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Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory

Bishop’s response to Referendum result

“It has always been my view that the Constitution is not the place to deal with the complex and sensitive issue of abortion, and it is now clear that I share that view with a substantial majority of the electorate. While the decisive result of the referendum is a source of relief to very many, both women and men, I also recognise the integrity and conviction of those within the diocese and beyond whose views were different from my own. This weekend is a time to reflect, to be gentle with each other , and to renew our prayers for all our legislators, that they may proceed from here with integrity and wisdom.

We have certainly reached a decisive moment in the shaping of our society, and it is a moment which challenges us afresh in our understanding of Christian citizenship.  I personally feel a genuine satisfaction at this time to be a citizen of a Republic which faces uncomfortable truths about itself, and which allows women in particular to tell their stories with candour and clarity.

There will be those who will see the referendum result somehow as a rebuke to the voice of faith in our society. I react very differently … I do not sense that as citizens that we are taking leave of our moral compass, or ceasing to recognise the complex balancing of factors that lies at the heart of ethical decision making.  For me, furthermore, there is an exhilarating challenge in presenting the faith in a fresh way to a changing nation. We are now placed in a society which asks hard questions, dislikes hypocrisy and will offer attentive respect only to those who earn it through the integrity, depth and courage of their contributions to public discourse.

Above all,therefore,  this is a time to be positive about Christian citizenship, and as disciples of Christ to reconsider what one of our ancient prayers is requiring of us when it asks that we will be
‘helped to respond to the call of our country’. ”

May 26 2018