Archbishop ‘heartened’ by North progress

Catholic primate of all Ireland warns against ‘cynicism or negativity’ in Christmas homily

Dr Eamon Martin  at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Dr Eamon Martin at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Primate of the Catholic Church, has praised the progress made by policitians in the North in recent days but warned against “cynicism or negativity” that could cause the agreement to unravel.

In his homily at Christmas Day Mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, Dr Martin said the news has been full of darkness and sadness in recent weeks.

“We’ve seen the horrific slaughter of innocent children in Pakistan, killings in Australia, the spread of Ebola in Africa, and the on-going conflicts and refugee crisis in the Middle East. Nearer home we’ve heard of burglaries, poverty and homelessness on our streets,” Dr Martin said.

However, the new primate said he was “heartened by the news” from Stormont that politicians “have made progress in removing some of the stumbling blocks obstructing the path to lasting peace.”

Dr Martin said “it is good to see ‘Heads of Agreement’ rather than ‘Headlines of Disagreement’ emerging from the talks.”

“We know there is still much work to be done, but I thank all who have been working hard to achieve and underpin these new steps towards a better future for us all.

“It is important to hope and to believe that peace is possible. We all have a part to play in supporting and affirming peace. We must work to ensure that cynicism or negativity do not cause the strands of agreement to unravel.

“So tonight I thank God for the progress that our politicians have made and I pray that in the New Year they will continue to show courage, leadership and commitment in bringing us further forward,” he said.