The Temple Bar in Dublin … Irish are worshipping at secular shrines these days.
Here are two moments in Irish history.
May 17, 1943: The Irish all but “dancing at the crossroads” in De Valera’s vision of Catholic Ireland.
May 26, 2018: Irish women all but dancing at Dublin Castle to the new gods of Soros and capitalism.
Between these two moments, on October 7, 1983, Catholic Ireland had inserted the following into the Irish Constitution:
“The [Irish] State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
Just over a week ago secularised Ireland voted to remove that clause. But not before American billionaire George Soros had helped them out with donations amounting to 137,000 euros (US$160,000). (Amnesty International Ireland, the recipient, has been ordered by the government to pay the illegal grants back.)
De Valera's appeal to Irishness
In 1943, the second Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Irish Free State, Éamon De Valera, delivered a famous speech to the people of Ireland: “On Language and the Irish Nation”. Though it has been subject to ridicule for its idealisation of Ireland, De Valera’s point was that, post-colonisation, Ireland should embrace its Irishness — all the elements that had been censored during British occupation, such as the Irish language, Gaelic sports and céilí (Irish) dancing. Catholics had been persecuted during the centuries of occupation, so religion was also referred to in his speech.
The Constitution of Ireland, written at De Valera’s instigation in 1937, specifically guaranteed freedom of religion, and in general is still regarded as ahead of its time. Section 40, into which the Eighth Amendment was inserted, concerns fundamental rights, including the right to protection from the State against “unjust attack”. However, it is unlikely that many of the Irish voters who chose to remove the Eighth Amendment last month have read the full version of Article 40, let alone the whole document. Even fewer of them will have read it in the Irish language, the version which still takes legal precedence over the English edition.
Rather, it appears that Irishness has gone out the window along with Catholicism and the right to life of the unborn child, and we are preparing to recolonise our country by adopting a more barbaric form of the UK’s 1967 Abortion Act. A policy paper approved by our government would allow abortion on demand up to twelve weeks and for vague mental health grounds up to week 24. In truth, the shoddily written document can be interpreted as permitting abortion up to birth. Even the UK Act stops short of this.
'Shrouded in shame'?
Ireland has been seen by outsiders as one of the most pro-life countries in the world. But on the inside it hasn't looked like this for some time. It is difficult to explain to a visitor what it's like to live in Ireland. As an Irish ex-pat who has lived for four years in predominantly secular UK, it is a very different experience. Many British still see Ireland “shrouded in shame” regarding abortion and yet few Britons will talk openly about this subject in their native country.
Those abroad could be forgiven for thinking that Ireland is still full of sexual guilt. However, one in three Irish children is born outside of wedlock now and few make an issue out of this. Ireland is Catholic more in name than anything else. Although almost everyone goes to Catholic schools (admittedly, not fully out of choice) and most are still baptised and confirmed, it's not done with a full heart.
Though churches are everywhere, many are almost empty on Sundays. My own Dublin childhood church is no longer packed as it was in the 1980s. A number of the pews have been sealed off and a portion of it has been converted into a prayer room. Irish hypocrisy lies in the fact that many who apparently reject the faith still get married in a Catholic church, weakly claiming that it's a “tradition” to do so.
A Repeal video by Amnesty (the “human rights” group that also supports legalised prostitution) used graveyard imagery to depict the Eighth Amendment as “chaining” Ireland to a deathly Catholic past. With Irish actor Liam Neeson doing the voice-over, it was the mythology of The Magdalene Sisters, My Left Foot and Angela’s Ashes rolled into one spooky epitaph for the 1950s. Yet the 87 percent of the 18-24 year olds who voted for Repeal know nothing of the 1950s world of “Catholic shame”. They know next to nothing about Catholicism, either.
Secular vs secularist
Though they have donned “secular” garb, when presented with the scientific facts about the unborn child and UK abortion statistics by Save the 8th groups, they chose to ignore them and run to the quasi-religious tropes (“Trust women”) of the Repeal side. It was the Save the 8th campaign that was truly secular in its arguments, as is the pro-life movement in general today.
Before his Catholic conversion, American abortionist Bernard Nathanson would have been proud of the way that Repealers marched through Dublin waving their “My body, my rights” posters — slogans that he and Larry Lader had brainstormed together in the 1960s.
Other old favourites doing the rounds in Dublin last month included the surely now-defunct “Get your rosaries off my ovaries”. (As Nathanson stated in later years, he had wanted Catholics scapegoated for women’s deaths from illegal abortion, the figures of which he admitted to greatly exaggerating.) And Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was still parroting Hillary Clinton’s catchphrase of “safe, legal and rare”, even though she had abandoned it in 2008.
When the abortion multinationals start [bank]rolling into Ireland and when the Irish learn that there is no such thing as a rare abortion, no doubt there will be plenty of shame and guilt.
Only this time, it will have nothing to do with Catholicism.
Maria Horan is a teacher of English, writer, novelist and business owner. Though Irish born, she lives in the UK with her husband and newborn son.