On Friday, May 25th, Ireland voters took to the polls, and by a two-to-one margin, repealed the 8th Amendment, which had recognized and protected the equal right to life of the unborn child. This opens the way for politicians to legalize abortion in Ireland. A sad, disappointing, disheartening day for the pro-life movement, not merely of that nation, but of the whole world. I’m not Irish, and I’ve never been to Ireland – but the issue of abortion is universal, and the right to life transcends boundary and nationality.
The referendum’s result shows that the hearts of many remain hard and uncharitable. How else to explain it? Countless Repeal the 8th supporters cheered and danced when the result was announced. They think they’ve gained freedom, the breaking of false fetters that had robbed them of “choice”; instead, Satan’s fooled them into bearing actual chains and millstones. He tempted them with the fruit of the tree, and they’ve bought the whole damn orchard. The prince of the world delights in death and the destruction of the defenseless. He is rapt with glee as many have turned their faces away from God. He doesn’t care that God ultimately wins – all he cares about is taking souls with him in his inevitable defeat.
I came across a quote of St Bede the Venerable published on May 25th of all days, in the Magnificat magazine. There are no coincidences. It is both a condemnation of the Repeal the 8th supporters, and a comfort for those who defended life – and will continue to do so.
“Let us painstakingly retain in our hearts the awareness that the Spirit convicts the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. Let us beware lest by seeking what is below we belong to the world, because the world will pass away with its concupiscence (1 Jn 2:17). Let us seek the things that are above, let us taste the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Col 3:1-2). Let us have our way of life in heaven with the Apostle, and, lest we be convicted of the sin of unbelief, let us carry out what we believe in our works: Faith without works is worthless (Jas 2:20)….
“Lest we be condemned with the ruler of the world, let us resist him bravely with our faith, and let him flee from us. Let us speak the truth in our hearts and not practice treachery with our tongues, so that by pouring forth charity more and more in our hearts, the Spirit of truth may teach us the recognition of all truth.
“Let us entreat the help of the grace of this Spirit in all our actions….Let us all, individually and collectively, say to the Lord, Let your good Spirit lead me in the right way (Ps 143:10). And so it will come to pass that the one who came down upon the Apostles, and declared to them the things that were to come, may disclose also to our minds the joys of the life to come. May he kindly set us on fire to seek these joys, with the cooperation of the one who is accustomed both to promise and to give him to his faithful, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.”
There is much work to be done to convert the world to Christ, to spread the Gospel, and to encourage brothers and sisters in the Lord to remain faithful. Let us not ‘practice treachery with our tongues’ as the Enemy does, but let us ‘resist bravely with our faith’. It won’t be easy. It will come at great cost. Satan has gained a foothold. But there are many lost souls in Ireland – as elsewhere in the world – and now more than ever, they need the witness of Christ’s disciples to find their way to Him, and perhaps win back this once venerable and holy land.
It’s not just the unborn who are in danger.
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