Northern Ireland

Cardinal's Christmas message reiterates anti-abortion stance

Cardinal Sean Brady
Image caption Cardinal Brady has reiterated the church's stance on abortion

The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has used his Christmas message to reiterate the church's stance on abortion.

Cardinal Sean Brady urged everyone who believed in the right to life, to put their views in writing to politicians.

His comments have been made against the backdrop of the Irish government preparing to introduce legislation when the mother's life is at risk.

It follows the death of Savita Halappanavar in October.

News of her death at the University Hospital Galway led to a series of protests against Ireland's abortion laws.

Cardinal Brady said in his Christmas message that he hoped "that everyone who believes that the right to life is fundamental will make their voice heard in a reasonable, but forthright way to their representatives, reminding them that the right to life is conferred on human beings not by the powerful ones of this world but by the Creator".

The Church of Ireland primate of all-Ireland, Archbishop Richard Clarke, has called for a renewal of faith in his Christmas message.

He said when people stopped connecting with their religious faith, they lost confidence in themselves and those around them.

"There can be surely little doubt that when people stop connecting with their religious faith - their sense that they are in the hands of a God who loves them - they may easily then start to lose faith in themselves, and hence lose faith also in those around them, and so become angry, embittered and fearful," he said.

The Presbyterian Moderator, the Rev Roy Patton, said the challenge was to live out the love and hope of the Christmas message "all year round".

"Think about those living in our communities who feel socially isolated, abandoned, frustrated, disconnected, and discontented; second class citizens, those with little sense of aspiration for something better," he added.

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