The newly-installed Catholic Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh has hit out at provisions in the Irish government's proposed abortion legislation.
Archbishop Eamon Martin told a congregation in Dundalk that these provided for the "direct and intentional taking of a human life" and, as such, were "gravely immoral".
The Derry-born prelate said that the right to life was such an "inviolable right that no individual, no majority and no State can ever create, modify or destroy it", adding that a "massive effort" was being made to produce legislation to make abortion happen. The new archbishop was speaking on the last night of a novena at St Patrick's parish.
The future leader of the Irish Catholic Church said the direct and intentional taking of any human life "strikes at the very heart of our faith and belief because it directly targets human life, which is sacred and a gift from God".
Addressing the congregation, he questioned why Irish society was being asked to accept that in order to protect life, another life could be directly taken.