Bishop: `Rape victims find abortion worse than rape'

Bishop Dermot Farrell was ordained to lead Diocese of Ossory in March

A CATHOLIC bishop and former president of the Church's Irish seminary has said abortion "was far worse than rape" for women who have experienced both.

Bishop of Ossory, Monsignor Dermot Farrell, was discussing the Republic's May 25 referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution.

The Eighth Amendment gives equal protection to life of the mother and the unborn child, underpinning abortion legislation in the south.

He was asked by Pat Kenny, on the broadcaster's Newstalk show today, for his views on the use of abortion in cases of rape and incest.

The bishop had been invited on the programme to discuss a pastoral letter to churches in his diocese urging a no vote by parishioners.

"Rape is a violent act and it is a violent crime against women, and it is a terrible crime," he said.

"What I understand, from women who have been raped is that the abortion sometimes after rape was far worse than the rape itself. And it was much, much more difficult to get over."

Mgr Farrell, who was ordained bishop on March, said issues where a woman or girl became pregnant through incest were "difficult cases... complex cases".

"We might not like how the child has been conceived," he said.

"What you are trying to do is balance rights here. The right of life to the child is paramount."

Bishop Farrell said if the repeal was passed the "experience has been the case in other countries that once the doors are open the legislation becomes far more permissive".

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