Politics

Irish Bishops Protest Amendment ‘Abolishing All Reference to Motherhood’

The Irish Catholic bishops have voiced united opposition to a proposed amendment that would eliminate all references to motherhood in the Constitution.

The proposed amendment “diminishes the unique importance of the relationship between marriage and family in the eyes of Society and State and is likely to lead to a weakening of the incentive for young people to marry,” the bishops said in a February 25 statement.

The so-called Care amendment “would have the effect of abolishing all reference to motherhood in the Constitution and leave unacknowledged the particular and incalculable societal contribution that mothers in the home have made and continue to make in Ireland,” they note.

“The role of mothers should continue to be cherished in our Constitution,” they add.

Ireland is set to vote in a referendum on March 8 to change the wording of Irish Constitution on Family and Care

Irish citizens will be asked to weigh in on an amendment to Article 41, which currently defines family as “founded on marriage,” to include “other durable relationships.”

“The Family, based on the exclusive, life-long and life-giving public commitment of Marriage, is the foundational cell of society and essential to the common good,” the bishops assert in their statement, reiterating Catholic teaching on the matter.

The second proposal would change present recognition that “by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved,” and “that the State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

The amendment would delete the “women in the home” clause and insert a new article recognizing “the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them.”

In their statement, the Irish Bishops’ Conference noted that the proposed changes would have the effect “of abolishing all reference to motherhood in the Constitution.”

“In an age when people, and especially women, often emphasise the desirability of balancing work and domestic commitments,” the text states, “it is noteworthy that the Constitution already recognises and seeks to facilitate the choice of mothers who wish especially to care for the needs of the family and the home.”

“It is reasonable to ask what benefit is it to Irish society to delete the terms ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ from the Constitution of Ireland?” the bishops ask. “People generally recognise the enormous commitment that women in Ireland have given, and continue to give, in relation to care, love and affection in the home.”



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