Saturday, 2 July 2011
Where was Micheal Voris when Bishop Walsh was speaking (in favour of...?) abortion to Irish university students?
Picture it; summer 2005. We were university students, perched in seats, hunched over note pads, gel pens at the ready to take down Bishop William Walsh’s words. We were swots/boffins supreme and were expecting Bishop Walsh as a guest lecturer on religious matters in contemporary Ireland. Every word he said would be scratched down, and repeated to impress the faculty. A stooped figure in black turned the corner into the lecture hall. Hundreds of students fixed their gaze on this bishop, perhaps the first bishop they had seen in the flesh since their confirmation. An unusual quiet descended. Bishop Walsh strode onto the podium, dressed in simple clerical garb with shaking hands and a ready sigh. He looked at us from beneath a grey fringe hanging over his forehead, and did he give John Henry Newman style rhetoric in defence of Church teaching? Not quite. He meditated on how he had seen Catholic parents raise children with disabilities, and ‘how hard’ it was for the parents involved. Then said that he was ‘unwilling’ to totally denounce not going ahead with certain pregnancies..because…well…sher…sher…grand…when he heard someone was carrying a child with a disability, then he was ‘unwilling’ (this word was repeated countless times) to condemn ending the pregnancy.
He shrugged and told us that, in the past, other university students had tackled him on this, and said that abortion for the handicapped was wrong. Bishop Walsh looked from under his fringe, and told us how ‘very upset and emotional’ one female student had become because he was seemingly advocating abortion for unborn disabled children. He didn’t deny this opinion that day in the auditorium, as hundreds of Irish students (as a fact, I knew at the time that a percentage of the students present had got abortions) looked on him in flabbergasted silence. Bishop Walsh shook his hands from side to side, and restated that he was ‘unwilling’ to rule out an abortion for a mother carrying a child with a disability.
This blog does not bash ‘the bishop, the bishops!’ But this is an anecdote from my time as a university student, and is shared by thousands of other Irish ‘Catholics’ who heard Bishop Walsh’s lectures. Yes, I hold a university degree (…somewhere…). Had I not known the Catholic teaching on pro-life matters (‘from the womb to the tomb’) previous to my hour with Bishop Walsh, would I have been the wiser after hearing of his ‘unwilling’ stance to denounce abortion for say, a foetus/little unborn child with Down’s Syndrome?