Archbishop says law must ‘curb the arrogance of the powerful’

Religious services held in Dublin to mark beginning of new legal year

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: ‘We need unequivocally to reject a culture of violence: the violence of criminal drug gangs, the exploitation by gangland criminals of fragile young peope who have fallen victim to their business of death.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: ‘We need unequivocally to reject a culture of violence: the violence of criminal drug gangs, the exploitation by gangland criminals of fragile young peope who have fallen victim to their business of death.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Law and public policy must always have a “special focus” on the poorest, and law should be applied to “curbing the arrogance of the powerful”, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has said.

Diarmuid Martin also called for an unequivocal rejection of a “culture of violence”, not just physical but also the “violence of exclusion”, of homelessness and “hate-talk about immigrants”.

He was giving the homily at the annual Mass marking the opening of the new legal year at St Michan’s Church at Halston Street, Dublin.

The congregation included Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, members of the judiciary, officers from the Defence Forces and Garda, representatives of the judiciaries and legal professions of Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, Paris and Brussels, and the new Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo.

Dr Martin said our society “speaks much about pluralism” but pluralism “must be constructed”. Pluralism can be sought “in a climate of respect and difference but can also be a negative force for division and antagonism”, he said.

In his sermon marking the new law term, the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Reverend Laurence Graham, said the law was crucial for the proper functioning of any society.

It is for the “protection of the rights of everyone, especially the weakest in society”, he told the congregation at the Church of Ireland St Michan’s on Church Street.

“Let us thank God that we live in a country where there is proper law and where anyone can have a hearing, where anyone can have the opportunity to defend themselves.”