Archbishop Eamon Martin: taking innocent life is always evil, never justifiable
Warning against the dangers of liberalizing abortion in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin has told to the people of Ireland in his New Year's message that to serve human life is to serve God and that taking innocent life is always evil and can never be justified.
The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland in a pastoral message for the New Year stressed that all human life is sacred and precious.
“This is why the direct and intentional taking of innocent human life is always gravely wrong,” he said.
The Irish prelate recalled that Pope Francis, in his New Year Homily, stressed: “to serve human life is to serve God. All life, from life in the mother’s womb to that of the elderly, the suffering and the sick, and to that of the troublesome and even repellent, is to be welcomed, loved and helped.”
“This is why the direct and intentional taking of innocent human life is always gravely wrong,” he said. The Irish prelate recalled that Pope Francis, in his New Year Homily, stressed: “to serve human life is to serve God. All life, from life in the mother’s womb to that of the elderly, the suffering and the sick, and to that of the troublesome and even repellent, is to be welcomed, loved and helped.”
On Monday, Jan. 29, Ireland’s government proposed holding a referendum to overhaul some of the world’s strictest laws on abortion. The vote is whether to repeal the eighth amendment of the constitution inserted in 1983 which guaranteed the equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child, and instead to have parliament to set the laws.
In the message, the Archbishop explains that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution of Ireland, the eighth amendment, “gives an undertaking to respect, defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child.” Article 40.3.3 reads as follows: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right”.
“Article 40.3.3,” Archbishop Eamon said, “is a declaration of equality and respect for human life – it represents, at the very foundations and substructure of our laws, a conviction that all human life is equally worth cherishing.”
“To repeal this Article will leave unborn children defenseless, and completely at the mercy of whatever abortion laws are introduced in Ireland – both immediately, and as will inevitably be further broadened in future years.” The Archbishop denied that wide access to abortion “will mark Ireland out as a ‘modern’ country, placing the needs of women ‘at the center.’”
“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, he stressed, there have been almost nine million abortions. He noted that one-in-five pregnancies in Britain end in abortion, one-in-four in Sweden, and International experience shows similar trends elsewhere. “Are these the so-called ‘modern abortion regimes’ that Ireland is seeking to emulate?” he asked.
The Archbishop of Armagh encouraged faithful to focus their energies and resources on making Ireland the most welcoming country in the world for a woman and her baby in the womb. Encouraging all faithful to be missionaries for life, the Archbishop underscored: “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,” and that the Catholic Church, in common with many other people of goodwill, teaches that “ending the life of an unborn child, like the taking of any other innocent human life, is always evil and can never be justified.”
He urged faithful to remember Pope Francis’ words: “To serve human life is to serve God.” He told them to 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. He told them to speak the truth about life, and to speak it with love.
“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.” Turning to the power of prayer, Archbishop Martin said: “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.”