A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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Making a Meal of It: After Eight


One of the many frustrating aspects of the discussion around the repeal of the 8th amendment1 was the common refrain that the voices of clergy speaking as they do, in the case of Catholic priests, from a position of unmarried celibacy, were irrelevant to the conversation. The truth is that a priest engaged in active, compassionate parish ministry cannot help but encounter this issue up close, in real time. In the confessional booth, in pastoral visits, in impromptu conversations that suddenly open up on the choice about to be made, or just having been made, or made decades ago and stubbornly lingering and causing trauma despite everything that is said about how termination is a normal thing with no psychological or spiritual ramifications. In my short years of pastoral experience, even serving as the very-much junior member of a team with the Presbyterian congregation in Maynooth, I faced the considerable challenge of discussing the lived reality of choosing abortion with those who were in my care.