Monthly Archives: February 2013

Pope: Farewell discourse to College of Cardinals

Dear beloved brothers
I welcome you all with great joy and cordially greet each one of you. I thank Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who as always, has been able to convey the sentiments of the College, Cor ad cor loquitur. Thank you, Your Eminence, from my heart.
And referring to the disciples of Emmaus, I would like to say to you all that it has also been a joy for me to walk with you over the years in light of the presence of the Risen Lord. As I said yesterday, in front of thousands of people who filled St. Peter’s Square, your closeness, your advice, have been a great help to me in my ministry. In these 8 years we have experienced in faith beautiful moments of radiant light in the Churches’ journey along with times when clouds have darkened the sky. We have tried to serve Christ and his Church with deep and total love which is the soul of our ministry. We have gifted hope that comes from Christ alone, and which alone can illuminate our path. Together we can thank the Lord who has helped us grow in communion, to pray together, to help you to continue to grow in this deep unity so that the College of Cardinals is like an orchestra, where diversity, an expression of the universal Church, always contributes to a superior harmony of concord. I would like to leave you with a simple thought that is close to my heart, a thought on the Church, Her mystery, which is for all of us, we can say, the reason and the passion of our lives. I am helped by an expression of Romano Guardini’s, written in the year in which the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution Lumen Gentium, his last with a personal dedication to me, so the words of this book are particularly dear to me .
Guardini says: “The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any living being, yet Her nature remains the same. At Her heart is Christ. “This was our experience yesterday, I think, in the square. We could see that the Church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit, and truly lives by the power of God, She is in the world but not of the world. She is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, as we saw yesterday. This is why another eloquent expression of Guardini’s is also true: “The Church is awakening in souls.” The Church lives, grows and awakens in those souls which like the Virgin Mary accept and conceive the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. They offer to God their flesh and in their own poverty and humility become capable of giving birth to Christ in the world today. Through the Church the mystery of the Incarnation remains present forever. Christ continues to walk through all times in all places. Let us remain united, dear brothers, to this mystery, in prayer, especially in daily Eucharist, and thus serve the Church and all humanity. This is our joy that no one can take from us.
Prior to bidding farewell to each of you personally, I want to tell you that I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days, so that you may all be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new Pope. May the Lord show you what is willed by Him. And among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom, here to today, I already promise my unconditional reverence and obedience. For all this, with affection and gratitude, I cordially impart upon you my Apostolic Blessing.


Pope Benedict XVI leaves Vatican

Pope Benedict leaves Vatican | Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Angelo Comastri,

Pope Benedict leaves Vatican


Before leaving the Vatican, Benedict XVI issued his last tweet: “Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives.”

Shortly afterwards the Holy Father, accompanied by his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household, took a car to the Vatican heliport where the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, greeted him and he boarded the helicopter that carried him to Castel Gandolfo.

As the helicopter lifted off, the bells of St Peter’s Basilica and the churches of Roma began ringing.

The Pope’s helicopter flew over the city of Rome, passing by the Colosseum and St John Lateran Basilica, and landed at the Castel Gandolfo heliport just after 5.20pm. Awaiting the Holy Father were Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, respectively president and secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State along with Saverio Petrillo, director of the Pontifical Villas, Bishop Marcello Semeraro of the Diocese of Albano, and civil and religious authorities of the area. The Pope was then taken by car to the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace, where he was greeted by hundreds of people while the bells of Castel Gandolfo’s parishes rang out.

Shortly afterwards, Benedict XVI appeared at the balcony of the Apostolic Palace and said to the many faithful who were waiting to thank him for his pontificate: “Thank you. Thank you all. Dear friends, I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your well wishes, which do me such good. Thank you for your friendship and your affection. You know that this day is different for me than the preceding ones. I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, or I will be until 8:00 this evening and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth. But I would still—with my heart, with my love, with my prayers, with my reflection, and with all my inner strength—like to work for the common good and the Good of the Church and of humanity. I feel very supported by your kindness. Let us go forward with the Lord for the good of the Church and the world. Thank you. I now wholeheartedly impart my blessing. Blessed be God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Good night! Thank you all!”

