BISHOP of Kerry Bill Murphy has spoken of his shock at what he claims are elements of the pro-choice movement "hijacking" the recent death of Savita Halappanavar to use the recent tragedy to promote abortion.
Ms Halappanavar died on October 28 in University Hospital Galway following a miscarriage. She died of septic shock and it is understood that doctors had refused to carry out an abortion when the foetus still had a heartbeat.
Speaking on the Horizons radio programme, Bishop Murphy stated that he had the greatest of sympathy for the personal tragedy suffered by Savita's family but added that he rued what had happened in the aftermath of the news.
"I was very surprised and shocked by the efforts of the pro -choice lobby and sections of the media to hijack her tragic death and exploit it to promote their own agenda which is to introduce abortion to Ireland and then lay the blame for her death at the door of Catholic teaching," he stated.
Commenting on the issue, he said it had been the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church that human life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death and therefore the life of the unborn can never be taken intentionally.
"Catholic teaching insists that the lives of the mother and unborn should be cherished equally and that is also what our constitution says," he continued.
"That means that if the life of the mother is threatened by illness or some other medical condition she must be given the medical care needed. In a small number of cases the treatment given may unintentionally result in the death of the unborn child but in such cases the life of the child is not intentionally taken," he added.
Admitting that there were "grey areas" he stated that it was for the medical teams to decide.
"We can't draw conclusions - if we knew what happened there would be no need for an enquiry, so we'll have to wait and see what happened," he added.
Also referring to the X Case, he claimed that if abortion is introduced, "even in a very limited basis", it becomes "widespread, far more widespread that it was initially intended".