You simply cannot get around it.
Today, the headline on the homepage of one of our national newspaper detailed the story of Cardinal Sean Brady and his threats to excommunicate ministers who are in favour of legislating for the X case. It stated that Brady would find this legislation to be immoral, and that the people cannot give the power to the government over the right to life. Interestingly, the cardinal mentioned that we do not have the right over the beginning or ending of life, which is rather insensitive given the recent trial in the Supreme Court for Marie Fleming. But then, when have the Catholic Church ever shown sensitivity in cases that they find immoral?
I couldn’t even begin to explain just how hypocritical it is for this man, this celibate cleric to think that he has a say in X case legislation. This is a man who stood over and actively covered up the systematic rape and abuse of children by priests. I am sick and tired of the pardoning that goes on in this country with regard to clerical sex abuse. The way in which the hierarchy of the church is structured allowed this kind of abuse to take place, and it is because of the same structure that the abuse was covered up.
Brady’s reasoning in opposing the legislation currently being debated in government is that it is tantamount to evil, and we must “oppose evil” as well as encouraging that which is good. He assumes so arrogantly that the entire country subscribes to the morality of the Catholic Church, and that no other morality, objective or otherwise will suffice. And he is simply wrong on that point.Not once, but twice, the Irish people have spoken on this issue. Twice, they have voted in favour of legislation that allows a pregnant woman to be given an abortion in cases where there is a substantial risk to her life, including suicide. As Sinéad Kennedy put it to Peter Mathews on Vincent Brown recently “You simply cannot get around that”. Cardinal Brady seems to think that the only morality is his morality. He would do well to excommunicate more than half the electorate if he believes them to be so evil, for it is they who have demanded this legislation.
Interestingly enough, Brady seems to be completely ignoring the fact that the legislation already exists, and all that is happening is codification and clarification. We are simply outlining the specifics that are required for the existing legislation to be acted upon, in an effort to save women’s lives. The fact that it has taken 21 years for this to happen is an absolute disgrace, and the fact that a Catholic Cardinal who covered up the rape of children in the same time period believes that he is qualified to instruct the government on morality is, at first, laughable, but after that, abhorrent. He has demonstrated a total lack of moral judgement and yet he feels that he can re-align the moral compass of not only the government, but the Irish people. At this point, I’m finding it very hard not to break into sentences consisting only of expletives.
The Catholic Church are not concerned with morality, they are concerned with control. Not a single member of the Third Reich were excommunicated. Hitler was not excommunicated. They are an organisation riddled with paedophiles and abusers, and are obsessed with overseeing the sexual behaviours of others. Up until the 1980s, they believed they had the authority to instruct people not to use contraception, and in doing so were expressing control over the reproductive systems of the nation. Families who had a gap of more than a year between children could expect a visit from the parish priest questioning their activity. Women were but vessels to deliver more souls, and their attitude has not changed. They are as morally misguided now as they were then.
The Catholic morality, whatever that may be, is simply not the morality that the people of Ireland want to subscribe to in this case. Twice they have spoken on the issue, and twice they have asked for abortion on the grounds of suicide as a bare minimum. The absolute nonsense and pseudoscience that is being touted by politicians is, in my opinion, just a hurdle, and it will be overcome. All we are doing is codifying and clarifying an already existing constitutional right. To let the Catholic Church have an influence on this issue would be to do a disservice to the Irish people. We have overcome the Church assuming that they can dictate their morality to the nation, and we must continue to overcome it. We don’t allow them to dictate to legislators about contraception, Monty Python films, literature, clothing, music, or anything else anymore, and I would be thoroughly disgusted if we took their word on their supposed moral superiority on this issue.