Sunday, May 5, 2013

For The Record

My homily at Masses today. I am posting it for your information and as a record should it be reported on.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Acts 15:1-2,22-29; Apocalypse 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29

Our Lord’s words in the Gospel are truly comforting today. As he asks us to keep his word, he promises to send the Advocate – the Holy Spirit, to teach us, guide us and help us. We can then have peace in our hearts for God is with us. With this beautiful teaching Jesus continues his reflection on love. Last week he commanded us to love and offered himself as an example for us, showing us how to love. Today he fleshes out that command and shows how, in practical terms, we show our love for God: by keeping his word – his teachings and commandments. To love as Christians, then, is simple: to love our neighbour as Christ loved us –embracing sacrifice and being concerned for their salvation; and loving God by keeping his word – following his teachings, living his commandments. If we do this, then life is ours. St John of the Cross once said that in the evening of life we will be examined on our love – if we listen intently to the Lord today and do what he says, then we shall pass that exam and enter into life.

Of course as Christians living in the world we know that is not easy, and that is why Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit and the help he wishes to give us. In our lives we will meet many challenges, and each of these challenges is an opportunity to live what the Lord asks. At times we will have to pay a price to do so – in worldly terms, but in terms of eternity we earn a heavenly reward. We are living through one such challenge at this time: now we find ourselves facing the reality that the direct and intentional killing of a child will be enshrined in the laws of this land.

During the week the draft legislation for the introduction of abortion was published and despite assurances from the government, in reality this legislation is the first step in the introduction of abortion on demand – as inadvertently revealed by two TDs. I would urge you all to read the legislation. But in summary there are many difficulties with this bill not only for unborn children and women in crisis, but also for religious freedom. First of all we need to bear in mind that many legal figures have told us that there is no need for this legislation – clarification of procedures will help protect women in difficult medical situations. Despite what pro-abortion groups claim, abortion is never medically necessary to save a woman’s life. Just a few weeks ago our nation’s doctors confirmed this, and rejected the idea of legislation. Even more recently one third of our psychiatrists issued a joint statement rejecting the idea that abortion was a solution to a pregnant woman contemplating suicide – objective research and experience show that abortion actually increases the risk of suicide. Yet the government, for some reason, has chosen to ignore the advice of the experts in this area. This legislation is not necessary and is not based on legal, medical or psychiatric grounds – it seems to be a purely ideological exercise.

There are other issues. Under this law abortion will be permitted up to birth. All hospitals which deal with obstetrics will have to perform abortion regardless of ethos – in other words this law will force Catholic hospitals and institutions to carry out abortions. Doctors, nurses and midwives may avail of a conscience clause but only if they themselves arrange for others to replace them – that amounts to cooperation in abortion. However administrative and ancillary staff are not covered by the conscience clause, and so they will be forced to cooperate materially with abortion. These are just a few concerns.

This act, it is obvious by reading it, is the first step to more liberal provisions for abortion, as we see happened in Britain and other places. It is obvious too that a Catholic cannot support this legislation and remain in good standing in the Church – to vote for this bill constitutes a grave sin and if not repented may well lead to canonical penalties. In their statement the Bishops have described this bill as "morally unacceptable" and it is.

As a pastor of souls speaking to my brothers and sisters in the Christian faith I want to remind you that as citizens of this republic you have the right to make your views known to your elected representatives. As men and women who believe in the cause of life, for mothers and babies, and learning from medical science that one life need not be destroyed to save another, we acknowledge that there is another way. I would urge you to do what you can for the cause of life so this legislation does not become the law of the land. Let us listen to the Lord’s word on the sanctity of human life, on the little children. Like the Hebrews in the desert, Ireland now faces a choice: life or death. Let us choose life

No comments:

Post a Comment