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Irish bishops lend support to children’s-rights amendment opposed by some pro-life activists

November 06, 2012

Less than a week before a November 10 plebiscite, the bishops of Ireland have issued a statement lending support to a proposed children’s rights amendment to the nation’s constitution.

Some Irish pro-life and pro-family advocates have opposed the amendment, with the head of Human Life International Ireland saying that it gives “carte blanche to the State to do whatever it wants, and parents will be helpless.” The proposed amendment states:

In exceptional cases, where the parents, regardless of their marital status, to such an extent that the safety or welfare of any of their children is likely to be prejudicially affected, the State as guardian of the common good shall, by proportionate means as provided by law, endeavour to supply the place of the parents, but always with due regard for the natural and imprescriptible rights of the child.

Provision shall be made by law for the adoption of any child where the parents have failed for such a period of time as may be prescribed by law in their duty towards the child and where the best interests of the child so require.

“As bishops we share the concern of others to ensure that the proposed amendment on children does not undermine the rights of parents and the presumptive place of the family, based on marriage between a woman and a man, as the unit in which the welfare and rights of children are best exercised and safeguarded,” the bishops said in their statement.

“However, when read in conjunction with the unaltered constitutional provisions on the family and education, the wording of the Thirty-First Amendment on Children suggests that a reasonable and balanced approach to framing the proposed new article on children’s rights has been taken,” the bishops added. “While the possibility of unintended consequences is always present in the context of Constitutional change, it is clear that the wording of the proposed amendment on children is not intended to undermine the current Constitutional balance between the rights of parents and children, or between parents and the State.”

“If unforeseen or unintended consequences do emerge in time, the remedy of further Constitutional amendment or amending legislation is available to mitigate the consequences of any such developments.”


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  • Posted by: thomas.friel9910 - Nov. 07, 2012 4:04 PM ET USA

    Two weeks ago a Marie Stopes abortion clinic opened in Belfast.Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor issued an effete statement expressing ''great concern and dismay'' about the development.The rest of the Irish Bishops said nothing.Despite having 1 weeks notice of the opening of the clinic none of the Irish Hierarchy joined a day long protest being held outside the premises that day.It really does beggar belief that they now come out in support of this unnecessary constitutional amendment.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 06, 2012 4:23 PM ET USA

    I was under the impression that only educated men coul become priests, and subsequently bishops. What's going on in Ireland that their bishops could be so obviously wanting in brains? I really do regret having to criticize them so harshly, but they are giving support to one of the worst ideas ever. I find myself asking if they truly are that stupid to not see what terrible harm will come to their country if that proposal becomes law?

  • Posted by: normnuke - Nov. 06, 2012 1:10 PM ET USA

    I fear these very bishops will live to rue this endorsement.