It would be “absolute folly” to move ahead with the National Maternity Hospital plan without seeing the full agreement made with the Vatican.
That’s according to the former master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr Peter Boylan who is due to address the Oireachtas Health Committee on the matter later.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, he said the current plan asks us to trust that the Vatican has agreed to facilitate a hospital that will perform procedures directly contrary to Catholic teaching.
Dr Boylan said such an agreement would be “absolutely unique in the history of the Church and in the world”.
“The Vatican gave permission to the Sisters of Charity to transfer their share in St Vincent’s Holdings; however’ that permission was conditional,” he said.
“We haven’t seen any of the correspondence between Dublin, the sisters, the Vatican and the archbishops – so we need to see all those papers.”
He noted that his sole objective is to “promote women’s reproductive health and their rights”.
“What I am trying to do is achieve proper independence and proper colocation for the National Maternity Hospital,” he said.
“I fully support the move but not in its current iteration; it is fraught with risk for all sorts of reasons.
“We haven’t seen the communications between Dublin and the Vatican and we need to see those. We’ve seen a whole slew of other documents but the most important ones we have not seen and we need to see those.
“It is absolute folly for the Government to proceed with this without seeing those documents between Dublin and the Vatican.”
Dr Boylan said that if the Church agrees to release the correspondence and it shows his concerns are unfounded, he will support the move.
“We are being asked to believe that the Vatican has approved the creation of a company which will facilitate the building of a hospital in which procedures directly contrary to Catholic teaching will take place,” he said.
“That would be absolutely unique in the history of the Church and in the world. There isn’t another place anywhere in the world where that has taken place, so it is a bit of a stretch of credulity to ask us to believe that – for the women of Ireland to believe that.
“Are we to trust the Vatican that they have agreed to the building of a hospital in which procedures contrary to Catholic teaching are going to take place?”
He noted that there is “not a great history of trust” between the Vatican and the people of Ireland and warned that we must be “very careful before we walk into this blindfolded”.
On The Hard Shoulder last night, Alice Murphy, Legal Advisor to the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street set out the case for the plan – insisting she believes it is legally sound.
You can listen back to Dr Boylan here: