Having considered Ireland's history, its people made their decision loud and clear in the abortion referendum. They will be making their own choices from now on.
A discordant note was struck amid the history-making scenes on Saturday at Dublin Castle as the impact hit home that the young people of Ireland, in massive numbers, had voted for understanding, assistance and making decisions for themselves on the issue of abortion.
The ballot papers were hardly counted on the repeal the Eighth Amendment vote when Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin in Roscommon announced that everyone who voted yes was in a state of sin and needed to go to confession.
He told RTE that he believed voting yes was a sin if someone “knew and intended abortion as the outcome” of their vote.
One can only imagine the consternation of many of his far more sensible Episcopal colleagues who know only too well the game is up for that kind of arrogant intervention in a free vote.
Doran has been an outlier for some time, a fire and brimstone relic who is catnip for the media because of his radical views. His extremism makes one wonder if he has stepped through the looking glass and thinks he is in Ireland of the 1950s -- or 1850s.
Even the Vatican and the pope maintained a dignified silence after the overwhelming yes vote, knowing that accusatory language merely serves the anti-church lobby.
Here’s what the church really needs to worry about: statistics such as those coming from the seminary in Maynooth, where there are only six seminarians, the lowest since the college was founded in 1795. The church simply must change or die.
There are also dire predictions that within 20 years the number of priests in Ireland will be at so low a level as to threaten the future of the church.
The church needs to reinvent itself, and if nothing else the referendum makes that a plain as a pikestaff. The bishop’s writ runs no more.
Which is why Doran’s words were so inappropriate given the need to present a different face, one that is pastoral rather than doctrinaire.
Doran’s words typify those who will never accept the abortion ruling and will continue to fight as they do here in the U.S. to overturn Roe vs. Wade. That has become an increasingly bitter battle, one Donald Trump fanned during the election when he said women who have abortions should be punished. (We wonder if men who boast about grabbing women by their genitals should be punished too?)
The crescendo of criticism of the result from the right was sad to see. They are perfectly entitled to state their views, but it serves no one to use inflammatory language in pursuit of banning all abortions.
Likewise, on the yes side, there were loud comments and celebrations, perfectly understandable in light of the occasion but it should not become a case that the twain shall never meet.
There is nothing glorious to report as there was with the same-sex marriage referendum result which allowed consenting adults the same rights as everyone else.
There is no such clarity about abortion which is an incredibly difficult issue no matter from what side you approach it.
But the good guys and girls won the referendum, of that there can be no doubt. The era of guilting and shaming young Irish women is over.
Mna Na hEireann, (the women of Ireland), spoke loud and clear. They will make their own decisions about their own bodies. They deserve this victory.