‘We appear to have obliterated right to life’

Archbishop Eamon Martin.
Archbishop Eamon Martin.

Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin has called for a new evangelist movement as he expressed sorrow over the landslide vote to repeal the 8th Amendment from the Irish Constitution.

Reacting to the national Referendum results from Knock at the weekend, the Derry cleric said it was now clear that “We are living in a new time and a changed culture for Ireland.”

He said: “Like many others who advocated a no vote in the referendum, I am deeply saddened that we appear to have obliterated the right to life of all unborn children from our constitution and that this country is now on the brink of legislating for a liberal abortion regime.

“I am very concerned about the implications for society of interfering with the fundamental principle that the value of all human life is equal and that all human beings, born and unborn, have inherent worth and dignity. At a time when scientific and medical evidence is clearer than ever about the beginning of life, we have effectively decided that some human lives - in this case the lives of the unborn - are less significant and deserving of protection than others. We have elevated the right to personal choice above the fundamental right to life itself.”

Archbishop Martin said that like many others, he had found himself “challenged by the personal stories of so many women in Ireland both on the Yes and the No sides.”

“I have realised how little I know personally about the pressures these women can be under and how so many of them feel isolated, neglected and alone in their distress. Tragic, and sometimes desperate, situations like these will not go away just because, as is now expected, abortion is made widely available in Ireland.

“In the midst of so much disappointment for those who voted ‘No,’ it remains as important as ever to affirm the sanctity of all human life and that the direct and intentional taking of the life of any innocent human being is always gravely wrong,” he added.