Anti-Catholic cartoon reveals the spirit of the recent anti-life Irish referendum

A lay reader today alerted me to an opinion cartoon in The Sunday Independent in Ireland. That sad, earthly-enslaved nation repealed by referendum the 8th amendment to their Constitution, which protected the right to life of the unborn.  The Constitution, by the way, begins in the name of the Trinity and says, “humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, …”.

Here’s the cartoon.   I think it says a lot about what was driving those who drove the referendum.

Meanwhile, at First Thingsread the piece by John Waters, who, inter alia, wrote:


If you would like to visit a place where the symptoms of the sickness of our time are found near their furthest limits, come to Ireland. Here you will see a civilization in freefall, seeking with every breath to deny the existence of a higher authority, a people that has now sentenced itself not to look upon the Cross of Christ lest it be haunted by His rage and sorrow.


For the first time in history, a nation has voted to strip the right to life from the unborn. The victims of this dreadful choice will be the most defenseless, those entirely without voice or words. This is the considered verdict of the Irish people, not—as elsewhere—an edict of the elites, imposed by parliamentary decree or judicial fiat. The Irish people are now the happy ones who dash their own children against the rocks.


The Church, with the exception of a sprinkling of pastorals, was tactically absent. This reticence is understandable in respect of the public realm: The leveraging of antipathy towards Catholicism is a core element of the pro-abortion strategy. What was unforgivable was that this silence extended to pulpits. The Association of Catholic Priests,[Ass. of Catholic Priests] a kind of theo-ideological trade union, intervened to criticize a minor trend of pro-lifers delivering homilies during Masses.


A priest correspondent wrote a group email today connecting us with Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s piece.  HERE  His parenthetical comment was apt:

So how is that Second Pentecost, New Springtime of the Church, New Evangelization working out?

I wonder what sort of cataclysm will it take to wake people up?   What percentage of the population will have to be lost?  How close to an “extinction event” would it have to be?

Maran atha!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. The cartoon is remarkably apt, and is nothing any faithful Catholic should be embarrassed about.

    Notice what the cartoon shows: that something was in the way — of what? Of killing Ireland’s children?

    You bet the Rosary was “in the way.” You bet the Catholic Faith was in the way.

    Depending on what new laws are enacted on abortion in Ireland, I fear there may be a big jump in abortions. I hope that will shock the consciences of many Irish. That’s what happened in the U.S. There were many, many who supported, or shrugged in reaction to, liberalizing abortion here, back in the 1960s and 70s. But when people saw just how many abortions resulted, a lot of consciences were awakened.

  2. JustaSinner says:

    How can a nation seeped in the Graces of God, sink so low, so fast? Satan’s Old Scratch Liar, George Soros, at it again. Father, I know I shan’t pray for Mr. Soros’ untimely death, but it is Okay to ask that God pulls his mortal coil so that he may reap his final reward?

  3. Marine Mom says:

    My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I beg pardoned You for all who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.

  4. Fr_Andrew says:

    What invading armies and occupiers for millenia could not do to the Irish, they have done to themselves.

    It is only made worse by the silence of the Church who tacitly allowed her children to sow the seeds of their own destruction.

    Quite tragic, but not unexpected.

  5. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Evangelii gaudium! Amoris laetitia! Laudato sí! Gaudete et Exultate! Joy and Praise! Hundreds and hundreds of pages. But nary a word to defend the unborn in Ireland. Pray, pray for our Church so misled and the people who are going to Hell, partly because they have been told it does not exist.

  6. Mario Bird says:

    “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Ireland,
    This nurse, this teeming womb of holy monks . . .
    Is now returned – I die pronouncing it –
    Unto the Druids and the pagan powers. . . .
    That Ireland, that was wont to convert others,
    Hath made a shameful convert of itself.”

