A “profound reflection on the values that form the foundations of our society” is necessary following the riots in Dublin last month, Ireland’s Catholic bishops have said.
In a statement issued following their winter meeting in Maynooth, Co Kildare this week, the bishops said “the rise in tensions and the corrosive impact of those who seek to foster division” must be challenged.
“The recent unrest calls people of faith, and all people of goodwill, to stand up against all forms of racism, violence, division, hatred, misinformation and fear,” the bishops said. “They also bring to the fore the need for concerted efforts to foster a culture of encounter between immigrants, immigrant communities and Irish society.”
They said “parishes and small faith communities across the country where such encounter is evident and where immigrants are making a positive and vibrant contribution to the life of the parish and in the process opening new cultural experiences for Irish Catholics” ought to be commended.
The riots in Dublin highlighted “a need to redouble efforts towards a responsible management of the current situation” regarding migration, they said.
Consultation was needed, their statement added, on the planning and delivery of “adequate accommodation and associated healthcare, educational and social services for the entire community, and to ensure that issues concerning multiple levels of deprivation in different parts of the country are tackled, so that no one can perceive themselves as disadvantaged”.
The bishops prayed “for the people of the Holy Land who since October 7th have suffered immensely due to conflict, displacement and destruction”. While welcoming the release of some hostages by Hamas, they “lamented the end of the truce in recent days and called for minds, hearts and actions to be as one in bringing the conflict to an end”.
They expressed “particular concern about the violation of international humanitarian law” and added that “from our own experience in Ireland, we know that all conflict and war must end in dialogue”.
The bishops noted that “some may have drifted away from regular attendance of Mass, and others may have developed the habit of continuing to watch online instead of joining the community in person”.
Sunday Mass was “at the very heartbeat of the Church and of our personal faith”, they said, and encouraged “families and individuals who are able to do so, to return to Mass for Christmas and the new year, knowing the importance of the Sunday gathering in the life of our parishes”.
They announced their intention to publish a Pastoral Letter next year “to help achieve a greater appreciation of Sunday”.