Errant Priest ‘Blessing Abortion’ in Isle of Man

by Stephen Wynne  •  •  February 22, 2018   

Monsignor "scandalously misrepresents" Catholic teaching ahead of legalization vote

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DOUGLAS, Isle of Man ( - A leading U.K. cleric is lobbying against pro-life advocates in the leadup to a vote to legalize abortion in the Isle of Man.

In a letter to the self-governing crown dependency's chief minister last week, Msgr. John Devine OBE, dean of the Roman Catholic Church, Isle of Man, trounced members of the right-to-life movement.

In his letter, later published in the Isle of Man Examiner, Devine recounted speaking against pro-life advocates from his pulpits in St. Mary's and St. Anthony's churches:

I made my concerns clear with a line by line analysis of key points in the draft bill and recommended that parishioners ponder these concerns and make them known not only to their [parliamentary representatives] but also to family, friends and colleagues. I also expressed my concern at the methods adopted by many of those opposing the bill which I consider to be counterproductive. I stated that these protestors cannot presume to speak on the Church's behalf. People who have abortions are not murderers and are not bad people.

"Every abortion," he suggested, "is an act of desperation."

If the abortion bill passes, the Isle of Man will be home to the most permissive abortion regime throughout the British Isles.

Devine's assertion has incensed U.K. right-to-life advocates. On Wednesday, Dr. Jules Gomes — a pro-life Anglican — answered the Catholic priest in an article for The Conservative Woman:

How does he know? Even Marie Stopes International admits that "alcohol-fuelled Christmas parties, which led to unprotected sex, are believed to be the reason behind a record number of abortions." How desperate is an abortion after drunken sex on the photocopier with Santa to get a leg-up the promotion ladder after the annual office orgy?

Devine's message, Gomes writes, "abounds in logical fallacies and moral contradictions. He first derides members of his church and other Christians as the 'lunatic fringe' for using images of aborted babies in demonstrations. After dismissing the lunatic fringe, he rolls in the hay with the heretic fringe."

Part of the archdiocese of Liverpool, the Isle of Man is nestled between Britain and Ireland in the heart of the Irish Sea. Since 2017, the island has been pondering a legalization measure, the Abortion Reform Bill. If the act passes, abortion on demand will be legal into the second trimester.

Mgr. John Devine receives the OBE from Prince Charles (Getty)

Currently, abortion in the Isle of Man is governed by the 1995 Termination of Pregnancy (Medical Defences) Act, which permits abortion if "it is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman," a risk of "grave permanent injury" or if the unborn child is judged "unlikely to survive birth." According to the Isle of Man Examiner, "since October 11, 2011, a total of 39 abortions have been carried out in the island under this law."

Since the debate over the Abortion Reform Bill began in 2017, Devine has failed to reinforce Catholic teaching on abortion: that in all cases, it is an intrinsic evil.

Instead, Gomes writes, Devine "sat on the fence until his butt ached." But when Britain's pro-life advocacy group Abort67 rallied outside the Manx Parliament building near his church, Devine "scuttled away like a hassled hen, not uttering a word."

If the abortion bill passes, the Isle of Man will be home to the most permissive abortion regime in throughout the British Isles.

Mgr. Devine is available for comment:

Rev. Mgr. John Devine, OBE MA VF

St Mary of the Isle, Hill Street, Douglas, Isle of Man IM1 1EG

Tel (01624) 675509

Fax (01624) 674359



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