Vatican approval of land gift for hospital ‘shocking’

Vatican approval of land gift for hospital ‘shocking’ Fr Vincent Twomey Photo:

The Vatican’s decision to allow the Sisters of Charity to gift lands to the State worth €200m for the new National Maternity Hospital has been dubbed “just wrong” as abortion will take place there.

Moral theologians previously urged Rome to block the handover.

Following the order’s announcement of the Holy See’s approval to transfer ownership of the Dublin 4 site, which will be “gifted” to the people of Ireland, Fr Vincent Twomey SVD said: “I’m quite shocked. I’m dumfounded really, I just can’t understand it.

“Everyone knows that it’s just wrong, that abortion is wrong, I’ve no idea what the reason behind it is, why it’s being allowed, why it’s going ahead. The question you have to ask yourself is, was Rome faced with a fait accompli effectively?”

Fr Twomey said that “there is need for a maternity hospital quite obviously”, but that due to the change in law regarding abortion he is “very disappointed” of the transfer.

In the order’s statement Superior General Sr Patricia Lenihan said: “We are confident that the St Vincent’s Healthcare Group Board, management and staff will continue to provide acute healthcare services that foster Mary Aikenhead’s mission and core values of dignity, compassion, justice, equality and advocacy for all into the future.”

Late last year, Rome-based moral theologian Fr Kevin O’Reilly OP told this paper that he believed the Holy See had an obligation to block plans by the sisters to facilitate the building of a new National Maternity Hospital where the Government said abortion will be facilitated.


Irishman Fr O’Reilly, who lectures in the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, better known as the Angelicum, said the move should be vetoed by Rome and that “in the wake of any future abortions, no one involved in executing the transfer to date can reasonably turn around and say that this eventuality was unforeseen.

“It is bewildering that those who have facilitated the process to date clearly do not possess any degree of moral foresight.

“One can only hope that the competent officials in the Vatican will act in accord with the Church’s constant teaching and the dictates of right reason by forbidding this unconscionable act,” he added.

Under canon law, Irish religious bodies cannot sell or give away property worth over €3.5 million without permission from the Vatican.

Read David Quinn’s opinion piece on the issue.