ROME October 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Editor’s note: John Smeaton, the head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, one of the largest and most influential pro-life and pro-family organisations in the world, has expressed his grave concerns regarding the proposed amendment to the constitution of the Republic of Ireland in extensive comments provided to LifeSiteNews.com.

Critics say the so-called Children’s Rights Referendum will transfer all authority and responsibility for the raising and education of children from parents to the state, and give the state carte blanche to confiscate children from their natural families on any pretext that a state-employed social worker deems to be for the child’s “best interests.”

Although the state claims to be responding to the revelations of abuse of children in various care institutions, and has expended considerable energy pointing the finger of blame at the Catholic Church who administered some of those institutions, critics have pointed out that it was the state that set them up, funded them and largely failed to oversee them.

But according to Smeaton, the story goes back further than the recent spate of government reports on child abuse would have the public believe. Before even the establishment of the Irish Free State.

Smeaton, a veteran of many international battles against anti-life and anti-family campaigns, gave LSN a thorough examination of the historical context of the situation in Ireland and around the world:

What’s being proposed in Ireland needs to be put into a wider, historical, context.

For well over half a century, there’s been a worldwide war on children, particularly unborn children. This war has been waged by powerful NGOs, United Nations bodies, governments, legislatures and, more recently, by some of the world’s most powerful politicians, including the Clintons and Obama in the US, and Blair, Brown and Cameron in Britain.

In recent decades the war on children has been extended to parents, in particular targeting their role as the primary protectors and educators of their children. The war has also extended into the aggressive promotion of the homosexual agenda which particularly endangers our children.

This state of affairs was reflected in last week’s consensus agreement at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, where the Council welcomed a report from Navenethem Pillay, the UN Human Rights commissioner, which, amongst other things, calls for parental opposition to abortions for their children under the age of consent to be made unlawful. The report also seeks to criminalize health professionals, administrators and NGOS like the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

Throughout this war, the vast majority of Catholic Church leaders, representing the world’s largest Christian body, have pronounced Church doctrines from time to time, but they have done virtually nothing to rally the faithful in defence of the countless children killed in the womb, or to protect children targeted for abortions in their schools, or to protect children targeted by the homosexual lobby in adoption laws being passed in so many countries around the world.

Indeed, in England and Wales and in Ireland, pro-abortion policies have been accommodated by Catholic church leaders, as well as homosexual adoption policies in England and Wales. Scottish Catholic leaders, Catholic bishops in the Philippines, and the Holy See delegation at the UN, have proved to be very courageous, honourable exceptions to this general rule and, of course, there are others too.  However, as a SPUC member of 35 years standing told me last week: “I have attended Mass thousands of times since I joined SPUC, but I have never once heard a priest preach about abortion”. This cry is heard throughout the world.

In the meantime, during the past 50 years, a pro-life movement has developed which seeks, conscientiously and energetically, to engage on the side of the unborn children in this war and, increasingly, to engage on behalf of parents as the primary educators and protectors of their children. The pro-life movement, internationally and in individual countries, has done and is doing some good work. However, in reality it is a tiny group of people in comparison with the powerful, wealthy bodies and individuals who seek to destroy unborn children, to destroy parental protection for their children and to destroy marriage, the social instition which most protects children, including children in the womb.

I appeal to young people who are joining the pro-life movement today - those at university, those going out to work for the first time and those in their final years at school.

If the pro-life and pro-family movement is to be effective, it must concentrate more than half of its energy in seeking to energise and encourage Church leaders, particularly Catholic Church leaders, to take a lead in the battle to protect unborn children and to uphold parents as their children’s primary protectors and educators. Pro-lifers, young or old, must not be so arrogant as to think we can do it on our own - by dint of our passionate witness and through the strength of our well-informed arguments. And let’s not resort to the false argument promoted by our enemies that church leaders, particularly Catholic church leaders, should not be involved in this war.

Catholic church leaders have the capacity and charism to reach billions of people. The pro-life movement, on its own, can only reach a fraction of that number.

To save humanity, to save Ireland, we need a great campaign for life and for the family led fearlessly by church leaders, in particular the Catholic church. Young people, the future of humanity, must now lead this appeal before we are led further into the abyss in Ireland and elsewhere in the world.