Catholic Comment News
Right to Life resources
Recent weeks have seen important messages and homilies from Church leaders on the inherent dignity of every human life. Excerpts from some of these messages have featured in some media reports.
The links below are provided as a resource to highlight the consistent teaching of the Church on the dignity of human life. Pope Benedict's words highlight the seamless link between human rights, peace, justice and the care for all whose lives are vulnerable.
This has been a consistent approach in the life and mission of the Church.
Advent 2012 Reflections of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on the Right to Life
"Stressing the equal dignity and right to life of the mother and of her unborn child is also a strong affirmation of the fact that there are no second class human lives, no human life whose right to life deserves lesser respect or lesser protection. Any society which attempts to define certain lives as being of lesser worth and of lesser protection betrays the common good. All should be equal before the law. That is a fundamental principle of our Constitution – and indeed of democracy – to be maintained and protected."
Full text of Archbishop Martin's Advent reflection available here
Pastoral Letter from Bishop John Buckley on the Right to Life
"We read in the Old Testament: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I sanctified you' (Jeremiah 1:5). The child in the womb must enjoy the same rights as all other people, among which is the unassailable right of an innocent person to life. This includes our responsibility as a society to defend and promote the equal right to life of a pregnant mother and the innocent and defenceless child in her womb when the life of either of these persons is at risk. They have an equal right to life..."
Full text of Bishop Buckley's 12 December 2012 Pastoral Letter available here
Pope Benedict's Message for the 46th World Day of Prayer for Peace
"The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end. True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent. Life in its fullness is the height of peace. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life." (paragraph 4)
"There is a need to renounce that false peace promised by the idols of this world along with the dangers which accompany it, that false peace which dulls consciences, which leads to self-absorption, to a withered existence lived in indifference. The pedagogy of peace, on the other hand, implies activity, compassion, solidarity, courage and perseverance." (paragraph 7)
Full text of the Holy Father's message (published 08 December 2012) available here
Statement issued by the four Archbishops of Ireland
(in response to the decision by the Government to legislate for abortion)
"The lives of untold numbers of unborn children in this State now depend on the choices that will be made by our public representatives. The unavoidable choice that now faces all our public representatives is: will I chose to defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb in all circumstances, or will I choose to licence the direct and intentional killing of the innocent baby in the womb?"
Full text of the Archbishops' statement of 18 December
(and two previous statements) available here
Archbishop Charles Brown's homily for World Day of Prayer for Peace
"Human progress happens when we truly acknowledge the intrinsic value of every human being and also recognize that in the human heart there is the awareness of a natural moral law, which is present in a person as a fundamental sense of what is right and wrong, even before a person has any faith in God or any religious instruction or training.
"Pope Benedict also gives special attention (in his message for World Day of Prayer for Peace) to the question of the right to life of a baby in the womb of his or her mother. The World Day of Peace is not simply about preventing war between nations. It is also about calling attention to the need for a compassionate and truly peaceful society, in which everyone’s right to life is respected."
Full text of the Apostolic Nuncio's homily on 01 January 2013 available here
Pope Benedict's Address to member of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See
"The building of peace always comes about by the protection of human beings and their fundamental rights. This task, even if carried out in many ways and with varying degrees of intensity, challenges all countries and must constantly be inspired by the transcendent dignity of the human person and the principles inscribed in human nature. Foremost among these is respect for human life at every stage...
"I must note with dismay that, in various countries, even those of Christian tradition, efforts are being made to introduce or expand legislation which decriminalizes abortion. Direct abortion, that is to say willed as an end or as a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law. In affirming this, the Catholic Church is not lacking in understanding and mercy, also towards the mother involved. Rather, it is a question of being vigilant lest the law unjustly alter the balance between the right to life of the mother and that of the unborn child, a right belonging equally to both."
Full text of the Holy Father's address on 07 January 2013 available here
Address by Most Rev Christopher Jones on behalf of the Irish Episcopal Conference to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children
"As a Church we will continue to provide every care and support we can to women facing difficult decisions in pregnancy. We will continue with others to try to build a just, compassionate and caring society. We will continue to ask the people in our parishes to pray for a society which cherishes and respects the precious gift of life from the first moment of conception to natural death. The right to life does not depend on our physical or mental state. It does not depend on our religious faith. It is a natural and inviolable right that no individual, no majority and no State can ever create, modify or destroy."
Full text of submission on 10 January 2013 to the Oireachtas Joint Committee available here
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's request to priests and support for Vigil for Life