In April 2016, the Northern Catholic Bishops issued an extraordinary questionnaire to any politician standing for election. One question stood out.
‘What will you do’ they asked ‘to uphold the right to life of children conceived though sexual crime’?
The meaning was pretty clear. They wanted an electoral boycott of any politician who allowed a woman to have an abortion if she was raped.
One of the Bishops who signed the questionnaire was John McAreavey.
This was the same Bishop who was recently forced to resign after it was revealed that he had covered up for a Father Malachy Finnegan, who had raped and sexually abused children at St Colman’s College, where he was college president.
McAreavey and his fellow Bishops thought that they had the moral authority to denounce anyone who supported a woman’s right to choose – even while they were covering up for the rape of children.
Their rhetoric about the ‘unborn’ was more than a match for their lack of protection for the born
In their messed up world a politician who supported a woman’s right to end a pregnancy – even one that resulted from rape – was worse than a rapist.
This explains why Bishop McAreavey officiated at Finnegan’s funeral and why Finnegan’s photograph was allowed to hang on the walls on the very school where he sexually abused boys until a few months ago.
Tragically, Malachy Finnegan was not alone in his paedophile activities.
There have been one hundred cases of Catholics priests involved in the sexual abuse of children in the North. Yet unlike the South, there has been no public inquiry into this scandal.
The Bishops were viewed by the British state as a force for moderation in the Catholic community and were allowed to cover up for rape and sexual abuse with impunity.
These Bishops, in turn, were more blatant about trying to enforce their distorted morality on their ‘flock’. Hence the provocative question about what will you do to prevent a woman who has been raped of getting an abortion.
The next time the anti-choice lobby calls someone a ‘baby-killer’ remember Father Malachy Finnegan.
And note that those who get on their moral high horse about the choices that women make said nothing when the lives of actual children were being violated.