CATHOLIC leaders have thrown their support behind a special national vigil for mothers and their unborn babies.
As the abortion debate enters a critical phase with the Cabinet discussing the issue at its meeting tomorrow, the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference said it was supporting next Saturday's special vigil at Our Lady's Shrine in Knock, Co Mayo.
Catholics from around the country have been invited to attend the event which begins at 1pm and includes a rosary procession following by Mass.
Cardinal Sean Brady will be the main celebrant at the Mass, during which a blessing of expectant mothers will be given.
The bishops have already thrown down the gauntlet to the Government, warning that any attempt to liberalise abortion law would be opposed.
Last August, Cardinal Sean Brady said it was important as a church "that we prepare with others to defend the equal right to life of a mother and child against any effort to introduce abortion to a country which is one of the safest places in the world for mothers who are expecting a child".
"I believe any attempt to do so, even by way of a ministerial directive, will be vigorously and comprehensively opposed by many," he said.