Looking back on 2018 and Repeal the Eight

Looking back on 2018 and Repeal the Eight

Tony Flannery

So we leave 2018 behind us, and look forward to the new year, with both hope and trepidation. 

One of the big events of the past year was, of course, of referendum to repeal the 8th. As I recorded earlier in this blog, I voted Yes, but did so with a fair bit of uncertainty, knowing that whichever way the result came out, I wouldn’t see it as a cause for celebration. It was, for me, a very difficult decision as to how I would vote and in the end I came down on the Yes side because of the fact that I am part of an organisation, the Church, which has over its history oppressed and sidelined women when it came to making important decisions effecting their lives. So I voted for freedom of choice for women, knowing full well that some of the choices that would be made would go against some of my fundamental beliefs.

Now the decision is made, and we move on. My hope is that everything will be done to make abortion as rare an event as possible, so I would like to see a much better quality of sex education in our schools and homes, and contraception being easily available and free. I hope that Church authorities will be sensible and open, and don’t try to block these developments in any way. The traditional Catholic teaching of no sex before marriage is no longer the answer, and would, I believe, bring about more, rather than less, abortions.

I wish people wouldn’t gloat over the referendum result. I find the attitudes of some of our politicians, and some in the media, particularly repellent. Calling the result a sign of a great new Ireland, open and tolerant, compassionate and free, is not accurate.
While I recognise the necessity of having abortion services available in this country, it is also true that it will lead to the unnecessary deaths of young babies, and not always for justifiable reasons. This is not something to celebrate, and describe as a great victory. I know some women have worked hard to achieve this change for many years, and there must be a sense of achievement. That is understandable. But a great many people are also saddened and upset that abortion is now happening legally in this country. Would it be too much to ask some in the public domain to respect these peoples’ feelings and attitudes, and not continuously try to rub their noses in it. And please, could we never again hear that awful phrase, “We won; you lost”, in relation to this. 

The real cause for celebration will be if in a number of years time we can say the following:

  • Abortion only happens when a mother finds herself with no other option, despite there being top-class services available for pregnant women.
  • That respect between the sexes continues to grow, so that there is less and less abuse or violence in sexual relationships.
  •  That more and more people recognise sexual relationships as an expression of affection and love, and act accordingly.

Then we can look back on what happened this past year as one necessary, though difficult, step in bringing about a new Ireland that all of us can really celebrate together.

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  1. Patrick Cummins says:

    Limits to Freedom and limits to Democracy
    I am shocked by the above article penned by Fr Tony Flannery in which he admits voting for and welcoming the Abortion Bill. This Bill is an unrestricted charter for the wholesale abortion of Irish unborn children. For the ACP to publish such an abject betrayal of Irish babies is itself a travesty of justice.

    The ACP must bear in mind that there are limits to ‘Democracy’ and limits to ‘Freedom’. One person’s freedoms cannot impose undue burdens upon other persons. The establishment of new rights for some people is not legitimate if they become burdensome duties for other people. One person’s rights cannot become another person’s duty. One person’s liberty stops where another person’s liberty begins.

    Legislators do not have a right to simply grant freedoms, they can only recognize freedoms when those freedoms do not impose undue burdens on other groups and it is incumbent on legislators to identifying any potential undue burdens that may arise in this process. It very sad that one of the founders of the ACP Fr Flannery shows such a lack of moral and legal judgment in penning such a piece.

    Even if 66% of people vote to allow a choice to kill by abortion pastors cannot support the majority to impose on the minority such undue burdens. Abortion the freedom granted to abort places an undue burden on the baby to die. The fact that the victim cannot defend himself or herself does not negate their natural right to life. The ACP in publishing such an opinion piece is acting as a cheerleader for what can only be described as the tyranny of the majority.

    Such proposals should not be put to a vote for the same reason that the government should prohibit a ballot that would allow ethnic cleansing – driving ethnic minorities out of the country – legalising eugenics or euthanasia – depriving minorities of property rights or allowing a private army to persecute sections of society. The referendum on abortion obviously supported by Fr Flannery and not opposed by the ACP was touted by many and as a democratic exercise but was in fact a perversion of democracy, an abomination of justice.

    All members of the human family possess in themselves by virtue of their existence alone the inalienable rights to life, liberty, including freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of association etc. as was outlined in Articles 40 to 44 of our constitution.
    No government gives inalienable rights and no government can take them away without making a mockery of justice. The most fundamental bedrock of all is THE RIGHT TO LIFE.

    No Government – no Citizens assembly – No Court – & No Referendum and no Association of Catholic Priests can justly support removal of inalienable rights from any section of the human family. Unjust Laws are not laws but are a perversion of Law. In the case of severe injustice which will be meted out on a daily basis to unborn babies, tolerance is not justifiable. Unjust laws cannot be accepted out of respect for the Dáil, the courts or the will of the people. Not alone do we have a right to oppose unjust laws we have a moral duty to do so.

  2. mary cuffe says:

    reply from mary cuffe
    Tony Flannery wrote the above article which to my mind supports
    a regime that finances the annihilation of innocent unborn babies
    and he did it within a few days of the feast of the Holy Innocents

    Mary Cuffe

  3. Brendan Cafferty says:

    Patrick @1 above. A lot of people who voted to remove the 8th are against abortion. The 1983 Amendment was ill thought out,as it is impossible to insert into a Constitution all the exceptions,and nuances that go with this,equal right etc.A Constitution by its very nature is a brief document of aims and values of a nation. The Gov were warned at the time by the AG and an ex AG of the inherent dangers involved here.Thus we had the X case in 1992 which in fact allowed abortion here within the terms of the 1983 Act.Some may blame the Supreme Court for that,but that is what we have invested in the SC-they interpret the Constitution. We had some bizarre cases as a result,eg where a clinically dead woman with infection spreading through her body and who was pregnant was kept artificially alive while instructions were awaited from the High Court as to what to do next.The instigators of the 1983 Act unintentionally brought in abortion here, hardly ever was there a better example of being hoist on ones own petard?

  4. Paddy Ferry says:

    Thank you, Tony, for your honesty, as always. I had just been reading Gene Kerrigan in last week’s Sunday Independent, ” If Robert Emmett could see us now”, I share the link below, and his reminding us, among other things, of how morally superior we felt as a people especially in comparison to other “pagan” nations. I was guilty of that myself for a good part of my life, I must confess. I think Pope Francis refers to it as theological narcissism.

    Well, then I read some of the reaction to your article, Tony and I realised that, sadly, moral superiorty is still alive and well and still living in Ireland.


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