It is now fifty-four years since I first left Ireland for Africa.

I have returned many times for visits to my family and native land have always enjoyed them.  I came back just a few days ago from a vacation in Ireland and for the first time I have to hesitate when people in Canada ask me, “Did you enjoy your holiday at home?”

Of course I enjoyed seeing my family and friends and visiting our Holy Ghost communities and meeting again my many priest confreres.  But Ireland is no longer the Ireland in which I grew up.

I am not suggesting that Ireland was ever perfect either spiritually or materially or politically.  But there were certain values which were treasured by the general population and were never questioned either by the newspapers or the politicians or the general public.  In summary there were:  the sacredness of human life, the indissolubility of marriage,the importance of family life and the sinfulness of indulging in sex either before or outside marriage.

While it would not be true to say that the above mentioned values were ever perfectly adhered to, it would be true to say that they summed up the social climate what was often referred to as
Catholic Ireland.”  But, alas, all this has changed and Ireland was become part of the secular culture of the Western World.  Perhaps the best way to explain what I mean is to quote from an official government document entitled, Family Planning Policy.  Guidelines for Health Boards.

Section 2 page 4 gives the following definition of “A Comprehensive Family Planning Service.”

  1. Education, counseling and advice of all legal methods of contraception.

2        Ready access to these methods, including, natural methods of family planning: Medical contraceptives, such as the pill and spermicides: Non-medical contraceptives, such as condoms, IUDs and diaphragms; male and female sterilization services and tubal ligations.

Under the title “General Practitioners” the document states, “The Strategy for effective healthcare recognizes the primary role of the general practioner in providing family planning services and envisages that this role will be developed and strengthened.”

I am almost sure that the majority of general practioners in Ireland are Catholics and they must find themselves in the position of compromising their consciences or losing their jobs.  And I am also fairly certain that the majority of the government members who have framed these laws are members of the Catholic Faith, which forbids the use of contraceptives as being contrary to the Law of God.

In the very recent past it was forbidden to see or prescribe contraceptives in Ireland.  Now they are on sale in the washrooms of hotels and restaurants and are therefore available to teenagers and anyone else who wishes to practice casual sex.

But the tragedy of Ireland does not end at contraception.  Ireland is on the “Slippery slope” to abortion on demand.  Probably because the government felt that the Irish people are not yet ready to accept abortion performed within the Country in which abortion is legal. (England, for instance, is less than an hour’s flight from Ireland.)  He can give her the address and phone number of a doctor plus the information which that doctor would require.

This “ploy” in order to become law had to be signed by the President of Ireland.  She is a very outstanding lady named Mary Robinson.  She is a lawyer and a Catholic.  She is fully aware of the teaching of the Church and would call her action in signing the necessary document “A Pontius Pilate performance.”  Pilate did not drive the nails into the Hands and Feet of Christ or pierce His Side with a lance.”  He simply said, “Take Him you and crucify Him.”  Let us not forget the words of Christ, “Whatever you do to one of these little ones you do unto Me.”

Please pray for Ireland.  If people in Heaven can weep, Saint Patrick must be in tears.