Benedict XVI’s pontificate concludes at 8pm this evening (Rome time), at which time the period of the Sede Vacante begins. The Swiss Guards will no longer be in charge of his safekeeping—which detail will then be undertaken by the Vatican Gendarmerie—and will return to the Vatican to offer their service to the College of Cardinals. During this period the twitter account @Pontifex will be deactivated. Once elected, the new Pope may, if he so desires, take over its use. Benedict XVI’s Fisherman’s Ring and the seal of his pontificate will also be destroyed at that time and the papal apartments in the Vatican Palace will be sealed.

Source: VIS

Pope Benedict XVI’s Final General Audience

Text: Pope Benedict's final General Audience | Pope Benedict final audience

Pope Benedict’s final departure from St Peter’s

Like the Apostle Paul in the biblical text that we have heard, I feel in my heart the paramount duty to thank God, who guides the Church and makes her grow: who sows His Word and thus nourishes the faith in His people. At this moment my spirit reaches out to embrace the whole Church throughout the world, and I thank God for the “news” that in these years of Petrine ministry I have been able to receive regarding the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity that circulates in the body of the Church – charity that makes the Church to live in love – and of the hope that opens for us the way towards the fullness of life, and directs us towards the heavenly homeland.

I feel I carry everyone in prayer, in a present that is God’s, where I recall every meeting, every voyage, every pastoral visit. I gather everyone and every thing in prayerful recollection, in order to entrust them to the Lord: in order that we might have full knowledge of His will, with every wisdom and spiritual understanding, and in order that we might comport ourselves in a manner that is worthy of Him, of His, bearing fruit in every good work (cf. Col 1:9-10).

At this time, I have within myself a great trust [in God], because I know – all of us know – that the Gospel’s word of truth is the strength of the Church: it is her life. The Gospel purifies and renews: it bears fruit wherever the community of believers hears and welcomes the grace of God in truth and lives in charity. This is my faith, this is my joy.
When, almost eight years ago, on April 19th, [2005], I agreed to take on the Petrine ministry, I held steadfast in this certainty, which has always accompanied me. In that moment, as I have already stated several times, the words that resounded in my heart were: “Lord, what do you ask of me? It a great weight that You place on my shoulders, but, if You ask me, at your word I will throw out the nets, sure that you will guide me” – and the Lord really has guided me. He has been close to me: daily could I feel His presence.

These years have been a stretch of the Church’s pilgrim way, which has seen moments joy and light, but also difficult moments. I have felt like St. Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee: the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been – and the Lord seemed to sleep. Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His – and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love.

We are in the Year of Faith, which I desired in order to strengthen our own faith in God in a context that seems to push faith more and more toward the margins of life. I would like to invite everyone to renew firm trust in the Lord. I would like that we all, entrust ourselves as children to the arms of God, and rest assured that those arms support us and us to walk every day, even in times of struggle. I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian. In a beautiful prayer to be recited daily in the morning says, “I adore you, my God, I love you with all my heart. I thank You for having created me, for having made me a Christian.” Yes, we are happy for the gift of faith: it is the most precious good, that no one can take from us! Let us thank God for this every day, with prayer and with a coherent Christian life. God loves us, but He also expects that we love Him!

At this time, however, it is not only God, whom I desire to thank. A Pope is not alone in guiding St Peter’s barque, even if it is his first responsibility – and I have not ever felt myself alone in bearing either the joys or the weight of the Petrine ministry. The Lord has placed next to me many people, who, with generosity and love for God and the Church, have helped me and been close to me. First of all you, dear Brother Cardinals: your wisdom, your counsels, your friendship, were all precious to me. My collaborators, starting with my Secretary of State, who accompanied me faithfully over the years, the Secretariat of State and the whole Roman Curia, as well as all those who, in various areas, give their service to the Holy See: the many faces which never emerge, but remain in the background, in silence, in their daily commitment, with a spirit of faith and humility. They have been for me a sure and reliable support. A special thought [goes] to the Church of Rome, my diocese! I can not forget the Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, the consecrated persons and the entire People of God: in pastoral visits, in public encounters, at Audiences, in traveling, I have always received great care and deep affection; I also loved each and every one, without exception, with that pastoral charity which is the heart of every shepherd, especially the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of the Apostle Peter. Every day I carried each of you in my prayers, with the father’s heart.

