Papal Nuncio Charles Brown has urged the Irish people never to be afraid to allow their faith to influence their view of the right to life debate currently raging.

The New York born papal ambassador to Ireland made the plea as he addressed a Corpus Christi procession in Cork.

He told those in attendance that Irish people must ‘never be afraid to allow their faith influence and shape political choices, especially on basic human values such as the right to life’.

The Irish Times reports that the Papal Nuncio Archbishop said that in calling for a year of faith Pope Emeritus, Benedict, had written about the necessity of witnessing faith in a public way.

The Papal Nuncio said: “The Pope wrote ‘a Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him’.”

Archbishop Brown added: “Our Eucharistic procession today helps to remind us of the public dimension of our Catholic faith. “Let us stand with the Lord of life and promote his gospel of life in our society.’’

Archbishop Brown added that everybody had their own petitions which they brought to the Lord in prayer.

He said: “But allow me to ask you to pray to the Lord for a special intention today, that He will keep Ireland a pro-life country where mothers and their unborn children are safe and protected.”

Archbishop of Tuam Dr Michael Neary also addressed the abortion debate at the weekend when he said that many of the values which for so long proved to be the foundation of Irish society were now presented as ‘old fashioned and outmoded’.

Dr Neary said: “The sacredness of unborn life is one of them. The pro-life issue is not a question of politics and some, in an attempt to confuse, have presented concerns about the proposed abortion legislation in a simplistic and superficial way as Church versus State.

“It is about our shared commitment as citizens and as human beings to a fundamental and universal value: that the direct and intentional killing of an innocent person can never be justified.

“The right to life is such an inviolable right that no individual and no State may ever modify or destroy it.”

Dr Neary said in Mayo that the current heads of the abortion Bill provide ‘no additional clarity for doctors’ about the medical conditions in which they could intervene to save the life of a mother.

He said: “Instead, they envisage new laws that will permit the deliberate and intentional destruction of the life of the unborn baby, potentially up to and including the moment of birth.”