Sunday 23 September 2018

Priest criticises Martin and says 'euthanasia of the elderly is next'

Ailbhe Smyth Photo: Mark Stedman
Ailbhe Smyth Photo: Mark Stedman

Laura Lynott

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was criticised over his support for abortion by a prominent priest who works closely with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

Speaking from the pulpit at Mass as St Bernadette's Church in Crumlin, Dublin, yesterday, Fr Brian Lawless told parishioners that repealing the Eighth Amendment, which gives equal status to the right to life of the mother and the unborn, could mean euthanasia would be "next on the agenda".

He said he was "very disappointed" with Mr Martin's decision last week to support repealing the Eighth Amendment, and reminded Catholics it was their duty to speak out against abortion in the run-up to the referendum.

The priest predicted that Repeal campaigners had been so buoyed by recent political backing and by the victory of the marriage equality referendum that their next target would be the euthanasia of the elderly.

Fr Lawless works closely with the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, on the Dublin Diocesan Matt Talbot Committee.

"I'm very disappointed with Micheál Martin and his statement on abortion this week," Fr Lawless said.

"As Christians, we can't support such a move in our society. Many of the alt-left are emboldened by the recent success of the gay marriage referendum and I'm sure it has given great impetus to their cause.

"What's being presented to us in fact is not even about situations of incest or rape, or other situations people unfortunately find themselves in, but rather it's about a blanket law that will introduce abortion up to three months.

"With this emboldened approach, the pro-choice people have probably next on the agenda euthanasia because part of their premise is that because an unborn child is totally dependent for its existence on another individual, therefore it has no right to life.

"The same too can be said of the elderly. How many of us have elderly parents, who are totally dependent on us for their existence? Should they also be discarded and done away with?" he asked. "We have no right to vote as to whether someone should live or die, only God can decide this," Fr Lawless added.

"Because something is put into law doesn't mean it is good, or that it is true, or beneficial to society.

"Take for example the laws in the US and Britain during the time of slavery. Everyone believed they were good laws. They kept people in slavery and it took many centuries to convince the majority how evil and corrupt this law had been.

"Those who propose the repeal of the Eighth Amendment are those who Pope Francis describes as promoting a culture of death.

"Let us not forget also the rights of little girls and boys who will be aborted.

"How many great gifts and geniuses have never entered this world because of our...culture of death?"

Ailbhe Smyth, chair of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, said she was "very disappointed" by the "scaremongering, drama and apocalyptic conclusions" Fr Lawless had drawn.

"I'm surprised and disappointed churches of any faith are making political statements but the coalition does respect the right to express opinions," Ms Smyth said.

"However, we would hope people in positions of influence express opinions that are informed, fact-based and logical, avoiding hyperbole, exaggeration and scaremongering.

Scaremongering

"The scaremongering and drama of what he was saying isn't helpful at all.

"I want to also point out that many of our members are Catholics and they're clear their view is that it's right for us to focus on women's health needs."

Fr Lawless did not return calls from the Irish Independent yesterday.

There was also no response to a request for comment from the Irish Catholic Bishops.

Fianna Fáil refused to comment on Fr Lawless's comments.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section