Gravely Immoral In All Circumstances


Not them.

Abortion, silly.

Response by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference to the Report of the Expert Group on the Judgement in A,B and C v Ireland

A society that believes the right to life is the most fundamental of all rights cannot ignore the fact that abortion is first and foremost a moral issue.

As a society we have a particular responsibility to ensure this right is upheld on behalf of those who are defenceless, voiceless or vulnerable. This includes our duty 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.

By virtue of their common humanity the life of a mother and her unborn baby are both sacred. They have an equal right to life. The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother. Where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are morally permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.

Abortion, understood as the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby, is gravely immoral in all circumstances. This is different from medical treatments which do not directly and intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby.

Current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals to apply this vital distinction in practice. This has been an important factor in ensuring that Irish hospitals are among the safest and best in the world in terms of medical care for both a mother and her unborn baby during pregnancy. As a country this is something we should cherish, promote and protect.

The Report of the Expert Group on the Judgement in A, B and C v Ireland has put forward options that could end the practice of making this vital ethical distinction in Irish hospitals.

Of the four options presented by the Report, three involve abortion – the direct and intentional killing of an unborn child. This can never be morally justified. The judgement of the European Court of Human Rights does not oblige the Irish Government to legislate for abortion.

Other aspects of the Report also give rise to concerns. These include, but are not limited to the fact that:

The judgement of the European Court of Human Rights permits options on this matter of fundamental moral, social and constitutional importance that are not offered by this Report.

This includes the option of introducing a constitutional prohibition on abortion or another form of constitutional amendment to reverse the ‘X-case’ judgement.
The Report provides no ethical analysis of the options available, even though this is first and foremost a moral issue and consideration of the ethical dimension was included in the Terms of Reference.
The Report takes no account of the risks involved in trying to legislate for so-called ‘limited abortion’ within the context of the ‘X-case’ judgement.

The ‘X-case’ judgement includes the threat of suicide as grounds for an abortion. International experience shows that allowing abortion on the grounds of mental health effectively opens the floodgates for abortion.

The Report also identifies Guidelines as an option. It notes that Guidelines can help to ensure consistency in the delivery of medical treatment. If Guidelines can provide greater clarity as to when life-saving treatment may be provided to a pregnant mother or her unborn child within the existing legislative framework, and where the direct and intentional killing of either person continues to be excluded, then such ethically sound Guidelines may offer a way forward.

A matter of this importance deserves sufficient time for a calm, rational and informed debate to take place before any decision about the options offered by the Expert Group Report are taken.

All involved, especially public representatives, must consider the profound moral questions that arise in responding to this Report. Abortion is gravely immoral in all circumstances, no matter how ‘limited’ access to abortion may be.

Literally no change there then.


(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

129 thoughts on “Gravely Immoral In All Circumstances

  1. Del McG

    Who better to offer their opinion than a bunch of unmarried, “celibate” men? A great bunch of lads…

    1. Dave, Dublin

      In fairness, the only option they support from the Report of the Expert Group is the drawing up of guidelines, i.e. the option which they can exert most control over.

      Also, spot the outright lies in paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 7.

    2. vegas22

      exactly these people are dopes, why does the church have such a hold in this country, the quicker people learn religion is a load of nonsense the better, the person who is pregnant should be the only one to have a say

      1. arethosemyfeet

        Shock, horror. Catholic bishops attempt to use their influence to dictate the laws of a supposedly secular, 21st century republic.

        1. ABM

          Secular republic? Since when are religious groups suppressed in a republic? Pluralist yes, aggressive secularism; no.

          Anyway, Catholic bishops are perfectly entitled to lobby for moral change in society. If you don’t like that, perhaps Nazi Germany is right up your street. They did a great job at eradicating Catholicism.

