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DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Catholic bishop of Elphin is calling out Catholics who voted "yes" in Ireland's abortion referendum to go to confession if they wish to receive Holy Communion.
In an interview Monday with RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Bp. Kevin Doran acknowledged that those who voted "yes" committed a mortal sin if they "new and intended abortion as the outcome" of their vote.
His Excellency's remarks followed Friday's abortion referendum, which saw 66 percent of the Emerald Isle's 2.15 million voters throwing their support behind the culture of death.
This comes on the heels of pro-lifers exposing the "extreme" measure that decriminalizes the murder of an unborn child for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Of the six referendums on abortion since 1983, Friday's abortion referendum was the most important. The Eighth Amendment — the constitutional provision protecting the right to life for the unborn — was passed that same year with 67 percent approval.
Doran advised Catholics who "voted Yes knowing and intending that abortion would be the outcome then you should consider coming to confession, where you would be received with the same compassion that is shown to any other penitent."
"Ultimately all sin, and sin is not just related to this area, but all sin is about decisions that impact on our relationship with God," he continued. "I think ultimately this is about asking people to take personal responsibility for their own relationship with God and their own relationship with the [C]hurch."
He insisted that "every person's vote counts ... [and] has both a moral and political significance. The first thing I would say is that the Catholic Church is family and nobody ever gets struck off."
The final tally for the referendum found that 1,429,981 voted in favor of legalizing abortion compared to 723,672 who stood up for the defense of the unborn.
But Doran said that, while he's "surprised by the extent of it" of those in favor of repealing the Eighth Amendment, he did not find it shocking that the "majority of people voted for this" given the "proposals of the Government."
His comments prompted a backlash from listeners. One reacted negatively, saying, "I cannot believe my ears ... is it any wonder that the number of people going to Mass is dropping" and "I'm a practicing Catholic and I feel so sad and unwelcome now. ... I feel I can't go to Mass now on Sunday if that is the way the Church will regard me."
Others supported him, with one exclaiming, "Well done Bishop Doran, he is merely upholding the teaching of the Catholic Church" while another said they were "delighted at the Bishop's comments, the celebrations in Dublin Castle was very sad."
And the primate of All Ireland, Abp. Eamon Martin said Sunday that those he hoped those who voted in favor of slaughtering the unborn "will now work very actively to try to ensure that the legislation that is passed" will allow for "abortion which [is] rare ... safe and ... legal" despite the fact that at least one person — sometimes two — always dies in an abortion.
Ireland's abortion vote has been construed by faithful Catholics as a failure of Catholic leadership in Ireland to defend the Irish Republic from its "changed culture" which has "quite consciously" voted in favor of abortion, gay "marriage" and divorce in recent years.