THE newly installed Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh has hit out at provisions in the Government's proposed abortion legislation.
Archbishop Eamon Martin told a congregation in Dundalk that these provided for the "direct and intentional taking of a human life" and, as such, were "gravely immoral".
He said that the right to life was such an "inviolable right that no individual, no majority and no State can ever create, modify or destroy it", adding that a "massive effort" was being made to produce legislation and systems to make abortion happen.
The new Archbishop was speaking on the last night of a novena at St Patrick's parish in the Co Louth town.
The future leader of the Irish Catholic Church said the direct and intentional taking of any human life "strikes at the very heart of our faith and belief because it directly targets human life, which is sacred and a gift from God".
Addressing the congregation, he questioned why Irish society was now being asked to accept that in order to protect life, another life could be directly and intentionally taken.
Archbishop Martin also questioned why legislators were being asked to accept suicidal ideation as grounds for taking the life of an unborn child.
Referring to a call from the pro-life organisation Previous Life's for the offering up of 40 days of prayer and fasting from the May 12 for the protection of unborn children in Ireland, Archbishop Martin said he supported the initiative.
The Derry-born prelate added that he rejected the notion that faith could be left "outside the room" when considering abortion and the issues that it throws up.