The Bishops of Ireland concluded their Spring 2019 General Meeting Wednesday issuing a statement on the topics discussed.
Vatican meeting on Protection of Minors
During the gathering in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, the Bishops reflected on the recent meeting on ‘The Protection of Minors in the Church’ which took place from 21-24 February in the Vatican.
Also present was the chair and CEO of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland who updated the bishops on the standards and guidance for safeguarding children which exist throughout the Church in the country.
Another issue high on the agenda during the General meeting were pre-conditions of employment for pro-life doctors.
The Bishops noted with regret the pre-conditions for applicants listed in a recent advertisement for a post of a Consultant in Obstetrics/Gynaecology and for a post of Consultant in Anaesthesia at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.
One of the main pre-conditions for all applicants, the Bishops pointed out, “is a requirement to carry out elective abortions if appointed.”
They underlined that they, “consider that this precondition runs totally counter to a doctor’s constitutional and human right to freedom of conscience”, and said, “this totally undermines the whole concept of freedom of conscience which was guaranteed in the recent [abortion] legislation”.
In this season of Lent the Irish Bishops encouraged people in Ireland to support this year’s Trócaire Lenten appeal to raise vital funds for the agency’s work in the developing world. Trocaire is the Irish Church’s overseas development agency and the 2019 appeal is on the theme of land rights. “It highlights stories of people from Uganda, Guatemala and Syria who have lost their land, either through corporate land grab, war or simply because they are women.”
The Bishops also invited the faithful to read Pope Francis’ message for Lent 2019 on the theme ‘For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God’ in preparation for Holy Week and Easter.
Finally, as St Patrick’s Day draws near, the Bishops encouraged the faithful to honour the patron saint of Ireland by participating in the celebration of Mass on Sunday 17 March.
They emphasized that “the plight of Patrick, himself a migrant, has been faced by many Irish people who have struggled to live and integrate into new cultures. Patrick was called to serve and bring God to a people far from his homeland and became a pioneer in an inhospitable climate.”