‘Given the proneness of our human nature to evil, given the enticement of bodily satisfaction, given the widespread modern incitement to un-chastity, it must be evident that an access, hitherto unlawful, to contraceptive devices will prove a most certain occasion of sin, especially to immature persons. The public consequences of immorality that must follow for our whole society are only too clearly seen in other countries.‘If they who are elected to legislate for our society should unfortunately decide to pass a disastrous measure of legislation that will allow the public promotion of contraception and an access, hitherto unlawful, to the means of contraception, they ought to know clearly the meaning of their action, when it is judged by the norms of objective morality and the certain consequences of such a law.‘To add to the confusion, it is being suggested that our society ought to be brought into line with the outlook of other countries. Hitherto, we have endeavoured to legislate according to the established beliefs and standards of our own people. One can conceive no worse fate for Ireland than that it should, by the legislation of our elected representatives, be now made to conform to the patterns of sexual conduct in other countries.‘It is also being suggested that such uniformity of sexual outlook and practice can, in some obscure way, assist the re-unification of our country. One must know little of the Northern people, if one can fail to realise the indignant ridicule with which good Northern people would treat such an argument. It would indeed be a foul basis on which to attempt to construct the unity of our people.‘It may well come to pass that, in the present climate of emotional thinking and pressure, legislation could be enacted that will offend the objective moral law. Such a measure would be an insult to our Faith; it would, without question, prove to be gravely damaging to morality, private and public; it would be, and would remain, a curse upon our country.’
Prophetic words! The above is an extract from a letter written by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin, to his priests in 1971, following the announcement by Mary Robinson (former president of Ireland) that she had drafted a Bill which would allow for the provision of contraception to be made legal.