Choosing death in Ireland

In legalizing abortion, Ireland’s voters overwhelmingly support a culture of domination

Laws are not written for exceptions. They are—or should—reflect and safeguard the best of a people, including the expectation that the most vulnerable and the innocent will be protected.

Ireland has chosen otherwise.

With some sixty-eight percent of voters in Friday’s referendum casting their ballots to legalize abortion, the land of St. Patrick has invited the serpent back to the garden for another attack on truth and life.

“Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion,” Pope Francis teaches in his eco-encyclical Laudato Si’.

By justifying the death of innocents, the Republic of Ireland has sanctioned murder whenever a stronger entity feels it necessary to remove a weaker one. This brings profound implications to this island nation’s people and ecosystems.

As voting was winding down today, here in the States I was speaking with a coworker about a young child she helping to raise. The child, the daughter of a relative, resists the rules placed on her—the tasks of cleaning up after herself, of brushing her teeth and contributing to the family. That there are consequences to her lack of service and sacrifice is a concept she struggles with. It is a concept she is fighting.

Such lessons about consequences are ones that the West has slowly forgotten, as we saw today in Ireland.

In a Tweet yesterday, the film star Emma Watson summed up where we’re at: “A vote for the freedom to choose, a vote for women's rights, a vote for women's control over their bodies, a vote for women.”

Note how the language of choice and rights is co-opted by domination and control. Note how women are being defined as only certain women—those who have been granted the prior privilege of birth. Note how the ancient Christian understanding of free will—an understanding that baptized Western Civilization so long ago that most people have forgotten where the concept came from—has been twisted into the power to choose whatever is best for oneself, rather than for the innocent other.

None of this is good for people and it is certainly not good for ecosystems. Once human rights are swept aside for some, it is even easier to use the language of power and domination about creation.

If there was ever any doubt about the dark times in which we live—of this culture of death that has settled among us—then that doubt should have been swept aside today with the landslide of pro-death votes in the once great Republic of Ireland.

St. Patrick, Patron of Ireland, pray for us, and for the whole world.

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About the Blog

Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.