BISHOP of Cloyne William Crean has warned that a Yes vote in the abortion referendum would mean that the “destruction of unborn lives” would become not just legal but also taken for granted and routine.
In a letter, which has been distributed at Masses around the Cloyne Diocese, he directly appeals for a no vote in the referendum.
The letter encourages people to engage in debate, discern what is important, and then make a decision.
“This entails taking time and effort to ensure that our conscience is properly informed. In the absence of this process, we risk arriving at a decision that is superficial and poorly grounded,” he said.
“For example, there are many people of faith and practice who feel that while they personally are pro-life they do not wish to stand in the way of those who believe that abortion is morally acceptable. On what grounds can one justify collusion with actions that you find morally repugnant? On what basis can you justify facilitating actions that in conscience you believe to be wrong?”
Bishop Crean said that there are “wolves masquerading as sheep” in the debate, accusing some yes campaigners of sowing “seeds of confusion by way of inviting the confused to trust them because ‘they know best’.”
He said that “difficult and tragic pregnancies” are dealt with under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which currently governs access to abortion in Ireland and that people started the debate talking about those cases, but have now moved beyond them.
“What is now proposed is light years away from very rare and restricted circumstances to a proposal that provides for termination of perfectly viable pregnancies. I detect sinister intentions at work here,” he said.
He said that following the lead of countries that have legalised abortion could lead to Ireland devaluing other lives as well.
“The destruction of unborn lives has not just become legal but also taken for granted and routine. Do we wish to create a society whereby we are desensitized to the destruction of the unborn?
“When something is legalised, in the eyes of many, it is morally acceptable. When we lose sensitivity to care for the unborn we risk becoming equally insensitive to the frail and elderly,” he said.
Bishop Crean said that society does need to support women who have “unwanted or enforced” pregnancies, but abortion is not the answer.
“Their situations are deeply stressful and leave them in a great dilemma. They need our understanding, compassion and support.
“The proponents of the repeal of the Eighth Amendment insist that the provision of abortion is the best way to support women in crisis or difficult pregnancies.
“Are these proposed solutions the foundation on which we wish to build the support and compassion they need? “ he said.