          1. droid

            Nazi Germany? Interesting choice there considering the ’33 Reichskonkordat between Germany and the church gave moral legitimacy to the Nazi’s, that the Church remained almost entirely silent about euthanasia for 4 years between 38-42, despite their knowledge of what was going on, the pope’s silence on the murder of millions of Russian’s and Jews, and of course, who can forget the role of the church in funneling thousands of the worst Nazi War criminals to safe havens in South America and the Middle East.

          2. arethosemyfeet

            “Catholic bishops are perfectly entitled to lobby for moral change in society.”

            Of course they are, and it would be great if they actually did!! All they are doing is attempting to keep the same ‘moral’ status quo in place which they were instrumental in creating.

  2. Steo

    I must say, I’m a little bit surprised by the way that Government let this issue linger for so long around the time of the Budget. It’s almost as if they didn’t want us to notice that the Troika has a coathanger in our wombs. And yes, I’m incredibly disappointed with the quality and quantity of the protest signs out there today.

  3. Mittens

    Under no circumstances can we allow any potential for a new Catholic escape our control. We have owned and controlled you people for generations and we’re not about to let our empire slip away.

      1. sickofallthisbs

        You would, you have the IQ of a Pomeranian that has been dipped in lighter fluid and ravished by a chain-smoking flamethrower post nudgie nudgie time.

        I ain’t no troll, you must like Ray D’Arcy as well?

        Both have a lot in common. Sanctimonious, yet pretend to be fair, independent and listen to all sides.

  4. linda

    aGHHHH can take no more of this. why is an unborn baby’s life more important than its mother’s? Why in this day and age should religion have anything to do with law? Most importantly why do I live on this septic isle???

    1. ella

      “The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother. Where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are morally permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.”

      1. Sidewinder

        Bullsh*t. The catholic church has thought for centuries that buttloads of things were more important than a woman’s (and a man’s) body. Not using contraception for example (see maternal mortality rate associated with high number of pregnancies), the importance of finding out whether or not someone is a heretic (see Catholicisim in every century prior to the 20th, and that’s being generous).

        Tell my grandmother’s ruined bladdar and broken heart that the Catholic Church cared about her health (a priest told her she wasn’t allowed to use contraception despite her fragile health, the child she lost and concerns about her husband’s fidelity).

        1. Kim V

          That’s an awful story, Sidewinder. But it’s good you raised it. Because to me the Irish Roman Catholic Church’s ‘stance’ on this is really just the thin, last remaining, end of the horrible wedge wherein the woman’s life was sooooo worthless beyond her uterus. Viz contraception not allowed, viz episiotomies. The Irish RCC has, I’m afraid, a horrifyingly appalling history here. They absolutely value the so-called ‘unborn’ above women, no question. They’ve just learned to hide it better.

    2. BLC

      Linda, they specifically say that the unborn’s right to life is NOT more important than the mother’s.

      1. Sido

        They do indeed – It is NOT more important – it is of EQUAL importance.
        A use of language which allows disgusting Wankers like yourself to talk shite!

        1. Pigeon Street

          Careful Sido, just finished checking my “Pocked Book of Bold Words” to see if use of the word “wankerr” is a sin. I’m afraid you’re going to hell.

        2. BLC

          Calm down, Sido. I was clarifying the quote, not walking in bladed boots across a field of suicidal mothers to anoint the toes of a foetus.

          It’s not the use of language that’s the issue, either. The issue is the fact that they can’t make a moral distinction between a zygote and Christina Aguilera.

    3. Blobster

      You mustn’t have read it right:
      “The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother.”

      Religion has as much to do with the law as trade unionism or environmentalism has.

      As to why you live here. I don’t know. Taytos?

      1. woesinger

        You’re right – religion has very little do with law and ideally should have less.

        Which is why these jokers should be ignored.

  5. Rumpleforeskin

    I’ll be so glad when all of these rotten scumbags have finally disappeared from the country and we can get on with not living under the cosh of ignorance, intolerance, abuse and corruption that have been the mainstay of the Catholic Church for so long…

    1. domquixote

      Only when the last king has been strangled with the entrails of the last priest and all that…

    1. ZeligIsJaded

      A religion, a belief system and an institution?

