By Hilary White

BRUSSELS, October 6, 2009 ( – Following the warnings against the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by both the pro-life movement in Ireland and the Vatican's Secretary of State, Catholic bishops of the European Community have praised and congratulated the Irish on the “positive outcome” in voting Yes in the referendum on Friday.

The vote gave “hope for renewed EU Institutions capable of tackling urgent needs” said a media release from the Commissio Episcopatuum Communitatis Europensis, (Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, COMECE).

COMECE president Bishop Adrianus Herman van Luyn of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, welcomed the “clear and decisive outcome” of the vote, that “raises the possibility of concluding the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of this year.”

“We hope that the Lisbon Treaty will allow the European Institutions to work more efficiently for the sake of human dignity and the common good.”

Pro-life groups from Ireland, Britain and the Czech Republic had all pleaded with voters for a No vote, saying that the Lisbon Treaty would undermine national sovereignty and the democratic process, particularly in regard to a country's ability to protect unborn and vulnerable citizens.

Once the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, it is expected that pro-life laws in Ireland and other E.U. countries will come under attack by abortion lobbyists using the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Human Rights and the European Court of Justice to create a “universal right” to abortion. No campaigners warned that under the provisions of the Treaty, the national laws of member states will be subordinate to EU law.

A statement on the day of the vote from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, said that the Lisbon Treaty threatens Irish “traditions and history.” Bertone told Czech media that the EU dictates their “laws or views” to individual states and said that resistance to this by some states process was “logical.” 

The COMECE statement cited the so-called “Irish guarantees,” promises obtained by the government from EU officials on abortion and other issues, saying, “We expect that, thanks to the guarantees given to Ireland – the right to life, the protection of family and the right of parents to educate their children – that these rights will be made more secure in the whole Union.”

The assurances by the Irish government, however, were widely criticised as “meaningless” and “worthless” by pro-life and democracy campaigners. Richard Greene, head of the leading pro-life lobby group, Coir, said the text of the Treaty itself “will remain unchanged by any assurances obtained by the Government on any issue.”

“Not a word or a comma will be altered. It is exactly the same treaty rejected last June by the Irish people.”

COMECE is an organisation, funded by the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union, made up of delegates from the various bishops' conferences of the EU member states, who “monitor and analyse the political process of the European Union.”

Read related coverage:

Irish Pass Lisbon Treaty 
Fear, disinformation and vast government spending bought Irish Lisbon vote say pro-life campaigners

More Pro-Life Voices Plead for No Vote in Irish Lisbon Referendum 

Irish Bishops say No Problem with Lisbon Treaty: Pro-Life/Democracy Groups Dismayed 


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