Clare Bailey MLA (‘Government must legislate on abortion reform in NI,’ March 9) tries to strengthen her case for abortion by citing the views ( expressed in a letter to the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man ) of a Catholic priest based in that Crown Dependency, one Monsignor John Devine.
She quotes his opinions that every abortion is an act of desperation and that those who have abortions are not murderers.
I have not been able to find the full text of Monsignor Devine’s letter and in the absence of such a text I will refrain from commenting on his views in detail.
However, I will point out that one account of his letter ( published on the Catholic News Agency website ) states that he also criticised abortions on social gounds and abortions for conditions such as Down’s Syndrome and Cleft Palates. Strange to say, Clare Bailey does not mention this in her letter.
In any case, Monsignor Devine is an individual cleric and his views are not necessarily always those of his Church; the official position of his Church is clear-all abortions are wrong.
This has always been the Church’s position. It is also the position adhered to by many Christians in other denominations.
Some readers will be already aware that Clare Bailey has in recent weeks attempted to claim that the Catholic Church’s position on abortion dates back only to 1869-an assertion refuted on historical grounds by a number of respondents to her letter ( this author among them).
She has also attempted to appeal to the example of Catholics for Choice, a pro-abortion fringe group which has no standing within the Catholic Church.
So far as I am aware Clare Bailey is not a practising member of the Catholic Church or of any other Christian denomination; her letters do not suggest that she possseses any great knowledge of religious matters; and she has already been subjected to very cogent criticism from sources who are rather better informed on such matters than she is.
Her continuing eagerness to try to bolster her pro-abortion views by appealing to religious sources is as puzzling as it is dismaying.
C.D.C. Armstrong, Belfast BT12