The Word on the Week


The voice of conscience, so seldom heard in the land, rang out this week in the Dail debate on abortion with the resignation of four TD’s and the junior minister Lucinda Creighton. The latter took her time to reflect on the amendments which were instigated but eventually fell on her sword over the inclusion of the “suicide clause”.

These people present something of an anomaly as they have made a stand on moral grounds in a post-modern climate which has largely discarded any distinction between right and wrong.

What is and what ought have been eroded in recent years to simply what is. For example what is a fact – almost 4,000 women travelled to the UK for abortions last year. Therefore what ought according to our rights based society would be for the law to permit these to be carried out here.

Lucinda’s stand on that what ought to be i.e. safeguarding the life of the unborn child by the removal of the suicide clause was rejected by the coalition government leaving the door open for virtual abortion on demand. This runs contrary to the expressed intention of the Bill to protect life during pregnancy. Thus the government has produced an almost exact replica of George Orwell’s “doublethink” introduced in his book entitled 1984 where mutually contradictory beliefs were held to be correct.

The voice of conscience may find an echo in the Senate when it comes to examine the Bill as, in many ways, the Senate is fighting for its survival and this could reveal its worth.

In the Bible conscience is seen as an ally of God revealing to us the gap between what is and what ought to be in our lives. St Paul maintained that God’s laws were written on the hearts of those who had never been taught them! He added that conscience bore witness to this fact evidenced in our thoughts either accusing or excusing us (Romans Chapter 2 verse 15).

This gap was bridged at Calvary where those who wish to respond to the promptings of their conscience will find forgiveness and acceptance in Christ and, tutored by the Word of God, a conscience able to make right choices in a world largely unable to distinguish right from wrong.