Home Columnists Fr Paddy: A time to vote No …

Fr Paddy: A time to vote No …

The forthcoming referendum on May 25th is fast approaching. A referendum, that calls us to reflect upon issues, that are often deeply sensitive, personal and yet so very important for the heartbeat, of a Republic, whose witness of resilience and courage, protects the many not the few.

A Republic, whose constitution values vulnerable citizens, including beautiful babies, alive and growing in their beloved mothers wombs.

Babies in the womb who are real people, babies in the womb are by the vast majority loved and cherished.

Babies in the womb, are living lives growing, developing, unique human beings, whose lives will continue what’s best and cherished on this beloved Island, our unique optimism, entrepreneurialism, literary genius, humour, culture and above all an identity that always walks in the pathway of hope and compassion.

Our DNA is deeply spiritual, we find meaning and purpose in God, whose presence is all embracing. This is best told by St. Patrick; “Christ be before me, Christ be behind me…”.

My late mother, proudly reflected aloud that the greatest miracle she encountered, was the first time she felt the life of her baby in her womb. I am sure that the first flutter of life, felt in the womb, continues to be a source of great hope and expectancy as women welcome new life with a sense of joy and responsibility.

Responsibility, the vast majority of women I know, refrain from alcohol, nicotine and most medications whilst carrying their baby in their womb. Safeguarding the health of both mother and child is the constitutional protection of life in the Eight Amendment. Both lives matter. The mother’s health and safety is and will always be a priority when medical decisions are necessary to save life.

Both lives have protection in our constitution. This is a fundamental human right. The right to life is a sacred gift called humanity. This gift carries in our constitution presently no prerequisites; gender, orientation, creed, colour, socio-economic, intellectual or physical challenges. Life is a gift for all.

From the cradle to the grave, from the womb to the tomb and as a Christian, from conception to eternal life. I humbly believe that unrestricted abortion up to twelve weeks of pregnancy is alarming and makes us deeply uncomfortable.

I am not naïve,  I work in a ministry that listens, often with deep compassion and confidentiality, not every baby is warmly welcomed. There are many women who do not, or perhaps could not, for many complex and deeply personal reasons allow her baby life in the womb.

I have ministered and listened to many such testimonies and always felt a deep emotional wound buried in sadness and pain. Pain, for a life loved and deeply cherished and lost to what might have been,……if only.

We must never condemn nor judge but offer much more support and loving alternatives to women who privately feel isolated, alone and vulnerable in a time of crisis. Trust women,  because my soul tells me too, so too did our loving God trust women first, God chose a vulnerable young woman to nourish his son Jesus Christ.

This week our Minister for Housing was busy canvassing to repeal the Eighth Amendment, such irony! The fastest growing homeless citizens in this Republic are children from the age of 0-4. Babies leaving the warmth of their mothers to find no shelter or place called home.

I ask if this homeless issue, a national emergency, should not prioritise the agenda of  the Government’s responsibility. After all people have the right to shelter…not just in the womb. We all must have a place called home in 2018.

I, like tens of thousands of citizens, find it so unpalatable that our Minister of Children, is so vociferous in advocating abortion, of living beautiful children in their mother’s womb.

It is easy to condemn the horror of yesterday, including a church that alienated and stigmatised single parents and even children with profound needs, but this attitude is totally unacceptable in a progressive Republic.

I am, after much reflection and conversations with so many brothers and sisters of our shared humanity, am absolutely voting NO to this  referendum. Where there is life there is always a way forward.

The most vulnerable of our society, not the political elite or secular media, need our support. That’s why I and my sense the majority of this noble Republic will vote NO. Every life is a gift. That’s why I encourage you to note NO.

SEE ALSO – Fr Paddy: Remove any ‘fear of holiness’

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Fr Paddy is a curate in the hugely vibrant Portlaoise Parish. From Carlow town, he was educated in Carlow CBS and studied Business and Politics in Trinity College Dublin before training to be a priest in Carlow College. He is the youngest priest in the Kildare & Leighlin diocese and writes for a number of media outlets. He has almost 14,000 followers on Twitter.