The Mater has made a regrettable decision

Dear Editor, The decision of the Mater Hospital to comply with the Government’s abortion legislation is regrettable.  The statement issued by the hospital does not make it clear whether the decision was taken by the hospital authorities or if the governance structures of the Irish Sisters of Mercy were a party to this decision. 

In any event, as things now stand the hospital will be providing abortion services under the legislation or will be facilitating the provision of abortion services in other hospitals.  The hospital takes its name, Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy), from the much loved Marian prayer the Salve Regina, known in English as the Hail Holy Queen. 

It would seem that no mercy will be shown to the innocent unborn children whose lives are to be ended in the hospital under this unchristian legislation. 

This decision raises important issues about the status of the Irish Sisters of Mercy in the Catholic Church.  Is the religious order complicit in the provision of abortion services?  By what authority has the Mater Hospital taken this decision? There are many good sisters in Mercy convents up and down the country who find themselves in a very difficult position. 

They have given their working lives and more in schools and hospitals serving the communities in which they live as living witnesses to the mercy and compassion of God.  Were they consulted before this seismic shift in the mission of the hospital was decided upon?  Their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience were joyfully entered into. 

Their obedience is to God and his holy word.  If the leadership of the order was involved in this appalling decision it has forfeited any right to the obedience of the general body of the Irish Sisters of Mercy. 

Yours etc.,

Paddy Barry,


Co Dublin