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Irish bishops speak of 'uncertain social climate' in pre-election statement

February 18, 2016

In a message to Irish voters, the country's Catholic bishops say that they "share the anxiety of many citizens of Ireland at the fact that there is an uncertain social climate in the country."

The bishops' statement focuses voters' attention on several policy areas: "health, homes, education, security, the fostering of a solid human ecology, and international responsibility." They argue that Christians have a duty to "protect the weak and the marginalised." In  their consideration of "human ecology" the bishops touch carefully on questions of human life and marriage:

Families deserve much greater support in their work in fostering and transmitting values. A true human ecology recognises the equal right to life of every person from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. The Constitution of Ireland embraces the right of life of the unborn child.

Responding to questions about the statement, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin observed that the bishops "strongly oppose any weakening of the affirmation of the right to life of the unborn." He said that politicians should "have the courage also to say where they stand up on this issue." But he declined to give any further advice to voters, saying: "It's not my job or the bishops' job to say the guidance is you must vote for this party or that party."

 
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