I wish my greetings and my thanks to reach everyone: the heart of a Pope expands to embrace the whole world. I would like to express my gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, which makes present the great family of nations. Here I also think of all those who work for good communication, whom I thank for their important service.

At this point I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many people throughout the whole world, who, in recent weeks have sent me moving tokens of concern, friendship and prayer. Yes, the Pope is never alone: now I experience this truth again in a way so great as to touch my very heart. The Pope belongs to everyone, and so many people feel very close to him. It’s true that I receive letters from the world’s greatest figures – from the Heads of State, religious leaders, representatives of the world of culture and so on. I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Christ Jesus, in the Church. These people do not write me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family ties. Here, one can touch what the Church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experience the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline.

In recent months, I felt that my strength had decreased, and I asked God with insistence in prayer to enlighten me with His light to make me take the right decision – not for my sake, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step in full awareness of its severity and also its novelty, but with a deep peace of mind. Loving the Church also means having the courage to make difficult, trying choices, having ever before oneself the good of the Church and not one’s own.

Here allow me to return once again to April 19, 2005. The gravity of the decision was precisely in the fact that from that moment on I was committed always and forever by the Lord. Always – he, who assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere. I have felt, and I feel even in this very moment, that one receives one’s life precisely when he offers it as a gift. I said before that many people who love the Lord also love the Successor of Saint Peter and are fond of him, that the Pope has truly brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all over the world, and that he feels safe in the embrace of their communion, because he no longer belongs to himself, but he belongs to all and all are truly his own.

The “always” is also a “forever” – there is no returning to private life. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry, does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on. I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord. I no longer wield the power of the office for the government of the Church, but in the service of prayer I remain, so to speak, within St Peter’s bounds. St Benedict, whose name I bear as Pope, shall be a great example in this for me. He showed us the way to a life which, active or passive, belongs wholly to the work of God.

I thank each and every one of you for the respect and understanding with which you have welcomed this important decision. I continue to accompany the Church on her way through prayer and reflection, with the dedication to the Lord and to His Bride, which I have hitherto tried to live daily and that I would live forever. I ask you to remember me before God, and above all to pray for the Cardinals, who are called to so important a task, and for the new Successor of Peter, that the Lord might accompany him with the light and the power of His Spirit.

Let us invoke the maternal intercession of Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, that she might accompany each of us and the whole ecclesial community: to her we entrust ourselves, with deep trust.

Dear friends! God guides His Church, maintains her always, and especially in difficult  times. Let us never lose this vision of faith, which is the only true vision of the way of the Church and the world. In our heart, in the heart of each of you, let there be always the joyous certainty that the Lord is near, that He does not abandon us, that He is near to us and that He surrounds us with His love. Thank you!

Benedict XVI recalls ‘rough waters and gentle breezes’ of his pontificate

In words that will serve as a warning to cardinals who might wish to succeed him on the throne of St Peter, Benedict XVI said that a pope “no longer has any privacy … He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere.”

He also said that after his resignation comes into effect tomorrow he would not “abandon the Cross, but [would] remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord”.

He said he would remain “in the service of prayer” rather than return to private life “of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on”.

He talked about his reaction to being elected Pope almost eight years ago. “In that moment, as I have already stated several times, the words that resounded in my heart were: “Lord, what do you ask of me? It is a great weight that you place on my shoulders, but, if you ask me, at your word I will throw out the nets, sure that you will guide me”.

But he added: “The Lord really has guided me. He has been close to me: daily could I feel His presence.”

Likening the Church’s journey to the apostles’ boat caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, he said the last eight years had “seen moments of joy and light, but also difficult moments”.

“The Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been – and the Lord seemed to sleep.

“Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but his – and he shall not let her sink. It is he who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of his choosing, for he desired that it be so.”

“This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did he leave me or the Church without his consolation, his light, his love.”

