Catholic Church to be vocal in debate on family bill
The Catholic Church has signalled it intends to make its voice heard in the debate on the Children and Family Relationships Bill.
Bishop Kevin Doran, the bishops' spokesman on bioethics and a member of the council for marriage and the family, told the Irish Independent that the Church will seek to make a contribution to the discussion around the bill, once it is published later this week.
"Just as the Church will speak out on other issues of public policy, such as homelessness, poverty and racism, so the Church will seek to make its voice heard on what it considers to have a significant impact on the stability of family life, which is so essential to the common good," the Bishop of Elphin said.
The bill will allow for parental rights to be given to different types of couples including those who use assisted human reproduction, same sex couples and parents who are with new partners.
On assisted human reproduction, Bishop Doran said the Church has consistently pointed to the need for legislation in this area.
But he highlighted that the Church's concern is that such legislation should focus on children as persons in their own right, rather than on the need of adults to have children
"I would be concerned that the Children and Family Relationships Bill seeks to redefine the meaning of parenthood and, in so doing, seems designed to prejudge the outcome of the forthcoming referendum on the meaning of marriage," Dr Doran commented.
"To suggest as some politicians consistently do that there is no connection between the two simply doesn't make sense."
Separately, a spokesman for the new lobby group, Mothers and Fathers Matter (MFM) said their overriding concern with the bill is that it "intentionally and systematically destroys the preference for motherhood and fatherhood in adoption law".
Professor Ray Kinsella told the Irish Independent that the bill also undermines this preference in regard to assisted human reproduction.
"It is worth noting that laws in other countries that have to do with IVF do recognise a child's right to a mother and father in the first instance. Therefore, only male/female couples can use IVF," he said and cited Italy and Germany as examples.
"While the child will now have a right to know their genetic parents at 18 - so much of the potential relationship will be lost during their growth."