President Higgins attends service for New Zealand shooting victims
Unaddressed racism holds frightening potential for “social destruction” Archbishop Martin says
President Higgins and his wife Sabina sign a book of condolence at the Pro Cathedral for victims of the New Zealand shootings. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill
President Higgins and his wife Sabina attend a service in the Pro Cathedral for victims of the New Zealand shootings. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill
A book of Condolence in the Pro Cathedral for victims of the New Zealand shootings. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill
The service was held at the Pro Cathedral, ahead of an annual mass celebrating the feast of St Patrick.
President Higgins and his wife Sabina were greeted outside the church by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin. P
President Higgins and Ms Higgins both signed a book of condolences that has been opened in the church, following the mass shooting in New Zealand on Friday.
President Higgins sat at the front of the church for the service, which heard hymns from the Palestrina Choir.
Addressing those gathered, Archbishop Martin condemned the “horrific event” at Christchurch.
“History shows that when racism and religious intolerance are not addressed they contain within themselves a frightening power for fostering hatred and social destruction,” Dr Martin said.
“To attack innocent people of prayer in two mosques just because they were of a different faith is something that offends Christian culture, is something that offends our own Irish culture, just as it offends the culture of New Zealand, a country known for its tolerance,” he said.
The senior church figure said he wished to express “our solidarity with our Islamic brothers and sisters here in Ireland, and worldwide.
“Attempts to demonise the faith of another cannot be allowed to assume even a token of respectability and reasonableness,” he said.
There was no such thing as “half-racism” or “partial tolerance,” the Archbishop told those gathered.
Clíona Maughan, a volunteer, led a reading which included words from a Muslim poet. A moment of silent prayer and reflection was held during the service for the victims of the shooting.