The Pope explained that he had called for the current Year of Faith to strengthen people’s faith at a time when it is being pushed “more and more toward the margins of life”.

In a simple, direct statement of his own faith and hope, he said: “I would like everyone to feel loved by the God who gave His Son for us and showed us His boundless love. I want everyone to feel the joy of being Christian.”

The Pope then thanked the Roman Curia and the cardinals for their support, along with the diocese of Rome. He also paid tribute to diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

Sounding a pastoral note he thanked people “throughout the whole world, who, in recent weeks have sent me moving tokens of concern, friendship and prayer”. He added: “Yes, the Pope is never alone: now I experience this [truth] again in a way so great as to touch my very heart.”

He said he was especially touched by letters he received from ordinary people. “These people do not write to me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family ties.”

“To experience the Church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of His truth and His love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline,” he said.

After he finished speaking he greeted pilgrims in St Peter’s Square in various languages. In English he said the decision he made to resign, “after much prayer, is the fruit of a serene trust in God’s will and a deep love of Christ’s Church”.

Retired Pope will still wear white and be addressed as ‘Your Holiness’

Fr Lombardi said the Pope would probably wear brown shoes. He said the Pope was “very happy” with a pair of brown shoes he was given in Leon, Mexico, which he visited last year.

Decisions about the emeritus pope’s title and dress were made in consultation with Pope Benedict, the Camerlengo, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and others.

Fr Lombardi also outlined a schedule for Pope Benedict’s last day in office, on Thursday. He said that the Pope will be driven to a helipad in the Vatican at about 4:55 p.m. local time (3: 55 p.m. GMT) and arrive at Castel Gandolfo at 5: 15 p.m.

Benedict XVI’s last public appearance as Pope will take place at 5: 30 p.m., when he greets people at Castel Gandolfo.

At 8 p.m., when his resignation takes effect, the Swiss Guards, who only guard the Pope, will withdraw from the villa at Castel Gandolfo, and the Vatican police will take over the responsibility for his security.

Father Peyton – The Rosary Priest – Servant of God.

Father Peyton was one of nine children born to poor but very devout parents in Co Mayo about 20 miles from Knock. The Family Rosary was central to their lives and every night without exception the brothers and sisters gathered round with their parents to recite the Rosary.

Patrick’s greatest wish was to become a priest and as an altar boy he often stayed back to serve at a second Sunday Mass. Sadly because of poverty he was unable to continue his schooling to the stage of entering a seminary and the only option open to him was to emigrate. Three of his sisters had already left for America and in 1928 at the age of 19 Patrick and his brother Tom travelled to Cobh to make the journey so many Irish men and women had made before them leaving behind a heart broken mother and father. “I saw my mother for the last time. She waved her handkerchief until the train disappeared from sight. My heart was crushed with sorrow and tears blinded me.”

When the two boys arrived in America times were hard, it was just the beginning of the Wall Street Crash and work was almost impossible to find. However Patrick’s sister got him a job as sacristan in St Peter’s Church in Scranton Pennsylvania and it was with the help of Monsignor Kelly the parish priest that both he and Tom went to study in Holy Cross Seminary. Three years later both were admitted to St Joseph’s Novitiate at Notre Dame graduating in 1937.

Patrick’s dream of ordination along with his brother suffered a drastic setback when he contracted tuberculosis, which back then was considered to be incurable. Close to death, the doctors told him his only hope was to pray and he turned to Our Blessed Mother praying for a full recovery. He promised her that if he lived he would dedicate his ministry to her and to the family rosary.  His prayers were answered and his doctors were amazed at his recovery. Describing what happened Patrick said “I was certain Our Blessed Mother was taking part in my healing. I am not describing a miracle. I’m giving witness to the power of Mary’s intercession and the quiet, unsensational way she works.” The brothers had set their hearts on being ordained to the priesthood together however because Patrick’s illness set his studies back by a year it looked as if this wouldn’t be possible until something truly amazing happened. In May 1941 he received a special dispensation granting permission for immediate ordination and it came in the form of a cablegram from Rome stating “Special dispensations are granted for the immediate ordination to the priesthood of seminarian Patrick Peyton.” And so the brothers were both ordained on 15th June 1941 in the Church of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame.

