Archbishop calls on people to stand up to men of violence

At Way of the Cross procession, Diarmuid Martin reflects on continuing problem


People must stand up to the men of violence in society and say “no more”, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

Speaking at the annual Way of the Cross procession in the city’s Phoenix Park, which symbolically traces the final steps of Jesus to Calvary, he recalled how: “A year ago on Good Friday we reflected here in this Phoenix Park on violence in our society. That violence continues.

“We have to stand up as a community and say to men of violence, whoever they are, ‘no more of this’.”

The world “is seeing senseless violence on a scale we have not seen for decades, sadly in some cases perpetrated in the name of God. Violence is never the answer.”

He asked, “How can we Christians do more to address the violence in our society, in homes, against innocent children, against women, against those we consider different and thus somehow less worthy of our respect and love? Violence against people of different sexual orientation, violence against people of different ethnical background?

“There is the violence of a drug trade which destroys lives, very often fragile young lives, for sordid profit. Must we repeat our condemnation of violence year after year?”

Violence was, he said, “the work of the powers of darkness. Let us have the courage to call darkness what it is and to call the operators of darkness what they are.”

Southside procession

William King

Speaking before the Church of Mary Immaculate, Refuge of Sinners, he said: “In an age of growing secularism, we are in a minority: some would regard us as an old curiosity; some – that religion is for the weak-minded – a private thing.

“There is nothing weak about the values we espouse. The one we follow showed remarkable strength, integrity and courage.”

Led by a man carrying a plain cross, the gathering of Catholics, Church of Ireland members, Methodists, Lutherans, and others set off up Lower Rathmines Road to stop at the Swan Leisure centre.

There Ruth Gyves of the Church of Ireland spoke in a reflection of freedom and wondered “how much are we like Barabbas?”, the criminal who was freed so the innocent Jesus might be crucified.

She then took up the cross and led the procession towards the next stop at Cathal Brugha Barracks.

There Lutheran pastor Martin Sauter noted that “sacrifice is a word we will be hearing a lot about this weekend. Today we are focused on one profound sacrifice, the crucifixion.”

Rev Rob Jones of the Church of Ireland Holy Trinity Rathmines led prayers.

At the the next stop, the women’s shelter across from Mary Immaculate, Refuge of Sinners church, Methodist Leslie Rankin led prayers while in a reflection Rev Andrew Dougherty of Leeson Park Methodist church said people were saved not because they deserved it but as “a gift of God”.

Suffering in the world

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Methodist Rev John Parkin read from Matthew’s gospel on Jesus’s forsaken last moments on the cross while, reflecting on suffering in the world, Rev Sauter spoke of people in refugee camps, Brussels over recent days, the Middle East and a world in which there was so much hatred and hardship.