    –with apologies to Bill Shakespeare and Ss. Patrick, Columba, and Bridget

  7. Luminis says:

    We Iived in Ireland for 10 years. What a sad day

  8. PostCatholic says:

    Not quite removed yet. Were I the leadership of Catholic Ireland, I would start thinking about how to exit public education in a dignified, orderly way—before the role is taken away by the electorates.

  9. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I am moved to anger when I hear clerics using phrases like “Second Pentecost,” “New Springtime” or “New Evangelization” seriously. The Church in the West is basically in a free fall, and has been since the decline started in the early 1960s and accelerated through and after V2. Any Church hierarch who doesn’t understand this truth is suffering from a delusional disorder, and any hierarch who understands but would rather “be liked” than help solve the problem is a tool of the Enemy. Miranatha.

  10. Julia_Augusta says:

    If it’s easy to kill humans in the womb because they’re inconvenient, it will be just as easy to kill humans outside the womb when they become inconvenient. In the next half-century (assuming a nuclear bomb or an asteroid hit doesn’t end life on earth), we will witness the killing of old people who are too burdensome to be supported by their families and by society. Many of these old folks won’t even have families, thanks to contraception and abortion. So they’ll be at the mercy of the Godless state.

  11. ChesterFrank says:

    Catholic Ireland lasted a lot longer than the USA and most of Europe. It has me thinking of 1Kings 18, with Elijah on Mount Carmel. Someday the Irish will remember that they are truly Catholic, and look fondly on their true faith. Until then I suspect there will bee a lot of gloom as they trudge through the muck.

  12. chantgirl says:

    Fr. Z, I think that you are correct that it will take a chastisement of Biblical proportions to wake the world from its stupor. I just wonder, when that day comes, will there be any priests left to minister to the dying?

    Since the vote was pretty much 2-1, perhaps every faithful Catholic in Ireland should choose 2 fallen-away brethren, offering prayer and sacrifices for their return. Perhaps prayer processions along the trails that led to forest altars during penal times could be organized. I seem to remember that a book was recently published which mapped out these old trails.

  13. robtbrown says:

    Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I am moved to anger when I hear clerics using phrases like “Second Pentecost,” “New Springtime” or “New Evangelization” seriously.

    “New treachery of Judas” might now be appropriate.

  14. Maineman1 says:

    Well, now that Ireland has effectively ceased to be a Catholic nation, I wonder if the Vatican will call for a western regional council to finally address the utter collapse of modern Catholicism in the West?

    The loss of Ireland is like the fall of Constantinople for the Orthodox.

  15. NBW says:

    It’s heartbreaking to hear that so many in Ireland voted for abortion. They’ve just catapulted themselves back into the Druid Age.

  16. ps200306 says:

    Ireland long since ceased to be a Catholic country. That fact has been obscured by surveys which show that, even now, 78.3% of the population identify as Catholic. If so, they are not Catholics who understand the most basic elements of their faith, nor subscribe to even the rudiments of Catholic moral teaching.

    In last Friday’s abortion referendum only a single one of the forty voting constituencies — the most isolated rural one — had a majority vote against, and that was less than 52%. Among all the age cohorts, only people aged over 65 voted against, at 59%. More than three quarters of people under 50 voted for abortion, and nearly seven out of eight under 35. And although the referendum disinformation campaign focused on compassion for the supposed “hard cases”, the actual proposed legislation was for unrestricted, on-demand first trimester abortions, so people can’t have been under any illusion that they were voting for some limited option.

    The Association of Catholic Priests which claims a third of Irish clergy as members considered abortion too “complex and nuanced” a topic to be addressed in church. (Apparently it’s too complex and nuanced for the comments box on their website too, as they won’t print comments from people like me). When the good and holy priest of the parish I attended last week brought up the subject in the most sensitive way at the end of Mass, more than a handful of the already scant congregation walked out.

    Irish parents baptise their children for the sole purpose of gaining entry to Catholic schools. The children make First Communions as a rite of passage, but otherwise never darken the door of a church. As I know from an educator in a Confirmation class, the few who make it as far as that sacrament often don’t even know the persons of the Trinity, let alone other basics of the faith.