      Thats pretty impressive for one man!

      We should listen to him

  6. John Joe Brethren

    I wonder who they actually think is listening? I mean, do they actually think that after they publish this opinion the majority of the country will suddenly go, “oh, yeah, they’re right, I forgot. Let’s forget all about this legislating for abortion nonsense. Now where’s me bible?”
    Their days of influence are over, and good riddance.

    1. Blobster

      Bishops speak to the the faithful in their dioceses and anyone else who cares to listen.

      What I want to know is why their media office decided to release this today when everyone is talking about the budget anyway.

        1. woesinger

          Faithful, who include, by the way, members of the medical profession, the judiciary and legislature – who are now forced to weigh their immortal souls (since the faithful believe such things exist) against evidence, their own opinions and conscience, the Constitution and the law of the land, and their professional duties and responsibilities to the people they serve, be those people religious or not.

          And all based on personal belief, remember.
          I choose to believe this, so you have to suffer the consequences, whether you share my belief or not. It’s a wonderful racket, innit?

          1. Blobster

            Every individual is entitled to believe in whatever religion or philosophy they wish – everyone. To argue that judges, politicians or milkmen should carry out their duties devoid of any personality traits, moral code or emotions is absolute nonsense.

            You sound like you won’t be happy until every single decision maker in public life comes off of a conveyer belt, designed and built to have no personal views whatsoever.

            People do believe in things that they sometimes live their lives by, or claim to anyway. That’s the real world my friend. That this is shocking to you and that you is a surprise.

          2. woesinger

            Is it too much to ask in this real world that people do their jobs without imposing their personal religious beliefs on those who do not share them?

            You might imagine that the objects of your belief are very real. But the fact that said objects are a matter of belief rather than evidence or fact should, if you have any humility, clue you into the fact that (a) your belief may be in error and (b) your belief may not be shared by those around you.

  7. arisocrates

    Do the presenters never think to ask the church about their own failings in handling the rights of children? The sheer hypocrisy of the catholic church’s position is surely enough for any interviewer to blow them out of the water.

    As an ‘interest group’ in this issue, they should be laughed at all the way back to Rome

    1. ABM

      Should society “judge”? Is the beloved State you live in squeaky clean in matters pertaining to morals?

      1. woesinger

        Society can and does judge. It’s why we have laws and judges.

        And the State, for all its failings, does not claim to act in the name of a supposedly all-powerful being, who apparently demands to be simultaneously feared and loved on pain of eternal torment, and whose chief mortal representative claims to be infallible.

        The State, unlike the Catholic Church, is answerable to the people.

        The State, unlike the Catholic Church, is a democratic republic.

        So yes, I’ll take my chances with the State any day over your beloved Church.

      1. woesinger

        Many OB/GYNs, embryologists or constitutional lawyers in the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, is there?

        And given their past form in the practical exercise of moral authority, the evidence seems to be that almost everyone seems to know better than the Catholic Church.

  8. ruairi

    they dont view suicide s a threat to the mother’s life?
    is it any wonder that we have such an alarming suicide rate, when idiots like those lads dont take it seriously!!

    1. BLC

      They don’t say that. They say that a suicide provision would “open the floodgates” to abortion on demand. That may not be true, but I’d be interested to see some suggested formulations of the suicide provision which would address the concern.

      1. Jess

        I imagine it’s quite hard to prove beyond doubt that someone is suicidal until they’ve gone and done/attempted it.

        Which is part of why I say bollocks to the suicide rule, just give us abortion on demand and let us sort ourselves out.

        1. JPW

          What do we want? ABORTION
          When do we want it? NOW

          Thats right church folk/youth defence the Irish people want Abortion for all and we will be trusted to use it wisely, we dont need you telling us what to do

          1. Blobster

            “The Irish people abortion for all”

            That’s a complete fantasy you’ve constructed for yourself there. You must realise that, not even in the wildest dreams of pro-choice people, that this isn’t true.

