The bishops - no more credible on abortion than on divorce referendum


In the week before the 1995 divorce referendum the catholic bishops put out a statement commanding their flock to vote No. The WSM reacted to this by putting up posters reading 'The bishops; They hid priests who raped children and now they want to lecture us about morals.." illustrated with a photograph of Father Brendan Smyth who had raped at least 143 children and whose religious order had hid these actions from the police. The enquiry had found that "..despite knowing his history of abusing children, the Norbertine religious order moved Smyth to different dioceses where he abused more children.."

Fast forward to 2018 and nothing has changed, now the catholic bishops are ordering their flock to vote No in the referendum to repeal the article in the Irish constitution that means people lose control of their medical care, including abortion access, as soon as they test positive for being pregnant. It's more than a referendum on abortion access. Individual priests are going further and lecturing their congregations that those who vote Yes will be excommunicated. And at the same time it has emerged that church practise continues to cover up for priests who rape children when the admit this in the confessional.

This is also happening in a context where organisations in receipt of charitable funds who have displayed murals advocating a Yes vote have been ordered to remove them or face losing that status. Yet the biggest beneficiary of charitable status, the catholic church is allowed to threaten people to try and force them to vote No without fear of sanction.

See the report in todays Times

Wiki page on Brendan Smyth

WSM page on the referendum & 8th amendment