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COLERAINE, Northern Ireland (LifeSiteNews) — Well-known pro-life activist Fr. Stephen Imbarrato has called for a Catholic pro-life movement to assert itself in Ireland during an ongoing visit to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The American priest, who was among a group of campaigners harassed on Wednesday during a protest outside a hospital that performs abortions, made the remarks at an event hosted by Donegal Pro-Life and Bernadette Smyth of Precious Life later that night.

Lauding the Preamble of the Irish Constitution, Bunreacht na hÉireann, as a testament to the faith that characterized Ireland for centuries, Fr. Imbarrato said Irish people would have to be called to repentance by a Catholic pro-life movement in order to overcome the loss of Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion in 2018.

‘’We need a Catholic pro-life movement in Ireland because Ireland is Catholic,’’ Fr. Imbarrato told a packed hotel room in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal on Wednesday night.

‘’Stand on the corners and crossroads of your towns with signs calling people to repent for the sin of abortion – souls are being lost and we need to save as many souls as we can. You lost the abortion referendum because people lost the faith, so there is only one way to restore a culture of life and that is by bringing people back to the Catholic faith.’’

Fr. Stephen Imbarrato in Belfast

Recently made an Irish citizen due to ancestry, Fr. Imbarrato then read aloud the Preamble of Bunreacht na hÉireann, which states:

In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,

We, the people of Éire,

Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,

Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,

And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,

Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.

Fr. Imbarrato said at the meeting that the Catholic Church would have to resist any attempt by an aggressively secular establishment to remove that wording from the Constitution and he proposed handing out prayer cards around the country containing the Preamble and a call to repentance.

Promoting the life-saving work of crisis pregnancy agency Stanton Healthcare, Bernadette Smyth told the audience that her group was intent on saving more lives across the border from Northern Ireland by setting up a center in the Donegal area.

Fr. Stephen Imbarrato and Bernadette Smyth

Smyth has been to the forefront of saving unborn babies and their mothers from abortion in Northern Ireland for over 25 years, setting up Stanton Healthcare in Belfast more recently.

Abortion was decriminalized in Northern Ireland in October 2019 after British MPs in London voted for the change earlier that year.

Earlier Wednesday Fr. Imbarrato, Smyth and other pro-life protesters were harassed by pro-abortion activists outside a hospital that performs abortions in Coleraine, Co. Derry.

Undeterred by the hostile reception, Fr. Imbarrato then traveled with Precious Life on Thursday to Belfast, where he said exorcism prayers outside another abortion center.

Fr. Imbarrato is set to speak on September 23 at the Catholic Voice conference in Dublin.

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