The abortion debate

THE comments by Fr Tony Flannery about the Catholic Church’s criticism of the Government and the bizarre veiled threat of excommunication of legislators who may vote in favour of the Abortion bill should be noted.

THE comments by Fr Tony Flannery about the Catholic Church’s criticism of the Government and the bizarre veiled threat of excommunication of legislators who may vote in favour of the Abortion bill should be noted.

Fr Flannery states: “The bishops are not facing reality. They are blaming the Government for bringing abortion into Ireland, but in actual fact it was the Supreme Court that made the decision. Perhaps they need to take a step back and look at this from the perspective that it may be the least worst option for those who oppose abortion”.

This is exactly the point. The Supreme Court gives rulings on what the law of the land should be. It does not take into account the moral law of a particular religious faith. It cannot do that. Church and state are separate. One cannot coerce legislators on an issue of morality because that in itself is immoral.

The Catholic bishops have a duty to guide Catholics but they cannot guide the Supreme Court.

And as Fr Flannery points out, the fact that the decision has come from the Supreme Court let’s the bishops off the hook. They simply have to guide their flock and accept that this is beyond their powers and “the least worst option for those who oppose abortion”.

Most of us do not want abortion. We feel, as John Updike said, that the universe would be unwitnessed without us and in a real sense not there at all. It exists, incredibly for us, including mothers at risk.