Monday, July 8, 2013

Sermon of Bishop Denis Brennan, Ferns Annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Knock

It would be difficult to come to Mary’s Shrine at Knock these days and not reflect on the sacredness and dignity of human life, this place which honours Mary, the woman who carried and gave birth to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Since its beginnings Christianity has maintained a clear and firm teaching on the sacredness of human life. Abortion was rejected in the earliest known Christian document, the Didache.

Official church teaching insists to the present day that a just society protects life, before as well as after birth. The reasons for this are not difficult to understand.

One church document puts it like this, “The first right of the human person is his/her does not belong to society, nor does it belong to public authority in any form to recognise this right for some and not for others......respect for human life is called for from the time that the process of generation begins.” (Declar. on Procured Abortion, CDF, 1974.)

Dr John Murray spells out graphically and in non-technical language what abortion means, “It robs that human being of all the rest of her life, of all her potential relationships, achievements, actions and experiences.
It robs the unborn of their freedom to choose anything any robs the human person of all rights, not just the right to life; none of us has any rights if we are dead!”

Christian teaching obliges us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who spoke and acted strongly and compassionately in favour of the most despised and vulnerable persons in society.

Our society today has many vulnerable persons.......including women in crisis pregnancies as well as unborn children whose lives may be legally ended in many places during pregnancy.

In the tradition of Jesus Christ Catholics have a responsibility to speak and act in defence of these persons. The Church’s mission to defend human life applies over the entire spectrum of human life, from conception to natural death.

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