            Judging by recent events and opinion polls, the Irish people want very limited abortion, if any.

  9. ffintii

    A Catholic priest has spoken out in outrage at the man from Cabra who raped and impregnated his daughter.

    “Abortion is a sin.”

      1. woesinger

        You’re right!

        Raping a woman, let alone your daughter, is wrong and forcing her to bear and give birth to her father’s child *if she doesn’t want to* is also wrong.

        1. Sido

          Notice the Pattern here –
          Paedo Priests – NOT OUR FAULT!!
          ITS THE DAFT TWATS (that don’t understand Canon Law).
          Savita H. – NOT OUR FAULT!!
          ITS THE DAFT TWATS (at Galway Hospital who obviously weren’t listening in Mass).
          Vast Moral Outrage – NOT OUT FAULT!!
          ITS THE DAFT TWATS etc. etc.

  10. Pigeon Street

    The Church Has Spoken! No need for any further debate or review of legislation so. We’re lucky to have these men of the cloth who are an authority on EVERYTHING.

  11. JPW

    Who care what a bunch of pedophile protecting goons have to say on this matter. The Catholic Church in Ireland is dying out, thankfully and soon we will live in a secular state where the welfare of all its citizens is protected, regardless of their sex or status.

    All the holy joes can f**k off and live in the Vatican with the Nazi pope and leave the rest of us alone.

  12. Brendan

    They keep trying to suggest that killing the baby is ok if it’s not “direct and intentional”. As a doctor every outcome from your actions is “direct and intentional”. You don’t give treatment and not consider some of the outcomes because you are uncomfortable with them. To me this is a truly bizarre use of la language.

    1. droid

      And calculated. To admit we already have abortion would be to expose their moral hypocrisy and push us officially onto the ‘slippery slope’ to the wanton murder of infants.

      1. arethosemyfeet

        All this ‘intention’ crap that Youth Defence and the Church parrot RE: ecotpic pregnancies etc. is based on 800 year old Catholic theology, specifically Thomas Aquinas and the doctrine of ‘double effect’.

        This is basically linguistic gymnastics to absolve yourself of feeling guilty for allowing something that you’re against in certain circumstances. Nowhere is this shite prevalent in medical or legal terminology about abortion. It is the termination of a pregnancy. End of story.

        1. Jess


          But the Church does love its semantics. Based on yet more waffle from Aquinas, semi-aquatic rodents like capybaras and beavers are considered fish and may be eaten on Fridays during Lent. Because fish live in water, and so do they, ergo capybara = fish. Logic!!

  13. droid

    Why do they bother? They have no moral credibility. The only people who care what they say are the fanatics whose PR they are parroting.

    1. Sido

      Why do they bother? – Well because they are used to telling politicians and the people what to do.

    2. Sido

      In actual fact they are pro-active in their infiltration of the legislature. I note from that Sen Ronan Mullen ( who voted for him)
      is “an independent member of the Irish parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg,”
      So it seems that these Crusaders have sought out the major weak points in our “democracy”.ónán_Mullen

  14. fill3rup

    Covering up mass child rape and murder seems to be ok,that’s wired isn’t it?
    In the womb,defended.out of the womb,prey..

    1. CE

      Well summed up. Could not agree more. I am sick of the Church and this last attempt for control. They have caused more crimes and suffering than any other institution in Ireland and yet they feel they have a say in this?????????????????

  15. Tom

    Who gives a bollocks what the Catholic church thinks anymore. They’re against johnnies but pro-child molestation. F**k them. F**k them all

    1. Tom

      Well the right wingers in FG do, this is their constituency. If you want to prevent your government from capitulating to the these religious extremists you’re going to have to ensure that your voice is heard. Write a letter.

  16. GoodCod

    So abortion is ok when it’s not called abortion?

