Knock. The Novena will be celebrated at 7.30pm (except on Saturdays when it will be at 7.00pm). For further information please contact SMA Blackrock Road at 021-4292871 or SMA Wilton at 021-4541069
Cork Alzheimers Café a safe place for people with Alzheimers and other dementias, their carers, family and friends along with social and health professionals to meet. Last Friday of each month 1.30–3.30 pm in St Finbarrs Hospital, Douglas Road. Light refreshments provided free of charge. All welcome. Next meeting Friday 25th May.
Our Students are remembered in our Shared Mass every Friday at 10am. Special Exam Cards are available in the Sacristy.
Bring flowers of the rarest – our May hymn to Mary. We encourage you to pray the Rosary (even one decade), during May. The Rosary is prayed here before the 10.00 am weekday Mass.