The shockwaves after Ireland voted to repeal their pro life legal protections for unborn children are still being felt. A new report indicates a pro-life Catholic priest is being disciplined for telling his congregation that if they voted to repeal the pro-life law they should go to confession.
The vote in Ireland to repeal the 8th Amendment left pro-life people, and specifically members of the Catholic Church around the world, stunned. Ireland had long been a pro-life nation that valued its women and unborn children but it paved the way for legislation to legalize abortion when it removed its Eighth Amendment protections for babies before birth.
According to a news report at the Catholic website Church Militant, a Catholic priest was abruptly transferred from his Parish Church and some members of the congregation say he is unfairly being punished for saying the probe Orson Catholic should go to confession.
Father James E. Larkin is a priest in the archdiocese of Dublin, headed by Abp. Diarmuid Martin. Formerly of the parish of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Clonskeagh, Larkin was unexpectedly reassigned last week to a chaplaincy with the Sisters of Loreto in Rathfarnham.
Sources say that backlash against Fr. Larkin’s pro-life advocacy is what led to the change in assignment. A local pro-life canvasser who wished to be called “Anne” told Church Militant in an email that Fr. Larkin spoke against the results of Ireland’s abortion referendum, in which Irish voters in May voted to legalize abortion, rejecting the constitutional right to life of the unborn in Ireland’s Eighth Amendment.
According to Anne, Fr. Larkin warned that voting in favor of legalized child killing is a grave sin and that repentance and confession are needed for anyone who voted for abortion.
“After the referendum, he asked the congregation to consider going to confession if they had voted ‘Yes,’” she explained.
“It appears this is the reason he has been moved,” Anne said, adding that the “speed and unfairness” of his removal “upset many people.”
Church Militant called Miraculous Medal Parish for comment on Monday. A staffer there confirmed that Fr. Larkin recently left the parish but declined to give comments or further details, although he did call Fr. Larkin “a pre-Vatican II priest.”
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Anne said she attended Fr. Larkin’s last Mass at Miraculous Medal on July 13.
“He read out the letter from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin which said that ‘he was delighted to appoint him as Chaplain to a Loretto convent in Rathfarnham in Dublin,’” she explained. “This was with immediate effect and he was to start this new job on Saturday 14th. He was to have no public Masses and to have no contact with his old parish or parishioners.”
She added that the priest did say the transfer was “not just.”
The decision is an odd one given that Bishop Kevin Doran did the same thing in May and called on Irish Catholics to attend confession if they voted to repeal the country’s pro-life Eighth Amendment.
Doran, who serves the Catholic Diocese of Elphin, a different diocese, told RTE Today that he believes knowingly voting in favor of abortion is a sin.
“I do find it quite surprising that a majority of people voted for this,” he said of the vote.
He said he thinks it is a sin if Catholics voted yes knowing that it was leading to abortion.
“Every person’s vote has a moral significance and a political significance. The Catholic Church is a family and nobody ever gets struck off and God never takes back his love. What I would say to a Catholic who voted yes is this: if you voted yes knowing and intending that abortion would be the outcome, then you should consider coming to confession, where you would be received with the same compassion that is shown to any other penitent.”
When asked if he considered a yes vote a sin, he replied: “If they knew and intended abortion as the outcome, yes I believe so.”