Representatives of church and State were told Tuesday by papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown that this new year is an incredibly important one “for the sanctity of human life in Ireland and in other nations as well”.
Addressing a congregation which included
President Michael D Higgins, the Taoiseach aide-de-camp Cmdt Michael
Treacy, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and members of the
diplomatic corps, he said people of conscience, of all religions and
none, “need to work vigorously and courageously to protect and nurture
human life from conception to natural death”.
He quoted Pope
Benedict, Ireland’s Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop
Martin and referred to Ireland’s Catholic bishops in bolstering his
World Day of Peace
speaking at the World Day of Peace Mass, celebrated this year in the
Church of St Thérèse, Mount Merrion, in Dublin and his comments came a
week before the Oireachtas Health Committee begins three days of
hearings into the abortion issue.
The hearings follow a Government
decision last month to introduce “legislation supported by regulations”
on the issue of abortion.
scientific and technological advances, the nuncio pointed out that
these was “not completely identical with human progress”. As an example
he referred to the shootings in Connecticut last month in which 20
children and six adults were killed.
“This atrocity highlights the
difference between technological progress and human progress. The
technical capacity to do what the killer did has only been possible for a
relatively short time in human history . . . It makes us ask deeper
questions about progress,” he said.
“Human progress happens when
we truly acknowledge the intrinsic value of every human being and also
recognise that in the human heart there is the awareness of a natural
moral law, which is present in a person as a fundamental sense of what
is right and wrong, even before a person has any faith in God or any
religious instruction or training,” he said.
He quoted from the
Pope’s message for the World Day of Peace, which asked “how could one
claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even
the protection of the environment without defending the life of those
who are weakest, beginning with the unborn”?
recalled that the Pope had also said: “Neither is it just to introduce
surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the
basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and clever
use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to
abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to
life”. The archbishop noted that “the bishops of Ireland . . . have
emphasised how in Ireland both a mother and her unborn child are equally
valued and cherished.”
He quoted Archbishop Martin as having
“stated so well” that “there are no second class human lives, no human
life whose right to life deserves lesser respect of lesser protection”.
also quoted Cardinal Brady,who had said the present time would “prove
to be a defining moment regarding Ireland’s attitude to respect and care
for human life.”
He referred to the cardinal’s hope “that
everyone who believes that the right to life is fundamental will make
their voices heard in a reasonable, but forthright, way to their