The Church in contemporary Ireland. Pause for thought as Ireland legislates for abortion

Raphael Gallagher CSsR

This article is a reflection on the implications for the Church in Ireland of the referendum on abortion held on 25 May 2018.  The dilemma for Catholics about private legal rights and public moral witness will remain, writes Raphael Gallagher. The author is a Redemptorist of the Dublin Province now living in Limerick, and formerly a Professor of the Alphonsian Academy, Rome.

Opinion polls had flagged a victory for the ‘yes’ side in a Referendum held in the Republic of Ireland on 25 May 2018, though none had foreseen the margin. By a two-to-one majority Irish citizens have given power to the Oireachtas (Houses of Parliament) to legislate for the introduction of abortion. The signs of the waning influence of the Church have been evident for some time. There can be no return to a clerically controlled Church in Ireland. But where do we who love the Church go from here? Contemporary Ireland has indicated the type of society it wishes to become. The Church faces the challenge of becoming a faithful Church within a society not of its own choosing.

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