Archbishop Eamon Martin has spoken out against changing Ireland’s abortion laws while delivering a Homily at Knock.
Speaking at the weekend, the Derry man, who is Primate of All Ireland, said the protection of the equal rights to life of the mother and the unborn child must be defended.
He was speaking as the People’s Assembly in the Republic recommended amendments the abortion laws in the south, while stopping short of repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which enshrines the equal rights status of the mother and unborn child.
A referendum is also likely to be held now in Ireland to give people their say on the current laws regarding the law and abortion restrictions.
In delivering his Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday Mass at Knock Shrine, Eamon Martin placed the developments over recent days in the south alongside atrocities and political crises at home and across the world.
He said: “Breaking news over Easter brought us stories of fellow Christians slaughtered at prayer in Egypt, continued death and violence in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan; dangerous posturing by world leaders over Korea; a failure to deliver compromise and lasting agreement in the North; and, sadly, the continued attempt to convince us that there’s nothing wrong with undermining the right to life of the unborn child.
“We are being encouraged to repeal, delete or amend this Article in our Constitution: “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”.
“ Pope Francis often speaks about the need for a ‘revolution of tenderness’ in today’s world. I repeat today what I said on Day For Life last October: ‘Article 40.3.3 is fundamentally a declaration of tenderness and love for the equal right to life of both a mother and her unborn child... it places as the very foundations and substructure of our laws a clear conviction that all human life is worth cherishing.
“Demands to quash and abolish this amendment go against the Good News that the life of every person is sacred and inviolable, irrespective of the stage or state of that life - from the first moment of conception until the moment of natural death. This is the most fundamental of all moral principles.
“It is the basis upon which every human right we enjoy as persons is predicated and upon which our very freedom and dignity as a person rests. It admits of no exceptions.
“To deliberately and intentionally take the life of an innocent person, whatever their state or stage of life, is always gravely morally wrong.”
Addressing a wide range of social issues, Archbishop Martin asked that God “Pour your mercy into our hearts, into our homes, into our country and world at this time.”
He added: “Forgive us for the breakdown in family life, for domestic violence and abuse, for the sins and crimes that have been committed in the Church, for the prevalence of addiction, for the despair that leads to so much self harm and suicide in our country and in our world.”