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Ireland's first gay prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has announced that the country will have a referendum on abortion “rights” in mid-2018. Varadkar, the first Irish minister of Indian descent, also promised proximate referenda on divorce laws, the state’s definition of the role of stay-at-home mothers, and the abolishment of the constitutional offense of blasphemy. The abortion referendum is set to take place shortly before Pope Francis’ scheduled visit to Ireland for next year’s World Meeting of Families (August 21-26, 2018).
Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has already stated that Pope Francis’ visit will have a “different style and scale” than Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1979. Although John Paul II was 59 at the time of his visit, and Francis will be 81, the age difference would not seem to be the determining factor in the planning of the papal visitation. Archbishop Martin explained that Francis “will come to a very different Ireland than Pope John Paul.”
The state of things, religious and secular, in Ireland is heart-wrenching. Well-known are the astronomically-reduced practice of the Catholic Faith, the decreasing importance given to Christ and His Church by younger generations, and the virtual lack of priestly and religious vocations on the Emerald Isle. The downward spiral foretold by Fr. D. Vincent Twomey in his 2003 book The End of Irish Catholicism came to pass, and necessitated a March 2010 Pastoral Letter to the Catholics of Ireland by Pope Benedict XVI — a document hardly acknowledged in the scandal-ridden Irish church and nation.
How could the “land of saints and scholars” have reached this point? How is it possible that the nation, formerly so quintessentially Catholic, legalized same-sex “marriage” in 2015? How can it be that the country of St. Patrick and of the other great Hibernian saints and missionaries now considers legalizing abortion? We watch, almost helpless, as the island that produced Blessed Abbot Columba Marmion, Servant of God Frank Duff and the great Fr. Denis Fahey in modern times, readies itself (in all probability) to promote divorce and to give the nod to blasphemies against the Holy Name of God.
The Irish constitution begins with the words (until another referendum?): “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred, We, the people of Éire [Ireland], Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial, Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation...”
Yet, where is the recognition of the Most Holy Trinity in Ireland, in 2017? In this land where Christ the King formerly reigned, the government now sanctions that which has always been forbidden by Almighty God and His Church. The Hill of Slane, Croagh Patrick and the Mass Rocks are giving way to rainbow flags, divorce decrees and sinful profanity. Quo vadis, Hibernia? Where are you going, Ireland?
Recalling always the indispensable role of Our Lady (Who appeared at Knock, Ireland in 1879), let us commend these discouraging developments taking place in that country to the Mediatrix of all Graces. The necessity, importance and obligations of the Fatima Message apply not only to Portugal or Russia, but to Ireland and every nation on earth. Having made a consecration already on August 15, 2013, the Irish bishops would do well to explicitly consecrate soon their nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to not only save the final vestiges of Catholicism remaining on the isle, but for the complete restoration of the Faith there.