Pope Benedict’s official representative in Ireland has described 2013 as “an incredibly important” year “for the sanctity of human life” and urged people of conscience from all religions and none “to work vigorously and courageously to protect human life from conception to natural death.”
The papal nuncio made the call at a Mass to mark
World Day of Peace, which was attended by President Michael D Higgins,
representatives of the Oireachtas, the European Parliament, diplomats,
members of the papal orders, and the Defence Forces
nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown, gave a ringing endorsement to Irish
bishops’ stance on abortion and described the Catholic hierarchy as
having “spoken with courage and clarity”.
In his homily at the
Dublin parish of St Thérèse in Mount Merrion, the US-born prelate said
World Day of Peace was not simply about preventing wars between nations,
but it also about calling for a “compassionate and truly peaceful
society in which everyone’s right to life is respected”.
Widespread belief in progress, he suggested, was based largely on the
undeniable fact of technological and scientific progress.
However, he said that did not necessarily result in human progress or a
more humane society, which is measured in how human beings treat each
other and societies treat the weakest and most vulnerable. “Human
pro-gress happens when we truly acknowledge the intrinsic value of every
He said there was no pr-ogress when fundamental
rights were denied to human beings or when the natural moral law was
contradicted by man-made laws — a veiled criticism of the proposed
legislation due this year to give effect to the 1992 X case ruling.
Praying for “peacemakers in our very critical time”, he reiterated
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s comment that “there are no second-class
human lives” in support of the Church’s stance on the equal right to
life of the mother and the unborn.
The nuncio also referred
to the call by Cardinal Seán Brady, Primate of All-Ireland, for the
faithful to lobby public representatives on the issue “in a reasonable
and forthright way” and his comment that no government had the authority
to remove the right to life.
Separately, the nuncio, who was
in the US when the Newtown massacre in Connecticut occurred, called for
tighter gun control laws in America.
He told the Irish
Examiner: “It was one of the most horrific things that has happened in
the US for a long time. Obviously anything that can be done to prevent
such things from happening, needs to be done. And if legislation on
better control of firearms can do that, then it certainly needs to be
He acknowledged there were “many things that need to
be re-evaluated in light of this terrible and horrific tragedy”
including violence in society and isolation in modern suburban American