CARDINAL Sean Brady has urged not only Catholics but "all people of goodwill" across Ireland to oppose abortion and euthanasia.
The Catholic primate used his Easter message as an opportunity to maintain pressure on the authorities over the pro-life issue, echoing his similar message of Christmas.
Cardinal Brady asked "all people of goodwill across Ireland" to "celebrate and cherish the gift of human life in all its stages from conception to its natural end".
It is the second time the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has used a major religious festival to emphasise its opposition to abortion.
At Christmas he urged people to "make their voice heard in a reasonable, but forthright, way" and protest against plans to legislate for the X Case.
"There is no more important value than upholding the right to life in all circumstances," he said. In his Easter message, Cardinal Brady also acknowledged the financial sufferings of families in the ongoing recession.
And he referred to Saint Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, in which "Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures".
In a show of humour, he said it was Gospel "short enough that it can fit into a single tweet".
And he commented that this Easter has been a time of "great excitement" because of the new Pope. Cardinal Brady said he had been privileged to be in Rome during the last days of the papacy of Pope Benedict and the beginning of the papacy of Pope Francis.
He said the Pope, in his first homily, had spoken of the importance of keeping Christ in the centre of our lives and following him on the way of the Cross, noting that this would not always be easy.
Cardinal Brady said the Pope's inspiring words of humility had been supported by his actions – such as the joyful embrace of a man with a disability, and the moving scenes of the Pope washing and kissing the feet of 12 young people in a prison.
These were all "reminiscent of scenes in the Gospels", the Cardinal said.
He said the example given by the Pope presented a challenge to each of us to reach out to those in need.
Meanwhile, he referred to families hit by recession, struggling to make ends meet or those struggling to deal with the tragic loss of a loved one and those struggling with addiction.
As Christians we cling to the hope born in the empty tomb, he said, adding that "darkness will not have the last word".
Meanwhile, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson warned in his Easter message that peace on the island was precious and elusive and "has slipped between our fingers in the past".
He said Christianity was at its most destructive where it "luxuriates in internal division", commenting that this was the "very opposite" of Christ-given peace. Christianity can no longer afford such luxuries, he said.