The Derry-born head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has issued a challenge to those trying to “radically redefine” Ireland’s social agenda.
Archbishop Eamon Martin says that, in the Ireland of 2016, it takes real strength of character to hold to the fundamental right to life of both a mother and her unborn baby.
“Especially so in the face of pressure from those who wish to radically redefine Ireland’s social agenda in the name of ‘progression’ and ‘personal choice’ above all else,” he added.
“But at what cost? How could anyone in the name of compassion or choice remove the right to life of an innocent unborn child?”
Dr. Martin was speaking at the All Ireland Rosary Rally in Knock, Co. Mayo, at the weekend.
He urged people to “listen for the heartbeats” of both mothers and their unborn children in today’s world.
“Two lives; two hearts, beating. Sadly, there are those who question Ireland’s constitutional commitment to the equal life and dignity of a mother and the unborn child.
“May we never forget that the defenceless unborn child is a real, human person, worthy of love and protection. Equally, may we never fail to have a heart for those mothers - and, indeed, fathers - who sometimes feel in crisis following the conception of their child.”
Turning to the fragility of peace around the world, Archbishop Martin recalled the “horrendous loss of life” one hundred years ago during World War One.
“But in many parts of the modern world,” he added, “tens of thousands of people are still being killed, maimed or displaced because of the violence of war and terrorism.
“In turning to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, we ask her help to conquer the menace of evil and hatred which can so easily take root in the hearts of people today. Instead, may the Sacred Heart of Jesus inspire peacemakers to melt the hearts of stone which prolong conflict across the world.”
Focusing on the family, Dr. Martin urged prayer for those families struggling because of bereavement, misunderstanding, or a breakdown in relationships.
He also revealed that, in coming months, he will be inviting people to join him in rekindling the First Friday and First Saturday devotions for the intentions of peace, family and life.
Each month, he said, people should go to Confession, receive Holy Communion and make a “personal act of sacrifice or reparation”.