THE SERVANT GENERAL
ASSAULTS ON FAITH, FAMILY AND LIFE
IRELAND’S VOTE – 2
What has happened to Catholic Ireland, in just a few decades,
is staggering. From a fervent and missionary nation, Ireland
has turned away from the faith. Just 3 decades ago they voted
for Amendment 8 to protect the unborn. Now they have overwhelmingly
voted to overturn this.
This is a dire warning to Catholic nations that somehow still
are “strong” in the faith. The tide is turning,
and the tsunami of evil can come very quickly.
There is a dire need for the New Evangelization. But many
Catholics, including priests and even bishops, are ignorant
of this call, or are not responding in a decisive way. Many
are complacent. But the only way to combat the growing evil
is to live and share Christ.
Onward to the New Evangelization!
St. John Paul II’s Prophesy for Ireland’s
by Fr. Shenan J. Boquet
“You will decide what Ireland will be.’”
St. Pope John Paul II
In 1979, Pope John Paul II gazed out over a sea of some 300,000
youth at a Mass for the Youth in Galway, Ireland. “When
I look at you,” he said, “I see the Ireland of
the future. Tomorrow, you will be the living force of your
country; you will decide what Ireland will be.” Alas,
that very generation, and the generation of children that
they have since raised, just decided what Ireland’s
future will be. One can only imagine that sainted pope’s
grief, were he physically here with us to witness what the
Irish people decided this past May 25th.
It is strange…it is very, very strange, is it not, to
see the photographs and videos of crowds of young Irish people
dancing and shouting and weeping tears of joy – joy!
– because the Irish people
have done a deed that no other country, even the most liberal
and corrupt, has done: they have voted by overwhelming popular
majority to permit the slaughter of their unborn brothers
In Ireland 64% of those registered to vote showed up to the
polls on the day of the referendum. And of those a distressing
66% voted to repeal the constitutional
amendment (84% of those 18-24 years old voted yes) that protects
the right to life of the unborn – almost the exact same
proportion that voted just over three decades ago to pass
Amendment 8 in the first place. So much has changed, and so
Of course, I had my forebodings. Ireland, for all its Catholic
history and conversion by St. Patrick, is not immune to the
ubiquitous power of popular culture, and the allure of the
new ideology of radical personal freedom and sexual autonomy
that has swept the West. Many of the warning
signs were there, including the recent legalization of divorce
and same-sex “marriage.” But neither I –
nor anybody else, it seems – expected that there would
be such an overwhelming and decisive defeat for the unborn.
St. John Paul II’s Prophetic Warning to Ireland
But perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised. St. Pope
John Paul II prophesied this. All of it.
In that same homily quoted above, the Pope laid out, in excruciating
detail, precisely what would happen if Ireland abandoned Christ
and its Christian roots.
The pope warned the youth that “the
religious and moral traditions of Ireland, the very soul of
Ireland, will be challenged by the temptations that spare
no society in our age.” The youth would
be told, he said, that “changes must be made”
that they must have “more freedom,” that they
should be “different” from their parents, “and
that the decisions about your lives depend on you, and you
Many of those standing before
him, he said, would be tempted to abandon Christ, despite
their Christian upbringing, family, and culture.
However, he warned, “A society that, in this way, has
lost its higher religious and moral principles will become
an easy prey for manipulation and for domination by the forces
which, under the pretext of greater freedom, will enslave
it ever more.”
Indeed, the pope even predicted that in Ireland’s future,
this attack would focus itself especially on the realm of
sexuality. “The lure of pleasure, to be had whenever
and wherever it can be found, will be strong and it may be
presented to you as part of progress towards greater autonomy
and freedom from rules.” This temptation will come especially
from “mass media,”
which will present a worldview in which “it is every
man for himself, and where the unrestrained affirmation of
self leaves no room for concern for others.”
This, indeed, is the lesson that untold hundreds of thousands,
if not millions, of Irish unborn babies will learn in the
In his homily, the pope also included a phrase that is chilling,
given what has happened since. Speaking of the temptation
to walk away from Christ, the pope said that “this can
happen especially if you see the contradiction
in the life of some of your fellowmen between the faith they
profess and their way of living.”
I wonder, did the pope know how prophetic those words would
turn out to be? Many people have noted that the
Catholic Church played a surprisingly minor role in the debate
over Amendment 8. “The Church, with the exception of
a sprinkling of pastorals, was tactically absent,”
notes Irish commentator John Waters over at First Things.
The reason why is no secret. In recent years, the Church’s
moral credibility has cratered. Revelations of physical and
sexual abuse at Church-run institutions, and cover-ups, have
catastrophically undermined the Church’s ability to
say anything about moral matters; the media is always ready
in such cases to hurl the Church’s own failings back
in its face.
But that still doesn’t entirely explain the conspicuous
absence of many pastors from the fight for life. “What
was unforgivable was that this silence extended to pulpits,”
said Waters. But then again, John Paul had also predicted
this sad betrayal. He noted that among
the many people who would tell the youth that their religious
beliefs were “hopelessly out of date, that they hamper
your style and your future” would be “even many
religious persons” – even, I suppose the pope
knew, some priests and bishops.
A Simple Remedy
The pope’s homily was not all doom and gloom for Ireland’s
future. The messages of the great prophets never are, even
if they are unrelentingly stark in their diagnoses.
In the face of all the forces
arrayed against the Gospel, and the “moral sickness”
that “stalks” Irish society, the youth must turn
to the only source of authentic joy: Christ.
“In Christ you will discover the true greatness of your
own humanity,” the pope exhorted. “Christ has
the answers to your questions and the key to history; he has
the power to uplift hearts. He keeps calling you, he keeps
inviting you, he who is ‘the way, and the truth, and
the life.’” Though the call of Christ is “demanding,”
said the pope, youth ought not to be afraid, for it is “only
with Him your life will be meaningful and worthwhile.”
A simple message. But what else is there?
For the pro-life Irish, who poured out their sweat and tears
in vain to defend the unborn, and who must now live in a country
that is morally alien to them, what else is there but Christ?
For those of us outside Ireland who fought, and fasted, and
prayed for Ireland, and looked to Ireland to continue acting
as a beacon of light and hope in the West, what else is there
The forces of the world are
strong. For today, they have prevailed. And
yet the pope also had a message for those of us who may feel
that “before the experiences of history and before concrete
situations, love has lost its power and that it is impossible
to practise it.” It is not so, said that great saint.
For, in the long run, “love always brings victory, love
is never defeated.”
For pro-life Ireland, May 25th was a dark, dark day. The darkest
of days. But love lives on. Pro-lifers must now adapt to the
new regime and find new ways to express that love in Ireland’s
future. Continue to fight for pro-life laws – of course!
Fight tooth and nail. But they must also find new and creative
ways to bring love to the hopeless women and men who will
soon begin seeking for false “solutions” in Ireland’s
abortion mills. Love them and love their child. Many lives
will be saved this way, as they have been saved elsewhere.
“Let us place this intention,” concluded the Pope,
after asking that the Irish would continue to listen to the
message of the Gospel, “at the feet of Mary, Mother
of God and Queen of Ireland, example of generous love and
dedication to the service of others.” This was the best
course then, and it is the best course for us now.
Our Lady of Knock, Pray for us! Pray for Ireland!