The Bishop of Kilmore has launched the church's local campaign to resist changes to legislation outlawing abortion with a 'Month of Prayer'.
Bishop Leo O'Reilly has asked priests and people of the Diocese of Kilmore to highlight "the sacredness of human life" over the next five weeks. Last Sunday saw the annual 'Choose Life! Day for Life' mark the beginning of a month of prayer and awareness campaign in the diocese.
Bishop O'Reilly expressed concern about the "widespread misinformation" about the implications of the December 2010 judgement of the European Court of Human Rights A, B and C v Ireland.
"The Government is under no obligation to legislate for abortion because of the ruling of the European Court," Bishop O'Reilly said. "On the contrary, Government is free to respond by seeking full protection in Irish law for the right to life of the baby in the womb.
"We have a moral obligation to protect human life and to support the vulnerable. I urge everyone to pray the special prayer and read pastoral message which we have published.
"Our 'Choose Life!' message highlights the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb, and the right of each to be treated as an individual person. Our positive message affirms that the child in the womb is not a potential life, but a human life with potential.
The church launched a dedicated website www.chooselife2012.ie to coincide with the Day for Life. This website includes a short YouTube video specially commissioned by the Bishops' Conference, with stories of women who have faced difficult decisions in pregnancy.
It also includes a separate short video message from 'Norma', the woman in the Roe vs Wade case in the US which was responsible for introducing lawful abortion in the USA. Norma has now become a pro-life activist.
Parishes throughout the Diocese of Kilmore and individuals, are invited to pray a special 'Prayer for the Child in the Womb' during Masses throughout the month of prayer which ends on the Feast of All the Saints of Ireland on November 6. The prayer asks us to open our hearts to welcome every child as a unique and wonderful gift, and to help those who make our laws to uphold the uniqueness and sacredness of every human life from the moment of conception to natural death.