The following year with the support of the bishops throughout US Father Patrick Peyton founded the Family Rosary in Albany, New York and embarked on a sensational crusade to promote it with a free half-hour programme on the largest radio network in the United States scheduled for Mother’s Day 13th May 1942.  With World War II  just ended and VE day declared on 8th May, President Truman declared 13th May a Day of Thanksgiving which added to the successful launch of the Rosary Crusade.

“God answered me in a way I would never have dreamed of: He sent the most famous Hollywood stars to do the work.” said Fr Peyton. These included some of the best known movie stars of the time such as Bing Crosby, Loretta Young, Grace Kelly, James Cagney, Gary Cooper, Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Jimmy Durante, Gene Kelly and Charlton Heston.

The Crusade was a worldwide success and his message ‘The Family that prays together stays together,’ is still quoted today. He drew unprecedented numbers to each gathering. There were 83,000 at Wembley Stadium,  75,000 in New York, 80,000 in Melbourne and more than a quarter of a million gathered to hear him speak in San Francisco. An even bigger crowd of 2 million attended the Crusade in both San Paolo and in Manila.  It wasn’t until 1954 that the Rosary Crusade came to Ireland and throughout May and June rallies were held over the length and breadth of Ireland from Galway to Ballymena, from Waterford to Downpatrick.  Finally the crusade was brought to a close on 15th August appropriately at Our Lady’s Island, Co Wexford.

Sadly his parents had both died before his first visit home but Father Peyton never forgot his Irish roots and made an annual pilgrimage to Knock. His last visit was in December 1991 and he died the following year aged 83.  Father Peyton is currently being considered for sainthood, the Cause of Canonisation was announced in 2001 by the Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River, Masachusetts Bishop Sean Patrick O’Malley (now Cardinal of Boston).  Father Peyton now has the well deserved title ‘Servant of God.’



Pope allows cardinals to bring forward election of his successor.

Benedict signed a “motu proprio”, which was issued today, with some changes to the conclave rules established in 1996 by Pope John Paul II governing the election of a new pope. It is one of his last acts as pope before he resigns on Thursday.

The Vatican has said it wants a new pope in place by Holy Week, which starts on 24 March. Having to wait the full 15 days after Pope Benedict resigns to begin the conclave to elect his successor would put the cardinals under increased pressure.

However some cardinals have said proceedings should not start early, because the change will give a distinct advantage to cardinal-electors in the Vatican and closer to Rome who have already begun strategising for possible candidates to be the next pope.

Suicide is a health emergency that must be tackled as a matter of urgency.

Turning the tide

There needs to be a concerted effort to engage more effectively, and in a more sustained way, with young men, and to plan services and programmes with young men in mind.
Experts concede that young men do not access mental health or therapeutic services in the conventional ways that many young women find helpful. There is, evidently, also a difficulty for young men articulating their feelings – particularly to their peers.
There is a need for creative thinking: an approach that understands that the difference between men and women are real and that what works for one gender will not necessarily work for the other gender.
In trying to mould men to fit the current services rather than thinking creatively, there is a risk of further demonising young men as if they are to blame for not accessing the current services, thus compounding the sense of alienation.
Services and outreach will need to be targeted where young men find themselves: be it in gyms, sports clubs other avenues there is a need for young men to identify a safe space where they can express their fears and anxieties.
There also needs to be a frank national conversation about suicide and the devastating effects on families and communities. There is a real danger that Ireland has moved from a society where suicide was absolute taboo, to a society where the decision to take one’s own life is a viable choice or something that could represent a solution to a problem.
Suicide is never a solution to a problem. Suicide can never be seen as viable choice.
Mental health problems, depression and extreme anxiety are real: as real as any physical pathology which society readily accepts as a threat and offers treatment for. People with suicidal thoughts deserve help and support; they deserve resources to be priorities in the same way as the many other health emergencies we treat as the threat to life that they are.

Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair. No matter what your age or where you live in Northern Ireland, if you are or someone you know is in distress or despair, Lifeline is here to help.

People living in Northern Ireland can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. Deaf and hard of hearing Textphone users can call Lifeline on 18001 0808 808 8000. Calls to Lifeline are FREE to people living in Northern Ireland who are calling from UK landlines and mobiles.

Lifeline counsellors are available 24 hours a day seven days a week to listen and help, IN CONFIDENCE






Both the law and the guidelines of the Irish Medical Council allow doctors to intervene to provide essential medical treatment to women, and recognise that this may sometimes result, unintentionally,  in the death of the baby. In all cases where a pregnant mother experiences a life-threatening complication, the ethical and legal requirement is to provide whatever treatment is necessary. The death of a baby in such circumstances does not constitute abortion as commonly understood. All reasonable steps are taken to save the baby if this is possible; in abortion all steps are taken to ensure that the baby dies. This is an important distinction and failure to understand it causes much confusion.





The X Case imposes no gestational limits for an abortion, so it provides no basis for imposing a time limit on abortions (such as applies even in very liberal regimes such as Britain’s. While a 24 week limit applies to the more commonly used grounds for abortion in Britain, the other grounds are not subject to any time limit. These include where the baby is diagnosed with even a minor correctable, disability such as cleft palate.)

The X Case allows abortion on the basis of a claim of suicidal intent, opening the door effectively, to abortion on demand, even up to birth.

Legislation that would tryto limit this would only be defeated in the Supreme Court. The key point here is that the problem is not Ireland’s respect for unborn babies enshrined in article 40.3.3 of the Constitution, but the Supreme Courts interpretation of that article in the X Case. In order to resolve this a referendum is needed.

It is practically impossible for a psychiatrist to predict whether a threat of suicide will be acted on. If a threat of suicide is a real and substantial risk to a woman’s life which can only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy (the X Case test), it is as much a risk to her life when she is seven or eight months pregnant as when she is one or two months pregnant. Any attempt to limit this would be vulnerable to challenge in the Courts








It is untrue that Ireland’s political leaders have been inactive on the issue of abortion since 1992. Oireachtas members from all parties did   exhaustive work on the  process which led to the proposal put to the people in 2002. Previously, there were extensive consultations with all the relevant experts, interest groups, and with the general public. This was followed by careful delib­ eration which resulted in a proposal which would have put in place legislation guaranteeing the provision  of proper medical treatment to pregnant women, while removing the problematic elements of the X Case decision.







The European Court of Human Rights required that Ireland put in place an abortion law that is clear It did not specify what form this law should take. In its decision in the ABC Case, the Court made clear that it respects the right of the Irish people to decide for them­ selves the extent to which they wish to restrict or prohibit abortion, and recognised as a legitimate state aim the protection of the unborn.








It is not true that the Irish people “endorsed” the X Case decision in 1992 and 2002.. The ‘No’ voters, in both cases, did include people who wished to keep the X Case ruling, but also included many pro-life voters who were dissatisfied with the specific proposals for other reasons.

Pope’s Farewell Angelus: I will not abandon the Church, I will serve in a different way.

Some came with banners to thank the Pope and be part of history. With only days left as Pope, Benedict XVI clearly spoke about his retirement. In Italian he said, “Dear brothers and sisters…The Lord is calling me ‘to climb the mountain’ to devote myself even more to prayer and meditation, but this does not mean I’m abandoning the Church. In fact, if God is asking this of me, it is so I can continue serving the Church with the same dedication and love with which I have served so far, but in a way that’s more suited for my age and strength.We will always be close in prayer”.

This was Pope Benedict XVI’s parting message during his last Angelus address. At noon according to NEWS.VA the canons sounded from the Janiculum Hill and the great bells of St Peter’s basilica rang out. And as the curtains were drawn from his study windows and the red papal banner unfurled, the ocean of pilgrims waiting below erupted.

This Angelus was the Pope’s first public appearance, following a spiritual retreat which ended on Saturday. On Monday he will meet with Cardinals of the Roman Curia and on Wednesday, he will celebrate his last General Audience in St. Peter’s Square.