Saturday, January 12, 2013

Priests urged to tell people of major vigil

Priests in Dublin’s Catholic archdiocese have been urged by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to tell parishioners at all Masses this weekend and during the week that various pro-life groups are organising a “Unite for Life” vigil in the city next weekend.

Prayer period 

He has asked the priests also to inform parishioners that in advance of the vigil at Merrion Square next Saturday, there will be a period of quiet prayer in St Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, from 3pm-4pm, which he himself will attend.

He drew the priests’ attention to the prolifecampaign.iewebsite, where, he said, more information about the planned vigil is available.

In an unprecedented move on December 4th last an anti-abortion street protest outside Leinster House, organised by the Pro-Life Campaign, Youth Defence, the Life Institute, and Family Life, was attended by a Catholic archbishop and four bishops. 

They were Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary, Bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce, Bishop of Kilmore Leo O’Reilly, Bishop of Killaloe Kieran O’Reilly, Bishop of Ossory Séamus Freeman and the administrator of Derry diocese Msgr Eamon Martin.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has further asked his priests, “over the coming weeks to draw attention, in an appropriate way, to some basic principles of Catholic teaching concerning the dignity of human life and regarding abortion”.

He pointed out that on the Dublin diocesan website “ample resources prepared by the Irish Episcopal Conference are available”, as were previous statements of his own on the matter.

“The Christian message is a message of life. It is about how every human life is a reflection of the very life of God. Each of us is created in the image of God. Catholic teaching clearly affirms that every human life has unique and irreplaceable dignity. Every human life has the right, from its very beginnings, to flourish and develop as God wants it to,” he said.

He continued: “Any society which attempts to define certain lives as being of lesser worth and of lesser protection betrays the common good. All should be equal in the face of the law. That is a fundamental principle of our Constitution – and indeed of democracy – to be maintained and protected.”

Counselling services 

Compassion and support for women “in difficult situations also belongs to the essence of Catholic teaching.

The Catholic pregnancy counselling service Cura provides advice to pregnant women as well as counselling services to women who have had abortions or who experience difficulties following childbirth,” he said.

A spokesman for the Irish Episcopal Conference said yesterday it was expected other Catholic archbishops and bishops would make similar requests of their priests in the weeks ahead.

He noted a statement by Bishop of Cork Ross John Buckley on December 19th last that “there is no democratic mandate in Ireland to introduce abortion in Ireland against the wishes of the people.”

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