As we continue into the season of Pentecost when we think of the Holy Spirit, it is with hope and faith that we approach, as Christian people, our country’s referendum on abortion.
The two Archbishops have made what I consider to be an excellent statement, and I really hope that you will read it, and it is a statement with which I wholly concur. We need to be very aware of the plight of women who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy, and to consider how traumatic that would feel. Yet I do sincerely believe that when a woman is pregnant, that both lives matter. I also feel that the Irish people have been given a very poor choice in this Referendum – it should be a better choice than to live with things unchanged, or to vote to repeal in the knowledge that this will mean ‘’unrestricted access to abortion up to twelve weeks.’ I concur with the Archbishops that this is not an ethical position that we can accept. This is a far cry from the initial consideration of the 8th amendment because of what we would call the ‘hard cases’. I really had hoped that legislators would have been given more restrictive parameters than this, with which I suspect many people of all faiths and none will feel deeply uncomfortable.
In the Church of Ireland, I think that one of our strengths is that we encourage people to think and decide for themselves. Nobody will try to tell you how to vote. What we can do is to give the information that we feel is necessary to be one of the factors that you enlist in order to make an informed decision. It is a complex and an emotive issue, and we need to be people of intelligence and faith as we approach the ballot box. May God guide and direct you as you consider your response,
(This letter appears in the May 2018 edition of Aspire – the Meath and Kildare diocesan magazine)