Note: As mentioned above the fundamental rights of religious belief and practice are protected under Articles 9 and 14, among others, of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and additionally, under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Furthermore, the right to conscientious objection is specifically recognized in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. That Charter provides in its Article 10 protecting the freedom of thought, conscience and religion:

Everyone has the right of freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

We respect conscientious objectors who refuse to have military service, because people can decide to not defend their own nation from foreign attacks, but should it not be legitimate to refuse to vote laws or participate in the murder of innocent human beings. We are more scared of children than we are of armed assailants. We have to change this situation and, as C.S. Lewis would say, in this world that moves quickly backward, we walk altogether quickly on the path of civilization to stop these cruelties.

We have no fear, because we know that we are in this world, but we don’t come from this world, I promise you that I’m sure about this thanks to my experience. The Divine Providence always helps us in difficult situations and shows us the right and best way to go. Have you ever seen the faces of the officers of Marie Stopes and IPPF? Have you ever seen the officers of the Reproductive Rights Centre? They always look sad and angry. They don’t understand our curious happiness, our scintillating joy and our bravery, every time we prove with reason and faith that it’s worth to live and hope for the best.

Politics doesn’t work any more, it’s lost and does not defend people and common welfare anymore. It became a mechanism of deceptions to use people with the goal to preserve the power. Everyone can be brave. I come from Italy, the country of Manzoni, the famous romance ‘I Promessi Sposi’ and don Abbondio, a man without bravery. It seems that also here in Ireland, after the pressures from his coalition partners, Enda Kenny has become not only a man without bravery and coherence but also an unjustly cruel man. There is no other way to explain the exclusion of his party members who voted against the abortion. I don’t know how to describe this event: funny or tragic? Enda Kenny has always been proud to be a member of the EPP, he even organised the EPP Conference in Dublin a few weeks ago. But this is the same person that expelled his Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, that had also become Vice President of the EPP. She and other members, such as my friends Terence Flanagan and Peter Mathews, were expelled just because they defended a principle of the EPP Charter of Values. I admit: I really like beer, unfortunately I don’t drink Guinness anymore since that ridiculous drama scene during Saint Patrick’s Day in New York City. But I never thought that beer could put the Irish Prime Minister in such a confused state.

In my letter to him last July I reminded Mr Kenny:

Article 115 of the EPP Party Platform Document adopted by Fine Gael at the EPP Statutory Congress, Bucharest, Romania, 17-18 October 2012, under the heading Freedom and Responsibility, explicitly states: ‘We consider that it is necessary to respect the right of conscientious objection.’ The right of conscientious objection is particularly engaged in matters – such as abortion – concerning the fundamental value of all human life (see Article 228 of the EPP Party Platform Document).Our values should guide the political order (Article 133) and political parties must function in conformity with the rules of internal democracy (Article 229). This surely includes respect for the conscientious integrity of party members.Respect for freedom of conscience would be meaningless if it applied only to the consciences of those with whom we agree. It is truly tested and demonstrated when respect is shown to the consciences of those with whom we disagree. The judgment of a number of your Fine Gael colleagues that they cannot in good conscience vote in favour of the proposed legislation is one that ought to be respected.You may not agree with their assessment of the Bill, and its likely consequences. You stated, however, in your speech in Dáil Éireann on July 1, that if you thought for one moment that this Bill would lead to the creation of a liberal abortion regime in Ireland you would not ask the House to endorse it. And yet Fine Gael parliamentarians are being forced, upon pain of expulsion from their party, to support the Bill despite their sincere belief that the Bill may well usher abortion into Ireland.To impose such severe penalties on colleagues for voting in accordance with their consciences on such a fundamental matter is alien to the basic values of the EPP”.





Cardinal Burke Synod







corpus christi

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