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31 / 08 / 2012 - Cardinal urges faithful to make voices heard on abortion and marriage
Cardinal Seán Brady has warned that the debate over abortion and marriage are set to intensify over the coming months and he issued a call to the faithful to make their voices heard on these core values of their Catholic faith.
In an address to open the Edmund Rice Summer School in Waterford on Friday, the Primate of All Ireland urged the faithful to do justice to the logic and human reason behind Catholic values in relation to the sanctity of human life and marriage between a man and a woman. He said these values could not be relegated to the realm of private religious beliefs in the name of secularism or tolerance with no place in law or public policy.
Catholic values, “have the same right to be heard, promoted and respected in our laws as other, perhaps, less representative views,” the Cardinal said. "It is therefore important as a Church that we prepare with others to defend the equal right to life of a mother and child against any effort to introduce abortion to a country which is one of the safest places in the world for mothers who are expecting a child," Cardinal Brady warned in a reference to the case of A, B and C. vs. Ireland.
In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights found that in the case of A, B and C, the State had violated the rights of C, who was in remission from cancer, which, she said, could return if she became pregnant. However, the Cardinal commented that the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in this case, “did not oblige the Irish Government to legislate for any form of abortion in Ireland.”
He added, “I believe any attempt to do so, even by way of a ministerial directive, will be vigorously and comprehensively opposed by many.” He also paid tribute to the promotion of the values of chastity, dignity and respect in relationships by young adults at the International Eucharistic Congress in June.
He suggested that Blessed Edmund Rice would have been inspired by the number of these young adults who were involved in promoting faithful marriage between a father and a mother as the most favourable environment for parenting children, and as an institution that flows logically and specifically from the sexual complementarity as women and men.
“I believe he would have been encouraged by the number of young people at the Congress who, with compassion, sensitivity and deep conviction, explained why human life should be protected and respected in our laws from the first moment of conception through to natural death,” Cardinal Brady recalled.
He said these young people’s views get little public recognition but nevertheless they are views that were held with deep conviction and with growing clarity and logic by a very significant number of people across the island of Ireland.
Addressing the wider social context, the Primate of All Ireland said that he believed Edmund Rice would also be deeply concerned about the move to marginalise religious faith and Catholicism, in particular, from public life and discourse in Ireland. He expressed concern over the, “growing threat to religious freedom across the world, including in many western democracies.”
According to the Cardinal, many more people than is generally realised, believe society is at risk of losing something important by side-lining faith. In fact, with the dramatic decline in the economy, a new openness and approach to the purpose and meaning offered by religious faith is emerging, he suggested, and he underlined that this would be something to which Edmund Rice would have been anxious to find a way of responding.
In the context of the celebrations of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, whom the Cardinal described as a remarkable Christian witness and outstanding Irishman, he said the summer school’s theme was timely and ambitious.
“Edmund Rice Today: what is being born? suggests that those who inherited his legacy are celebrating not just a memory or an historic event 250 years ago but a gift to the Church that is still very much alive today.”
Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice founded two religious congregations; the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers.
“His influence extends through these two international Orders of consecrated men to a wider family of past-pupils and, more recently, to the international Edmund Rice network,” the Cardinal said.
Thus, far from the picture of decline that is so often presented in relation to the religious congregations, the work and growing membership of this network reflects a, “dynamic enterprise that is not only alive, but also very much needed and valued in the Church today.”
Recalling the, “incredible spirit of joy,” that was so evident at the recent International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, the Cardinal said there was almost a tangible spirit of generosity, communion and joy everywhere you went.
“It suggested to me that beneath the hurt, anger and disillusionment of recent years, there is still a deep yearning in our country for all that is best in the Catholic faith lived well.” He added that a member of staff at the RDS had said to him recently, “I wish there was a Eucharistic Congress every year because it brought such joy.”
“I think at the Congress, we caught a glimpse of the silent majority in Ireland who are quietly concerned that their faith, and many of the positive things that Christianity contributed to this nation in the past," which, he suggested, are being set aside or undervalued.
This, the Primate said included the, “enormous contribution,” of outstanding Irish women and men like Edmund Rice, Nano Nagle, Margaret Aylward and Catherine McAuley.
“By any standard they are giants of generosity, selflessness, service of our nation and concern for the poor. They were women and men who, motivated by Christian compassion and faith, gave up everything to put in place the very foundations of the freedom, educational excellence and respect as an independent nation that this country now enjoys.”
While the dramatic failings of some in the Church must be fully acknowledged and addressed, “they should not devalue or erase from our nation’s gratitude and memory the immense contribution of the thousands of Christian Brothers, Presentation Brothers and Presentation Sisters, Holy Faith Sisters, Mercy Sisters and so many others who, as witnesses to Christian selflessness and service, were also, and continue to be, outstanding ambassadors for Ireland in this country and abroad.”
Cardinal Brady added that that legacy was why, in 19th century Ireland, women and men like Edmund Rice, Nano Nagle, Catherine McAuley and Margaret Alyward were not just great social and educational liberators, but, “heralds of hope and artisans of a new vision of society, rooted in the values of love, justice and the dignity of every person.”
Source: Sarah Mac Donald - Ci-News