TDs and ministers in the west and midlands will face calls from the pulpit today not to legislate for the X case in a clear sign from the Catholic Church that it intends to ramp up pressure on the Government over abortion.
As tensions heighten within the two government parties over how to establish the risk of suicide, politicians in Galway, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath will be told at Masses today that abortion is not a solution to suicidal tendencies.
A statement from the Elphin Diocesan Pastoral Council, which advises Bishop Christopher Jones on pastoral issues, will tell legislators that the passing of laws on the X case is not necessary and would effectively mean legislating for abortion in Ireland.
"Legislating for the X case actually means legislating for abortion and is not necessary to ensure women in Ireland receive all the life-saving 'treatment' they need during pregnancy.
"As for a mother with suicidal tendencies, she should receive all the compassion, love, medical and psychiatric care and support possible before during and after the birth of her child. Experts accept that abortion is not a 'treatment' for such suicidal tendencies and that it may even make such painful situations worse," the pre-Lenten message states.
In a direct call to government TDs and ministers, the message to be read out in Catholic churches throughout the diocese of Elphin also states that the council "urges all Catholics in the Diocese of Elphin and all men and women of goodwill to continue to uphold and defend the inherent right to life of the unborn baby. We respectfully call on all public representatives to oppose the Government's proposal to legislate for the X case".
The pastoral message adds: "We implore all to pray to God that He will enlighten, strengthen and inspire those who have the power to stop the introduction of this proposed legislation to do so."