    A medically necessary treatment that terminates a pregnancy is abortion whatever way the RCC want to word it.

    Even so, those patriarchal old farts have no right to talk of morality. If they had any sort of moral mandate they wouldn’t continue to protect child abusers and move money out of the reach of the government so as not to pay their meagre settlement of 125 million over that abuse.

    Absolute scum.

  17. irlandesa

    Have they ever come out and said “raping children is gravely immoral in all circumstances”?

    Do they fulminate against rapey priests in the same way as they fulminate against women who have abortions?

    Have they ever held a “vigil” outside the home of a rapey priest?

    Just wondering

    1. BLC

      On the contrary. As a canon lawyer, Cardinal Brady swore abuse victims to an oath of secrecy which would have made it a mortal sin to tell the police they were being raped, or to warn other children against the priests involved.

      Lovely fella.

    1. woesinger

      Bisto is immoral, except in limited cases, where the tastiness of your dinner is gravely threatened by the lack of gravy.

  18. PhilJo

    “This includes the option of introducing a constitutional prohibition on abortion or another form of constitutional amendment to reverse the ‘X-case’ judgement.”

    Haven’t we rejected this twice already?
    Perhaps if we had a checkbox amendment
    I vote to allow abortion:
    Where the life of the pregnant woman is directly at risk
    Where the health of the pregnant woman is directly at risk
    Where the life of the pregnant woman is at risk through suicide
    In cases of rape
    Where the pregnant woman is under the age of consent
    At the request of the pregnant woman up to 20 weeks

    And lets see what people actually want, we could then legislate for it some time in the middle of the century

  19. Barton Keyes

    Sigh…..In all circumstances?

    Can we please stop listening to these people?

    I mean, I try to be as liberal as possible in accomodating the opinions of others, but they’re wantonly treating motive and intent as interchangeable terms for one thing. If the known result of an action is termination then one of the intentions of that action is termination, now the motive may be saving the mothers life, termination being an undesired consequence, but if it is an known consequnce it is an intended consequence if the action is taken. So you can play all the principle of double effect word games you like, a medical treatment, the known consequence of which is termination of a pregnancy simply IS an abortion.

    Furthermore the notion that the mother and foetus should possess an equal moral claim is simply absurd. If you’re living and breathing and walking around in the world and know you exist and can fell pain and process it through some combination of nociceptors and a central nervous system that’s sufficently developed and you do all that surviving in a full on bodily independet way, then you’ve a full on right to life.

    If you can’t feel pain, don’t know you exist etc., then who is being harmed in the ceasation of your existence.

    At best we can argue that a potential person is harmed through not being allowed to exist, but the same is true of the millions of sperm that go to waste in every ejaculation. Furthermore even if we propose some sort of proto-rights for foetuses (which I’m not entirely against, see Joel Feinbergs poker analogy; the foetus at 18 might have three of a kind, the mother has a full house, she wins) that’s still not an equal claim; “A potential president of the United States is not on that account Commander-in-Chief”

    Anywho, rant over, roll on another f’ing referendum, so we can just move out of these dark days and on to more important things like actually protecting the people who are already out here, living, breathing and dying.

    “A matter of this importance deserves sufficient time for a calm, rational and informed debate to take place before any decision about the options offered by the Expert Group Report are taken”…….In other words “téigí a chodladh, Eire”

  20. Kim V

    Oh my god. They are unelected mouth-offs. THEY GET NO SAY. Why is anyone, anyone at all, listening to them?

    1. Blobster

      Broadsheet and many of its readers seem fascinated with their ever utterance on this and other issues….if the number of comments is anything to go by.

      1. droid

        To be fair, the spectacle of a morally bankrupt institution wallowing in hypocrisy and arrogance in it’s attempts to preach to the country on social issues is somewhat fascinating.

  21. religionkillspeople

    I wonder how many of the above will still go and get their kids baptised. Vote with your feet people.

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