The planned Citizens’ Assembly is intended to enable the Government to claim a spurious distance from the consequences of a referendum on repealing Ireland’s constitutional pro-life protections, Elphin’s Bishop Kevin Doran has said.
Speaking at an event organised by Family & Life, Dr Doran, said that in his personal view, the assembly would be “nothing more than a smokescreen”.
Arguing that “a government is elected to take responsibility for the common good and that includes the good of each and of all”, Dr Doran said: “Any government which seeks to legalise the taking of innocent human life betrays its sacred trust and is guilty of a crime against humanity.”
Dr Doran noted that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees everyone a right to life, was drafted in the aftermath of the Second World War, and observed that the Nazi euthanasia programme was based on “the acceptance of the principle that there is such a thing as a human life without value”.
Civilised societies offer palliative care to adults in the advanced stages of motor-neurone disease, he said, heedless of those who would argue that such lives are without meaning, and should take a similar approach to caring for children – born and as yet unborn – with life-threatening illnesses.
His comments were echoed by Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign (PLC), who told The Irish Catholic the PLC believes the planned convention “is not a means of having a genuine discussion”. While the PLC does not intend to ignore the convention, she said, “we will be making sure that the public is made fully aware that it is a sham,” continuing, “we won’t be proceeding as if it is the perfect way to deal with this”.