Cardinal appeals to Catholics to cherish ‘the gift of human life’

Easter message speaks of 'exciting days' in the church

People take part in the Easter procession in the Phoenix Park led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

People take part in the Easter procession in the Phoenix Park led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Sat, Mar 30, 2013, 08:05

Catholic primate of All-Ireland Cardinal Seán Brady said in his Easter message that these are “exciting days” in the church, and used the occasion also to stress the need to “cherish the gift of human life in all its stages”.

“The season of Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and abstinence in preparation for Easter. This year it was also a time of great excitement and I was privileged to be in Rome during the last days of the papacy of Pope Benedict, the conclave and the beginning of the papacy of Pope Francis. These were, and continue to be, exciting days,” he said.

Pope Francis’s “inspiring words have been supported by actions, which have provided iconic images beamed across the world,” he said.

Cardinal Brady also made a special plea: “At this time I again ask of Catholics – and of all people of goodwill across Ireland – to celebrate and cherish the gift of human life in all its stages from conception to its natural end.”

In his Easter message Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Richard Clarke said what “we surely need to recover as Christians in Ireland today is a confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us.

“We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.

“And let us also be in no doubt that the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we celebrate in these days, in the midst of all the post–modern incoherence and relativism that surrounds us, is emphatically neither a metaphor for positive thinking nor a symbol of wish–fulfillment. The event of Easter was, and is an event.”

Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson said: “The people of Ireland have always found that peace is both precious and elusive. We have so often been on the verge of it and it has slipped between our fingers because we are perhaps too well known to one another, or too wedded to our exclusive histories to see that the compromise which is necessary brings with it the dividend of new life beyond caricature.

“Christianity is at its most destructive where it luxuriates in internal division and this is the very opposite Christ-given peace. Christianity can no longer afford such luxuries.”

The Easter vigil at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin begins at 9pm with Mozart’s Coronation Mass at 11am tomorrow and Evensong at 3.30pm. The Easter vigil will be celebrated at the Pro-Cathedral at 9.30pm by Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin who will also celebrate Mass there tomorrow at 10am.

At 7am on tomorrow, on Killiney Hill parishes from Dalkey and Killiney will celebrate their annual Easter ecumenical service. An ecumenical “SonRise” celebration with the Revival gospel choir will take place at Arklow’s south beach from 6.30am.