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Sunday, March 26, 2017
Statements from Irish Bishops' June meeting (i): Criminal Law Amendment Act; CURA
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¬†Following the completion on Wednesday evening of the June General Meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference in Maynooth, statements were released on these subjects: - Supreme Court decision on the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1935; - CURA; (see the next e-mail for further statements on) - Human Trafficking; - Rural planning policy in Northern Ireland; - The decision of An Bord PleanŠla regarding St Colman's Cathedral, Cobh - Vocations survey for 2005 Supreme Court decision regarding the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1935 The Bishops discussed the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down as unconstitutional the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1935, on statutory rape. The Bishops' recalled the words published last year in Our Children, Our Church, the child protection policy for the Catholic Church in Ireland, which state: "Each child shall be cherished and affirmed as a gift from God with an inherent right to dignity of life and bodily integrity which shall be respected , nurtured and protected by all." The Bishops also noted that Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. The Bishops emphasised that the protection of the child, therefore, is our paramount concern and therefore call on Oireachtas members to ensure that the necessary legislation is put in place to protect young people. Nevertheless the Bishops also took the opportunity to state their firm belief that it would be a grave wrong for any review of legislation in this area would to seek to lower the age of consent which is the age at which the law presumes a person to have the physical, emotional and intellectual maturity to make an informed adult decision to enter into sexual activity. The Catholic Church sees sexual activity as part of the sacred vocation of marriage and therefore it is a calling given personally by God to every married couple, to cooperate with Him in his work of creation, redemption, and sanctification. For this reason the Bishops strongly oppose the lowering of the age of consent as this can only increase the likelihood that young people will be drawn into premature sexual experiences, thus ultimately setting back the goal of a mature and loving sexual relationship within marriage. All of us, whether in Church, in civic life, as parents or as youth leaders, we all have a responsibility to do our best to ease the burden of societal and peer pressure on young people today to become sexually active before they are ready to assume the attendant duties and responsibilities. It would be a sad irony that, by way of our effort to protect young people, we ultimately undermine their human dignity by robbing them of their childhood and placing upon their shoulders burdens which can only truly be borne by mature adults. CURA The Bishops reviewed the issues which have been raised in relation to CURA. The Bishops commended the effort of all those involved in the ongoing dialogue with CURA and the Crisis Pregnancy Agency. Statements continue on next e-mail. Source: Irish Cathoilic Media Office
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