Irish Catholic Bishop Dr. Leo O’Reilly observed this weekend that many Catholics who vote pro-abortion are cultural Catholics rather than devout followers of the faith.
O’Reilly, the bishop of Kilmore, spoke during a diocesan pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine of Knock, according to the Irish Times.
Like many devout Catholics, the bishop said he felt a “mixture of shock and sadness” when Ireland voted to strip unborn babies of all rights by repealing the Eighth Amendment in May.
The vote ended the “culture of life that marked maternity care in Ireland. It has now been fatally undermined. At this time we are all in need of new hope and encouragement,” O’Reilly said.
He said his hope is in the faithful Catholics who devoted countless hours to protecting unborn babies during the campaign.
“For the first time in my life we have had a nationwide mission of evangelisation led and carried out – not by bishops, priests or religious – but by lay people,” O’Reilly said. “A mission, not preached in churches, but rather in radio and TV studios, in hotels and homes, on doorsteps and streets. That is truly a quiet revolution.”
He encouraged fellow pro-lifers to not give up hope, saying their work will continue in Ireland as lawmakers debate the extent to which abortion will be legal.
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“You may be disappointed with the results, but do not be,” the bishop said. “I pray that this will be the beginning of a new phase in the Church’s mission of evangelisation, and especially of spreading the Gospel of Life. The campaign to protect the lives of unborn children in Ireland has not ended. It has only just begun.”
On May 25, Ireland voted to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which gave unborn babies a right to life. Now, political leaders are debating when and how to legalize the killing of unborn babies. Lawmakers are considering a proposal to legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks and up to 6 months for a wide variety of circumstances.