Peace greater than absence of violence-bishops


HUMILITY, compassion and forgiveness are the ingredients that provide the recipe for peace, not just the absence of violence, the two Bishops of Limerick have said in their joint Christmas message.

The Church of Ireland Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, Dr Edward Darling, and the Catholic Bishop, Dr Donal Murray, said that 18 months ago everybody was filled with the hope of peace.

"We felt sure that peace had returned to our land after a quarter of a century of strife and violence, of bombing and killing. Since this time last year, however, the terrorists have resumed their activities, not just in Northern Ireland, but in London, Manchester and much closer to home in the shocking murder of Det Garda Jerry McCabe in Co Limerick.

"While we hope for, pray for and demand an end to violence perpetrated by other people, we also need to look at ourselves," the bishops said.

"There is a danger that our own hearts will become hardened, that we might be tempted to think in terms of revenge, that we might lose the ability to forgive, and we might lose sight of the fact that the peace of Christ is meant for all men and women, including those who differ from us in their beliefs, or politics or culture even people we might be tempted to think of as enemies."

The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Walton Empey, called on the Christian community to show compassion for those in society who are "homeless, lonely and suffering from many different types of pain".

Dr Empey said: "If we Christians content ourselves with singing carols and celebrating the Eucharist and stop there then we fall far short of the mark." Christians should share the life of Christ with others.

"We are His eyes to look in compassion; we are His hands to bless and to heal; we are His feet to bring the Gospel of hope to those who are without hope. That is the challenging message not only for Christmas Day but for every day.