Our non-Irish readers may not realise that we are faced with a referendum to abolish an article in our Constitution by which “the State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.” The proposal to abolish the constitution is accompanied by giving the state power to introduce abortion with little or no limit. Two articles offer background reading and reflection. Susan Gately traces the outline of the life of Jerome LeJeune who discovered the cause of Down syndrome and spent the rest of his life as their champion against proposals to abort babies carrying the gene. Neil Foley, in “Human – No Exceptions” argues that the protection of unborn life depends on more than some principals of Catholic moral theology. Whistle Blower: Life, Death and the Eight Amendment, by Fr Padraig McCarthy, surveys many aspects of the referendum and is briefly reviewed here.
“Exonerated” by Paul Copeland tells the story of two remarkable people who spent time on death row and whose sentences were eventually overturned. “We Praise you by the Work of our Hands” describes how monastic and contemplative communities of men and women survive by turning their hand to many arts and crafts, including the production of beer and high-class cosmetics.