Saturday, 26 May 2018

Another Massive Rejection of the Catholic Church in Ireland

Greeting the result
Credit: AP
With the result now confirmed, the 'Yes' campaign has scored a stunning victory in their campaign to legalise abortion in the Republic of Ireland.

The result is 66.4 : 33.6 in favour of replacement of the 8th amendment - article 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution - which forbids abortion in almost all circumstances, with one which reads “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”

According to this report, the Irish government has already said it will bring legislation before the Dail which will allow abortion on demand up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy, with a compulsory 3-day 'cooling off' period before the procedure is performed. Between 12 and 24 weeks, it will be permitted for cases of fatal foetal abnormality, a risk to a woman’s life or a risk of serious harm to the health of the mother. After 24 weeks, termination will be possible in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

There’s a lot of celebration and jubilation. We have a lot of people who have been affected by this eighth amendment basically saying how this is a new dawn for Ireland. This is a new day. This is desire among the people of Ireland, particularly among the young people, particularly among women, that they want to change the world.

Sabrina Ryan, Yes campaigner
The risk of serious harm to the health of the mother includes risks to her mental health. If this is interpreted the way as it is in the UK, in effect, all a woman has to say is that she believes she would be unable to cope. The medical profession in the UK regard this as sufficient evidence to believe there is a serious risk to her mental health.

There will also be provision for medical staff to opt out of providing abortion services but they will have to transfer their duty of care for the woman to another doctor. They will not be able to simply turn their back and refuse to refer her to another doctor, so will be unable to insert their religious belief into her health care or veto her request on religious grounds.

I have a 19-year-old daughter and now I know that she will live life in an Ireland that is more inclusive and compassionate and caring.

Eimear Farrell, Yes campaigner
This vote is another massive rejection of the power and moral authority of the Catholic Church in Ireland on a scale even greater than the vote to legalise same sex marriages a few years ago. Where once the power of the church was such that no government would dare try to go against the dictates of Rome, Ireland is now almost totally transformed into a modern, secular European state. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, is openly gay, same-sex marriages are legal and supported by the vast majority of people and now the right to abortion will be broadly in line with the rest of Western Europe, save only for that little enclave of religious bigotry, Northern Ireland.

The result has revealed yet another shift in Irish opinion, in what the Toiseach has hailed as a 'quiet revolution'. What the same-sex marriage referendum revealed was a split between urban and rural Ireland with rural Ireland still retaining some of the old Catholic conservatism. That now appears to have largely disappeared with a clear majority in favour or repeal in virtually all demographic groups - age, gender, constituency and urban type. The only exception being the county of Donegal - that part of the Republic that extends north of Northern Ireland - which was the only constituency to vote 'no'. The result almost exactly reverses the 1983 vote which inserted the clause in the constitution in the first place.

Starting with the clerical child abuse and cover-up scandals and continuing through the Magdalene Laundries scandal where babies were taken from their mothers and sold and the women were turned into slave labour by the 'Sisters of Charity' Catholic nuns, the Tuam Mother and Baby Home scandals where Bon Secours Sisters again sold babies illegally, systematically abused the women and when their babies died, often of disease and malnutrition, disposed of them by throwing them into a disused septic tank, the Catholic Church has been revealed as hypocritical and uncaring, having scant regard for human life and human dignity and concerned only with it's own narrow self-interest.

Where once it could bring plans for a limited government-run health service to a shuddering halt, with a letter to be read from every pulpit, and could demand and get a special place in Irish life guaranteed by the constitution, it has now been condemned in parliament by the the Toisech, Enda Kelly, in such strong terms that the Pope recalled the Papal Legate from Dublin, forced to offer grovelling apologies for the behaviour of it's priests and nuns and now gives the kiss of death to any political campaign by supporting it.

Once the most Catholic and conservative of countries, Ireland has seen the largest decline in church attendance and affiliation in Europe and now records levels of support for secular humanism and Atheism that would gladden the heart of many a campaigner against religious interference in public affairs. Ireland is now recruiting so few seminarians to train for the priesthood that it can't hope to replace the priests lost by natural wastage.

Ireland is turning its back on the primitive superstitions of a bygone age and is joining the rest of secular Europe, not reluctantly but with enthusiasm.

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1 comment :

  1. How wonderful, and how invigorating and refreshing. One in eye for Catholicism and 'Da Poppa'. My dream: The whole Catholic edifice will collapse leaving millions of people to think for themselves. Now wouldn't that be a thing?


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