Now put away the croziers
The bishops have had their say on abortion and should now depart from the public stage. In saying this, we are not opposing the "solemn duty" of our episcopacy to oppose laws that, in their view, attack the sacredness of life.
But our tangled history, where the excessive influence of an over-mighty church has damaged the quality of Irish public life, means that on this occasion Eamon Gilmore was right to respect and then dismiss the Catholic Church's position. Our bishops would do well to let go the apron strings and allow politicians to use their own independent judgement. It is past time Ireland reaches a state of maturity where church and State operate independently and bishops accept they are as obliged as the rest of us to respect democracy and the law.