Thursday 22 February 2018

Bishop warns of Orwellian abortion legislation

Fionnan Sheahan and Sarah MacDonald

THE Government's abortion legislation has shades of George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' about it, a Catholic bishop has claimed.

And one of the Vatican's most senior cardinals also waded into the row over freedom of conscience ahead of the final Dail vote on the abortion legislation.

The Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy last night recalled the Orwellian phrase – "all are equal, but some more equal than others".

He is the latest senior cleric to attack the bill that will be voted on by TDs tonight, following in the footsteps of Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

At a Vigil for Life in St John's Cathedral in Limerick, Bishop Leahy said the bill could enshrine in Irish law, "a hierarchy or a pecking order of human beings based on size in this State".

"The unborn, it appears, are to be afforded little or no legal advocacy on their behalf," he added.

And he pointedly said: "The unborn child in the womb is a human life with potential, not a potential human being."

Meanwhile, the American prelate, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, warned that governments which denied freedom of conscience were guilty of embracing "totalitarianism masking as hope" for the future of their country.

Speaking in Cork, he warned of increasing violations of the right to conscientiously object on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research in what he termed as "so-called free nations".


The cardinal is Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church after the Pope.

He made his comments at a Latin Mass in Cork, where he was attending the Sixth Fota International Liturgical conference.

His comments are seen as directed towards the ongoing debate in Ireland over the Government's Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

In a comment which may have been indirectly aimed at Catholic politicians in Ireland, including the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Cardinal Burke concluded his homily by praying for "our leaders" that they might have a change of heart and not claim "like the false prophets, to be friends of God, while, at the same time, violating grievously the most fundamental tenets of his law."

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News