A CORK East TD has called on the Catholic Church to clarify its position on excommunicating politicians over abortion legislation, amidst claims that pro-life campaigners have distributed leaflets branding him a 'baby killer'.
Tom Barry (FG) this week told The Corkman that he is pro-life but that, as a legislator, he is compelled to provide legal clarity for doctors following the Supreme Court ruling on the 1992 X Case.
Deputy Barry described the Church's stance on the issue as "unfair."
"The legislation is very restrictive; in fact, it's possibly more restrictive than the status quo that has existed and the uncertainty up to now, but unfortunately the Church has taken a really, really hard line and an unfair stance," said Deputy Barry.
"I'm waiting for Cardinal Brady or whichever one of them who stated it, to come out and emphatically state that TDs will not be excommunicated. That was put out into the ether.
"I don't profess to be any more pious than anybody else, but certainly I am religious. I was really, really hurt to feel I was even being chosen out to be excommunicated, never mind to be excommunicated.
"I have youngsters going to Communion and Confirmation, I didn't get elected to be excommunicated. I think it is a sad reflection that the Church would have to be so determined to say that. I've had priests come into me and give out about the legislation and I've asked them did they read it and they've said no," Deputy Barry told The Corkman.
He said that there needs to be a separation of Church and State.
"We have a situation where if you go to mass now and you're a TD you nearly keep your head down, nobody wants to be picked out and nobody wants to have their own spirituality questioned in front of an audience," he said, clarifying that he had not been singled out during mass.
"There's a possibility there's a lot of preaching coming from the pulpit and the problem is that while I myself might stand my ground, if I have a young family with me that's a different matter, a completely different matter.
"In my local community I had the pro-life handing out pictures of myself and David Stanton with 'baby killers' written on it. What's all that about? This is not the way to do rational argument."