It's only fair to acknowledge recent news that much loved political party Fianna Fáil has passed a number of resolutions affirming their stance as a 'pro life party'. And it would be remiss of me to not acknowledge the considerable support opposition to X case legislation enjoys in the US Bible Belt, not to mention the enthusiastic fundraising efforts across the pond. They enjoy an almost supernatural ability to complain of media bias and yet have an Iona Institute representative in print, on radio and on screen every other day.
But is there more?
Worryingly, I've identified an area of strength to which we have no answer.
Pro Life Pastels
We start with Precious Life, described by Youth Defence as their sister organisation. They, along with fellow vaccine opponents Family and Life, seem to have acquired a replica of a painting with supernatural powers:
read with interest that " “Copy” does not really do it justice", the author's reasoning supported by the knowledge that it was "copied faithfully in every detail." Furthermore, it seems it has absorbed some ability to influence the material world through physical contact with the original paranormal picture under the skilled hand of Archbishop Stanislaw Nowak. Details of the precise procedure to impart such powers are, rightly, shrouded in mystery.
Powers: from what I can tell, veneration of this painting enables one to influence agents in an otherworldly realm. One does not request that these agents interfere in the material world, rather one asks them to communicate desired outcomes to God. I'm no expert in the area, but veneration seems similar to requesting a celebrity retweet. This painting is specifically designed as a portal to Saint Mary. +17 for summon backup.
Known weaknesses: None. Details of a failed attack reveal that in addition to otherworldly protection, it is shielded by a more material layer of bulletproof invisible glass. A further ritual called 'expiation' returned it to full strength.
EWTN.com, creators of the now famous "literal tsunami of death" video, brings us news of a garment whose history is said to date back to the fourteenth century. It confers otherworldly protection upon its wearers provided certain conditions are met.
Powers: Guarantees immunity from hellfire. When in purgatory, (yes, purgatory) Saint Mary will rush to your aid. The precise nature of this assistance is not elaborated upon and any rumours of a file hidden in a baked cake should not be considered canonical. +4 for supernatural protection. -2 for fashion.
Known weaknesses: Perhaps commensurate with the supernatural protection offered it carries a series of daunting requirements. One must abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays, be chaste, recite the Little Office (Ricky Gervais take note) and wear the Scapular every day. Other terms and conditions including details on how you can get your own scapular are here.
The Holy Face
Atheist Ireland were not immediately available for comment on how Human Life's sterling work in devoting themselves to this holy face have affected their organisation. Perhaps the face has somehow intercepted my message?
Quite a few, it seems. Let's start with a quote from Pope Pius IX:
"This salutary reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus is a divine work, destined to save modern society."Let's say +20 for saving modern society - a strong opening.
Later in Human Life's article we learn that "Reproductions of the veil such as the one above were later printed, touched to the original and sent abroad for veneration.", which I believe should be scored as a +5 for ease of cloning.
It seems the holy face gives grants both the holy kingdom and, worryingly, anything else the applicant wants: "Those who by words, prayers or writing defend My cause in this work of reparation I will defend before My Father, and will give them My Kingdom. By offering My Face to My eternal Father, nothing will be refused, and the conversion of many sinners will be obtained."
Those concerned that recent economic woes may have spread to the celestial domain need not fear: devoting oneself to the holy face will provide one with unlimited coin, valid throughout heaven: "As in a Kingdom they can procure all that is desired with a coin stamped with the Kings effigy, so in the Kingdom of Heaven they will obtain all they desire with the precious coin of my Holy Face."
That said, given it already seems to grant omnipotence, infinite otherworldly coin seems an unnecessary addition.
Known weaknesses: none.
My friends, these are only the supernatural weapons of which those opposing abortion legislation openly boast. Who knows what other talismen, amulets and idols they can bring to bear against us? We must act, and act quickly. I've ordered a box set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a stash of blank notebooks. I hope to have proposed countermeasures by the end of next week.
Obviously, I'm having a bit of fun here. It would be ridiculous to try to characterise the anti abortion rights position as one reached only through belief in what seems at its core to be superstition, nor would it be fair to attempt to tar Catholicism in general with these quite fringe beliefs. The majority of Irish Catholics would view the above as tolerated eccentricities held by those at the margins of the faith. And you don't need to be Catholic to oppose abortion rights.
So why speak of it at all?
I write to highlight that these views, although perhaps out of step with Irish society, are sincerely held by influential groups therein. Precious Life is Youth Defence's sister organisation. As I've mentioned before, every anti abortion rights group of note (along with John Waters and David Quinn) has seen fit to work under the banner of EWTN. This does not mean they necessarily share EWTN's more eccentric supernatural beliefs, but does show at a bare minimum that they are not grounds for disassociation. Human Life International Ireland, despite its opposition to vaccines and belief in a 'gay cure', has charitable tax status. Family and Life runs a pregnancy counselling service and hosts regular talks in schools throughout the country. When one's understanding of the world we live in is influenced by such radically unusual trust in supernatural intervention, and when commitment to honesty has been shown to be far from unwavering, is it really fair to trust that they have rational argument as their bedrock?