As Taoiseach Enda Kenny, a self-described practising Catholic, pushes ahead with plans to legalise abortion before the summer, a senior Vatican official told The Irish Catholic that Catholic politicians in these circumstances should quit rather than legislate for abortion.

Asked about the current situation in Ireland Msgr Jacques Suaudeau, scientific director of the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican said: “If the Prime Minister as a Catholic, doesn’t want to impose his belief and the time has come for a more moderate line on abortion, then he resigns.

“If you are faithful to your conviction, then you have to get out,” he said.

He also said that Catholic politicians who support abortion are pushing themselves out of the Church.