After criticism of Ireland’s Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) for their neutral stance in the upcoming referendum, the international confederation has said it is “committed to defending life and the family”.
In a blogpost on ssvpglobal.org posted yesterday the General President of SVP, Renato Lima de Oliveira, has described the charity as a Christian organisation that defends the right to life.
Mr Oliveira wrote that the charity have seen with “great sadness” groups supporting the legalisation of abortion around the world.
He wrote: “We follow the guidance of the Holy Mother Church and we are faithful to the words of dear Pope Francis: ‘I want to emphasise, with all my strength, that abortion is a grave sin, because it puts an end to an innocent human life. However, with the same strength, I can and must say that there is no sin the mercy of God cannot reach and destroy, where there is a repentant heart.’”
“We ratify our position of defence, not only as our Christian duty, but, above all, as an attitude for the sacredness of human life. We defend life in all its moments and difficulties.”
He said that SVP “condemns all arguments” threats and mechanisms that work against life.
“We won’t build a just society with peace and prosperity if we admit the right to kill human beings, especially the most defenceless and innocent ones.”
Mr Oliveira added that as Vincentians “we are eternal and persistent advocates of life!”
“Our mission is to promote the dignity of every human being. It means, above all, recognising the inviolable right to life, from fertilisation to natural death.”
The SVP in Ireland reiterated its Catholic roots and affirmed its commitment to Catholic teaching after its decision not to take a stance on the upcoming abortion referendum on May 25.
In a letter to The Irish Catholic, SVP National President Kieran Stafford reiterates that the society will not be issuing advice to members on how to vote, noting that this has been society policy in the past.
“As on previous occasions, where there have been referenda or elections, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul will not be issuing advice or comment to its membership as how to vote in the forthcoming referendum,” Mr Stafford wrote, adding that as a registered charity the SVP is “constrained by law from involvement in political campaigns which are not aligned to our charitable objectives”.
Despite this, he stressed, members and supporters of the SVP should understand that the society is a Catholic organisation committed to Church teaching.