Catholics urged to speak out against 'evil' abortion ahead of referendum by Archbishop Eamon Martin
Catholics have been urged to speak out against abortion by Archbishop Eamon Martin.
Dr Martin used his New Year pastoral message to say that he feels the unborn must be protected as he called abortion "evil."
As we prepare to vote on whether to keep or repeal the Eight Amendment - which gives equal rights to the mother and foetus - the Primate of All Ireland used his New Year pastoral message to make his stance on the issue clear.
He said today: "The innate dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death, is a value for the whole of society, rooted in reason as well as in faith.
"The Catholic Church, in common with many other people of goodwill, teaches that ending the life of an unborn child, like the taking of any other innocent human life, is always evil and can never be justified."
Dr Martin called on people to speak to their loved ones and public representatives about the divisive issue.
"Brothers and sisters I encourage you to be missionaries for the cause of life. Remember those words of Pope Francis: 'To serve human life is to serve God.'
"Speak to your families, your children and grandchildren, friends and colleagues about cherishing the precious gift of life at all times from conception to natural death. Speak the truth about life, and speak it with love.
"Despite the strong pressures to remain silent, do not be afraid to witness to the equality of all life in private conversations and public discussions in the coming months.
"As citizens committed to the Common Good, you have a democratic right to make your views known, respectfully, to our public representatives."
Dr Martin said that under Catholic teaching medical intervention that may put a foetus at risk is acceptable when the mother is seriously ill and only when every effort has been made to save both her and her baby.
He said: "Both lives deserve protection from the tragedy and irreversible decision of abortion.
"It is falsely claimed that wide access to abortion will mark Ireland out as a 'modern' country, placing the needs of women 'at the centre'.
"Abortion ends the human life of an unborn girl or boy. It deceives women - and men - by creating a culture where the decision to end the life of an unborn child is portrayed as simply a matter of individual 'choice'."
He also said that more must be done to improve our maternity services and to support pregnant women.
He said: "We should focus our energies and resources on making Ireland the most welcoming country in the world for a woman and her baby in the womb.
"Our doctors, nurses, midwives and other care professionals have already helped to earn Ireland’s place as one of the safest countries in the world for mothers and their babies during pregnancy.
"Ireland now has an opportunity to give even stronger witness that: we value all life equally; we care for the weakest and smallest, the strongest and healthiest, the youngest, the oldest, and the whole wonderful and beautiful spectrum of life in-between."