Bishop Ray marks Day for Life

This statement of the Prolife position marks the annual Day for Life, Sunday October 4th

 The People of God and pro-life, 2020.

“The gift of a new child, entrusted by the Lord to a father and a mother, begins with acceptance, continues with lifelong protection and has as its final goal the joy of eternal life …”  (The Joy of Love  166)

Since January of 2019, with abortion legislation now in place, there is a new situation in Ireland. Our situation is similar to what has been the reality in England (and in many, many Western countries) for the past fifty years. We can learn from their experiences.

Being pro-life as the People of God in the diocese of Kerry.

Our fundamental pro-life position is summed up in the words of Pope Francis:

“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..” (Pope Francis, The Joy of Love  83)

As Christian communities our challenge now is to promote this pro-life message. Focus on the positive and the future.  Avoid repetitious criticism of individuals or of the events of the recent years. Seek to re-affirm in all people a confident pro-life position.  Face the future with hope and energy, not drained by recent hurts and disappointments.

Our understanding of our Christian faith is pro-life, – we witness to the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death. We seek to cooperate with all who are similarly pro-life, with people of all faiths and none.

There are many effective ways of communicating the pro-life position. Speak of the totally dependent, hugely vulnerable human life growing in the womb. Remember the words of a G.P. doctor: “When a patient comes to me and announces she is pregnant, I see myself as having two patients to care for”.  Think of how early that new life has a heartbeat, little fingers, and a face. Is there a greater symbol of human hope and human love?

The Christian obligation: ever a personal ‘NO’ to abortion.

One very important witness to pro-life is that we encourage everyone to make a personal decision that they will never have any hand, act or part in anything to do with abortions. All of us are bound by this Christian obligation. Who knows when and in what circumstances any one of us may be called to witness to this?

Freedom of Conscience.

At this time, freedom of conscience, “the right to take no part in some action you believe to be morally wrong”, is a real live issue for many doctors, nurses, pharmacists and many workers in hospitals and other medical centres. It is their human right that their individual consciences be respected. I salute and admire the many health workers worldwide who over the years have stood apart and refused to have any involvement in abortion procedures.

Concluding Remark

Always let our strength of conviction be matched with our strength of mercy and compassion.

“I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.”

(Pope Francis,  Misericordia et Misera  99)

+ Ray Browne

Diocese of Kerry

October 2020