    At this point it is beyond comprehension why the bishops don’t pull up the tent pegs and get out of the education business. They are vilified for their involvement anyway, and it is clearly utterly ineffective. Are they afraid to be the ones who have to admit the house has come down around their ears? While they continue the pretence they have the impossible task of catechising a young generation whose own parents despise the church. For the remaining people in the pews there is confusion about what the church stands for, when some among their own congregation and perhaps even their own priests voted to kill innocent children. In this milieu it becomes easy to doubt one’s own faith. I kid you not, I even know some “atheist Catholics” for whom the church’s role is merely social. I presume that such inculturation explains how such a high percentage of the Irish population still claims to be Catholic, but I believe that the codependency between church and culture has become a disaster for both.

    I pray that God will be merciful and will not forget Ireland, even as it forgets Him.

  17. GM Thobe says:

    In light of the voting history of the past few years, it appears that Ireland, of all places, is now a de facto mission country. How quickly it seems to have happened. Would now be perhaps an opportune time to reevaluate the methods of transmitting the Faith?

  18. Robert_Caritas says:

    What has happened in Ireland is a tragedy, but I don’t think this warrants attacking the various predictions about a new Pentecost or second spring for the Church.

    The great mystic Ven. Marthe Robin said she saw this Pentecost as something which would happen very slowly and very progressively, and that it had probably even started during her lifetime (she passed away in 1981). In the main, it will not involve big flashy events.

    What we are seeing today is the falling away of branches which have long been dead. 90% of Irish youth voted for abortion – the culture there has been secularised for a long time.

    Interestingly though, a priest I know in rural France told me that the more the Church becomes weak and poor in his area, the more it has become open to orthodox and traditional practices. He says he has found enthusiasm in his diocese for practices like adoration, street evangelisation, processions, etc., when probably even a decade ago they would have been met with ambivalence or even hostility.

    Predictions from highly reliable and authoritative sources about a new Pentecost should be a source of hope for those who are working to plant its seeds. We should deplore and mourn the catastrophes in the Church, but lets not let our hope be weakened.

  19. xsosdid says:

    Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote in 1944, ” I saw and heard: the point of a lance like a flame that is detached, touches the axis of the earth, and it trembles: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, the rivers, the clouds, exceed their boundaries, inundating and dragging with them, in a vortex, houses and people in a number that cannot be counted. It is the purification of the world from the sin in which it is immersed. Hatred, ambition, provoke the destructive war. After I felt my racing heart, in my spirit a soft voice said: ‘In time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. In eternity, Heaven!’ This word ‘Heaven’ filled my heart with peace and happiness in such a way that, almost without being aware of it, I kept repeating to myself for a long time: Heaven, Heaven.”

    In October of 2017, A/2017 U1, a cigar-shaped asteroid was observed leaving the solar system. It was the first interstellar object (i.e. not an object originating within our solar system) to be observed within the solar system. It was heavy, made of metal, about a thousand feet long, and it’s closest point to Earth was on October 13-14th, the 100 year anniversary of the miracle of the sun. It was completely unexpected and only observed well after passing the planet. They (astronomers) do not know where it came from, nor if there are others like it on the way.

  20. LarryW2LJ says:

    My mother-in-law, who was born in County Donegal would be beside herself, were she alive today. I can only take small consolation in two things:

    1) The fact that Donegal was the only county in Ireland where the “No” vote predominated.
    2) That she’s not alive to see how far the country of her birth has fallen.

  21. Elizium23 says:

    I am with Reverend Fox. I am not angered, or offended by the cartoon. No, the cartoonist captured the sentiment exactly.

    In the past few months I undertook a DNA test which itemized my ancestry in a remarkable way, since I was adopted and never knew my birth-parents. I am 52% Irish, from Donegal, County Ulster. The other 48% is European. I was born in these USA, less than 12 months prior to Roe v. Wade. I–and my parents–dodged a very real bullet.

