Bishop at Rally for Life send-off

Bishop Ray Browne’s speaking notes as he addressed  those departing by bus from Killarney to attend the ‘Rally for Life’ in Dublin Saturday 10th March 2018.

A number of times over the past three days people have spoken of their great, great sadness at events as they unfolded.

  • On Wednesday the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the unborn had no constitutional rights outside the right to life in the Eight Amendment, Article 40.3.3 of our Constitution
  • Immediately the Government announced their plans to hold a Referendum proposing to remove from the Constitution “the State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn …. ”
  • And not just that, the Government also announced that the same Referendum would insert into the Constitution a statement that “provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies”
  • On Friday the Government published a list of principles that would guide the laws they would propose to enact if the Referendum was passed. Two of these principles are: 1) Gestation limits will not apply in cases  ….  on grounds of risk to health;  2) Terminations would be permitted up to 12 weeks ‘without specific indication’ (a phrase replacing the original proposal ‘without restriction’).

I fully understand why so many people are deeply shocked and saddened by each of these decisions/proposals. In the months and years ahead what awful connotations that word ‘termination’ will acquire in people’s minds, forever linked to ‘termination of pregnancy’.

I wish every success to today’s ‘Rally for Life’. The events of the last three days  highlight its importance.  I admire and I thank you for your willingness to join the rally, making the long return journey by bus. Do not be downhearted, journey with hope in your heart. Trust that the people of Ireland will vote to reject this referendum proposal.

Pope Francis in his recent document on the family, ‘The Joy of Love’, paragraph 83, summarises well the ‘life’ position:

So great is the value of human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the Mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life …”

On Tuesday evening last, I along with the other Catholic bishops in Ireland issued a statement entitled ‘Our Common Humanity’ which concluded with:

We invite people of faith to pray earnestly 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.”