Monsignor John Devine, OBE, stands accused of distorting Catholic teaching on abortion and of lying by saying that people who have abortions are not murderers.
Attacks on Devine, the highest-ranking Catholic cleric on the Isle of Man, began after he revealed in a letter that he had criticised pro-lifers who were opposing the Isle of Man’s Abortion Reform Bill, which is on the verge of being passed.
This bill, according to Church Militant:
Will establish the most permissive abortion regime in the British Isles, legalising the procedure well into the second trimester.
LifeSiteNews reports that, in his letter to the island’s Chief Minister, Devine, who serves as Dean of the Roman Catholic Church on the Isle of Man, representing the Archdiocese of Liverpool, said:
People who have abortions are not murderers and are not bad people. Similarly, politicians proposing changes to legislation on abortion are not bad people either but individuals attempting to do what is right.
Some of the situations envisaged in the Bill do present a genuine moral dilemma – balancing the life of the mother against the life of the child. None of these decisions are easy. Every abortion is an act of desperation.
Devine then went on to “disparage” pro-lifers who show opposition to the bill by using abortion-victim photography, calling them a “lunatic fringe”.
Attempts to shock the public in the street with explicit material not only reinforces that impression, it also allows those with whom we seek a reasoned and compassionate debate to dismiss our genuine and legitimate concerns.
The Catholic church wishes to be supportive of those who find themselves contemplating an abortion whatever decision they take.
It abounds in logical fallacies and moral contradictions. He first derides members of his church and other Christians as the ‘lunatic fringe’ for using images of aborted babies in demonstrations.
After dismissing the lunatic fringe, he rolls in the hay with the heretic fringe. ‘People who have abortions are not murderers and are not bad people,’ he pontificates. Devine is blissfully ignorant or wilfully lying. For 2,000 years the Catholic Church has called abortion murder.
Gomes said Devine’s argument “caves in” when he refers to:
Every abortion’ as ‘an act of desperation’. Murder, theft, and child abuse are also ‘acts of desperation’. In the Monsignor’s world we’d be making provision for murderers, thieves and child abusers.
Devine’s position on abortion as expressed in his letter is no surprise according to Catholic observers on the island. An investigative report by Church Militant found that Devine:
Has shunned a host of pro-life organisations.
Organisations he has refused to work with include the Humanity and Equality in Abortion Reform (HEAR), The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, Britain’s oldest and largest pro-life group, The UK pro-life and crisis pregnancy charity Life, and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.
The House of Keys, the lower house of the island’s parliament, voted 22-0 for the abortion bill at Second Reading on January 30. The legislation has now passed to the clauses stage where its provisions will be debated in more detail.
The final vote in the House of Keys is likely to take place this month. If approved, the Bill will then go to the Legislative Council, the island’s upper house, which can return the legislation with amendments.