As we awake to the reality that Irish people have voted by a significant majority for abortion, my thoughts go out to the thousands of good people, across our Diocese and across the nation, who worked so hard to protect the right to life both of women and their unborn children. I include among them our clergy who have sought to offer pastoral leadership. Huge numbers of you, motivated by real compassion, also voted No. I share your sadness.
There will be plenty of time for analysis in the days ahead. For now, I want to encourage you with the thought that what was true yesterday remains true today. Every human being without exception has an inherent right to life which comes from God, in whose image we are all made.
In many countries where abortion has been legal for years Christians continue to bear faithful witness. That hope must inspire us now as we proclaim anew the Gospel of Life, both in the political arena and in the renewal of our pastoral outreach. As Church we will continue to explore effective ways to support women and their unborn children, families in difficulty and women who have had an abortion. I will be inviting people to actively engage in conversation about the shaping of that pastoral outreach in the coming months. We also need to find new ways of helping Irish women and men in this generation to rediscover the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.
St John speaks of Jesus as “a light shining in the darkness; a light that the darkness cannot overcome” (Jn. 1). My prayer for you is that the light of Christ will fill your hearts, especially in these days, so that you in your turn may be “a light to the world”. (Mt. 5)