By Cian Molloy - 25 May, 2019
Many of those who voted yes in last year’s abortion referendum did so with ambivalence, and may now “not be entirely happy” with their choice, say Bishop Kevin Doran and Fr Dermot Meehan of the Irish Episcopal Council for Life.
In a statement marking the first anniversary of the referendum that removed the constitutional protection of the life of the unborn, the two pro-life advocates reaffirmed belief in the fundamental dignity and right to life of every human being from conception to natural death, saying: “This is not simply a matter of faith, it is what reason and common sense suggest.”
Along with their sadness that the majority of Irish people, for a variety of reasons, voted yes to legalising abortion, the two men also expressed gratitude at the fact that there are many in society who still remain committed to the Gospel of Life.
“The challenge now remains for us, in these changed circumstances, to find new and more effective ways to serve life and to bear witness to the essential goodness and beauty of every life,” said Bishop Doran and Fr Meehan. They say that responding to this challenge is the mission of the Council of Life, which was established by the Irish Catholic bishops in response to last year’s referendum.
“It is a mission that we share with all who recognise the right to life, believers and non-believers alike,” they say. “God, the Creator of all life, constantly offers us an invitation to conversion of heart, an invitation to turn back to or embrace more fully his Gospel of Life, and He reassures us that there is no limit to His love and mercy.
“We encourage all Catholics – irrespective of how they voted – to devote some time today and over this weekend to prayerful reflection about what has happened in our society, especially in the past year.”
In addition to suggesting that people recite a prayer used at the Yes to Life meeting in Rome in May 2019, the Council for Life suggests that prayer be directed towards praying for: the gifts of Wisdom, Right Judgement and Courage, which come from the Holy Spirit; parents who are expecting the birth of a child under difficult circumstances; women who, either in recent months or even many years ago, have had an abortion; doctors and nurses, not only those who generously and unambiguously serve life, but also those who are actively engaged in providing abortion; and for all elected representatives, whatever their personal or political convictions.
Bishop Doran said that our proclamation of the Gospel of life and our witnessing to it in action always begin in prayer to God, who is the giver of life and who calls us to cherish its every moment.
‘Yes to Life’ Prayer
Lord we thank you for the wonderful gift of life!
It is always an amazing mystery for us
to know that you have created us in your image and likeness.
Help us to recognise the beauty of every human life,
To proclaim every day, with words and deeds
An unequivocal Yes to life
Even in the most extreme frailty and every condition or stage of life.
Remove from us the pressure of a throwaway culture,
so that all may come to know and understand
the wonder and uniqueness of life
announced within the womb of every woman;
so that every child can feel loved and embraced
by the tenderness and loving care of the Father
through our hands.
Give us, Lord, the hope to know
within the depth of our hearts
that anguish shall be transformed into joy,
and every tear will be wiped away,
in the fullness of the beatific vision with you.