An Irish priest said he stepped down from the board of directors of a Catholic hospital in Ireland after it promised to comply with the country’s new law that allows abortion in limited circumstances.
Father Kevin Doran stepped down from the board of the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin in September shortly after it announced its intention to comply with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. The law permits abortion if medical professionals believe the mother is at risk of committing suicide.
Speaking to Catholic News Service after a symposium on the new evangelisation in Shrewsbury this week, Father Doran said he found the hospital’s “statement of adherence to a law which provided for the direct taking of human life was something which I, as a Catholic priest, couldn’t support and so I resigned.”
The priest, who served as general secretary of the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, said the hospital took its action after it appeared on a government list of health care institutions that would have to comply with the law because it receives public funding to deliver health services.
The priest said the law was “dangerous” and “against the spirit of the Irish Constitution”, which explicitly prohibits abortion. He added that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin “was aware of my thinking and fully accepted my reasons.”
The archbishop has since asked the hospital to clarify its position. No abortions have yet been performed under the law because the government has so far failed to implement it.
The hospital initially declined to comment on Father Doran’s resignation when contacted on Wednesday. But a statement later sent by email said: “The Mater Hospital has carefully considered the act. The hospital’s priority is to be at the frontier of compassion, concern and clinical care for all our patients. Having regard to that duty the hospital will comply with the law as provided for in the act.”
Father Doran is a respected theologian and philosopher and has served as the spiritual director of the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. He also has held a number of senior positions in the Dublin Archdiocese.