THE unborn baby is often being forgotten in public commentary around repealing the Eighth Amendment.
That’s according to Bishop Brendan Leahy who addressed Limerick Diocese in a letter read out by priests at last Sunday’s Mass across the city and county.
The Bishop of Limerick has invited his congregation to be missionaries for the cause of life and described the possible introduction of a liberal regime of abortion in Ireland that allows abortion in some cases, not just up to 12 weeks, but also right up to the point of birth, as a “pivotal moment for our society and how we cherish life in this country”.
“With all our discussions around the amendment and legislation and what way politicians are going to vote, we can become so distracted that we end up desensitised to the preciousness of the unborn baby,” Bishop Leahy stated.
“It is right to attend with empathy and care to the difficult situations of women faced with challenging circumstances around pregnancy. There are many very articulate voices doing so. We do indeed need to love both mother and baby in pregnancy, but I believe that in our public commentary at the moment we are often forgetting the unborn baby.
“And we are talking about a baby. Make no mistake about it. It is a baby. There is probably none of you who at some stage have not heard excited declarations of ‘we’re having a baby’. We’ve celebrated in that joy. We’ve prayed for the healthy pregnancy, that everything would be ok. Even in our celebrity culture, when news breaks of high-profile pregnancies, the media speaks of ‘she/the couple are having a baby’.”
Bishop Leahy believes it really important for us to affirm that what’s in the womb are babies that are just not born yet. They are not potential persons, he insists, but persons with potential — “they are developing humans”.
“I know from conversations with pregnant women, with couples, of the sense of wonder, joy, excitement, nervousness of what lies ahead. All about the child in their womb. Indeed, many decide not to tell others until they have had their first scan, often because of the nervousness around getting that first glimpse of their baby in the early scan, of finding out is he or she healthy. I’ve had it relayed to me about almost holding their breath with nervous anticipation to hear that everything is ok.
“It all speaks of ‘your baby’ because that is exactly what is developing: a baby.”
by Alan Jacques