    I have recently taken time to reflect on my life as a pro-life activist. I have begun to question the priority of it in my life, considering Pope Francis’ defocusing, as well as my disillusionment with hypocritical leaders and members. I am gradually resolving to cool it, externally, while ramping up internally. I know in my heart that we can continually enrage ourselves and have online tantrums about all that is wrong in the world, or we can get our own houses in order, work on our personal holiness, corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and evangelize the world through personal encounters. That is my calling for my state in life. To fritter away countless hours on Facebook and Wikipedia, this is vanity, all is vanity. To make good Confessions, receive the Eucharist worthily and to spend one hour with Him every week, this is Heaven on Earth.

  22. Ave Maria says:

    Bravo to Elizium23 : I think you are correct. Reading depressing Church and secular news—rarely any good news from either one just brings a person down. Fr. Chad Ripperger has a wonderful talk about detachment and we need this very much. We have our own souls to save! This is done by living an intense sacramental and prayer life. This also is the counter to the evil around us which is increasing exponentially. The true faithful Catholic is in the crosshairs. What is left of our faithful religious communities are in the crosshairs and from within the Church this time. It is a time for Saints! Let us seek to be among them.

  23. Simon_GNR says:

    I’ve written to the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, to suggest to him that, with the legislation to allow abortion in the Republic of Ireland still needing to pass through the Dail, he should consider excommunicating any Catholic T.D.’s (the equivalent of Congressmen) and senators who vote to approve the proposed law. Whether he has the courage to do this we shall see. I’m not holding my breath though.

    On a happier note, there’s still a substantial part of Ireland – and a substantial part of Archbishop Martin’s own diocese – where abortion will continue to be very restricted. That is, Northern Ireland, the six counties that are still part of the United Kingdom. Despite the Abortion Act of 1967 in Great Britain, that law has never applied to Northern Ireland, and it remains a devolved matter for which Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly is responsible. Interestingly, in Northern Ireland protestants form the majority, and the majority of protestants are Presbyterians. In the light of the Irish referendum result, there is pressure being applied to the British Prime Minister to impose a liberalisation in the Northern Ireland law on abortion, but she has so far refused to do so. Thank God.

  24. jaykay says:

    ps200306: excellent comment. You’ve summed up the situation exactly as it is. I think the ACP should be described as the Assoc. of Quisling Priests.

    Simon_GNR: I (sadly) very much doubt Abp. Martin will do that, or any of them. The “three monkeys approach” will go on. And yes, you’re perfectly right about Northern Ireland, which is why we in the RoI have to help them so much now. It struck me that it’s really like the situation after Dunkirk: retreat to an as yet un-invaded space, regroup and try to build up strength for the eventual push back – far, far away as that might now seem. Quite a good parallel, in fact, since so many of those who oppose abortion there identify as British (and let me say I have no problem with that, nor ever had. God bless them).

    As it happens, the next pro-life Rally is in Belfast on 7th July (it alternates between Dublin and Belfast on different years). I’m really glad it’s in Belfast this year and I really do hope that many of the almost 100,000 who marched in Dublin on last March 10th will come there to give witness that we ain’t gone away – not by a long chalk!!

  25. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks ps200306, jaykay, et al.

    Robert_Caritas wrote: “…a priest I know in rural France told me that the more the Church becomes weak and poor in his area, the more it has become open to orthodox and traditional practices. He says he has found enthusiasm in his diocese for practices like adoration, street evangelisation, processions, etc., when probably even a decade ago they would have been met with ambivalence or even hostility.” Interesting, ex malo bonum.

    Fr. Fox: Good points.

    Mario Bird: Well done, my guess is that Bill Shakespeare would approve.

    Thanks Fr. Z for the John Waters First Things article. And for the recent Mosebach First Things and Abp. Chaput articles.

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