Church launches new anti-abortion campaign
The Catholic Church will tomorrow begin a public campaign to oppose access to abortion in Ireland under any circumstances.
A pastoral message is to be read out at Mass opposing abortion and earlier this week all 1,360 parishes north and south of the Border were sent material on the church's opposition to abortion, including homily notes, prayers, and posters.
The move is being seen as the opening salvo in the church's campaign to lobby against access to abortion here.
It follows a promise by Cardinal Sean Brady in August that priests would be provided with the resources to campaign on the issue.
The homily notes have suggested that tomorrow's first Bible reading come from the creation account of life from Genesis. "This provides an ideal context in which to speak of the beauty and sanctity of human life as part of the gift of God's creation," it said.
A prayer card has also been provided for parishioners. Along with a prayer, the card will say: "As science makes clear it is at fertilisation that a new, unique and genetically complete human being comes into existence."
Responding to the planned campaign, Senator Ivana Bacik said she believed that the church's moral power had been "significantly weakened" by the sexual abuse scandals.
"I think it's disheartening that the church still thinks it can dictate to women regarding sexual health matters," she said.
"I think the church should get its own house in order," she added.
The church has also called for a month of prayer dedicated to the theme of 'Choose Life' to begin tomorrow, which it has called 'Day for Life Sunday'.
The literature has told priests that it is not necessary for the Government to legislate for legal abortion in Ireland following the 2010 European Court of Human Rights case against the State.
Instead, it said that the Government "could choose to protect the life of the unborn baby in the womb" by changing the Constitution to set aside the Supreme Court ruling in the 'X-case'.
As part of the campaign, the bishops' conference has also commissioned a website at chooselife2012.ie.
Ms Bacik said that the issues of the 'X-case' have twice been put to referendum and both times Ireland supported safe abortion in the case where a mother's life was at risk.