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Thursday 17 October 2019

Kenny hits out at monsignor claims

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has dismissed comments from a Vatican official saying politicians should resign over the abortion issue
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has dismissed comments from a Vatican official saying politicians should resign over the abortion issue

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has dismissed claims from a senior Vatican official that politicians should resign rather than support Ireland's abortion laws.

A monsignor in Rome called for TDs and Senators to quit as he drew parallels between the contentious reform and Nazism.

But the Taoiseach hit back, warning Catholic hierarchy that it should not interfere in Government business.

"I'm a Catholic and I don't interfere in the messages of the church. I have no comment to make on what the cardinal from the Vatican says," Mr Kenny said. "I set out very clearly what it is we have to do in terms of our constitution and the law, and that's to provide clarity and decisiveness. This is about saving lives, not ending them."

As the Government pushes ahead with plans to legalise abortion where there is a threat of suicide by July, Monsignor Jacques Suaudeau gave an interview to the Irish Catholic newspaper urging politicians to follow their conscience.

"If the Prime Minister as a Catholic doesn't want to impose his belief and the time has come for a more moderate line on abortion, then he resigns," the monsignor said. "If you are faithful to your conviction, then you have to get out."

His remarks come as the Oireachtas Committee on Health published two volumes of evidence it heard over three days on the proposed abortion laws.

Msgr Suaudeau, a scientific director of the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican, added that politicians should not hide behind the claim that they are just doing their job.

"Sometimes people forget Nuremberg. You cannot cover yourself with the cover of party discipline," he told The Irish Catholic newspaper. "Generally, if you are well-known and your party is proposing something that goes against your conscience you need to make it known, you need to speak. Maybe they will ask you to abstain, sometimes people understand that you have an objection of conscience."

Msgr Suaudeau warned practising Catholic politicians who support the abortion changes are pushing themselves out of the church. He said they "cannot live in two houses" when it comes to the contentious issue.

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