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Archbishop Martin deplores knife and gun culture

By Sarah Mac Donald - 02 December, 2013

SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN ANNIVERSARYArchbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has deplored the frequency with which knives are “being raised in violence and guns in vengeance.”

In a homily given at St Andrew’s Church on Westland Row in Dublin for the first Sunday of Advent, the Archbishop hit out at the fact that guns and knives are increasingly making their presence felt on the streets of the capital.

He said this culture of violence and vengeance was causing “young lives” to be “ruined” and he appealed to Christians to find ways to speak up and stand up for peace and loving care.

The Archbishop also expressed his “horror” at the brutal killing of a homeless man whose charred remains were discovered alight early on Friday morning in the Phoenix Park.

He said he was “horrified by the news of someone being burned alive in the Phoenix Park.”

Elsewhere in his homily, the Primate of Ireland expressed his concern over the situation in Syria, noting that “in our world of progress and enlightenment” men, women and children are driven in their hundreds of thousands from their homes through wars such as the conflict in Syria.

Referring to the “remarkable reaction” around the world to Pope Francis, the Archbishop noted that these reactions were “overwhelmingly positive.”

He said some feel that the Pope is going to turn Church life and doctrine on its head. Some are happy to see that he is going to reform the Roman Curia and the way the Church is governed. 

“All are struck by the way he does not just talk about poverty but witnesses to poverty and how he tangibly feels for the poor,” he said.

But he added that sometimes these reactions miss the central point. “The big temptation for all of us is to think that Pope Francis is talking about others who need to change, when he is really telling all of us that we need to change.”

“He is calling us to wake up and to stay awake and alert. He is calling all of us to renew ourselves and to become a renewed Church. He is unambiguously reminding us that a tired, a timid or a closed inward-looking Church will never reach out to spread the message of Jesus in our world today.”

The leader of the Church in Dublin also underlined that the Pontiff is calling the faithful to keep the doors of the Church open as “closed doors invite no one in.”

He said the Pontiff was using the image of the door as a symbol:  the Church doors must be open in welcome.  “The Church must be welcoming especially to those who living in anxiety and hopelessness, to those who are seeking the answers to what life is about,” he suggested.

He continued, “The Pope is also asking us questions about why so many young people do not find the Church a welcoming Church, while we possess one of the great secrets about the meaning of life which young people are seeking:  the message of Jesus Christ and how he reveals that our God is a God of love.”

The Advent message, he commented, is that the Christian life is always a future-looking one and he added that the Advent wreath is an image of the Church. 

“Week by week we light another candle as our lives move forward step by step in expectation. Our mission as Christians in the world is, as we look forward to Chris’s coming, to anticipate that fullness of Christ’s teaching through the way we live as individuals and as society, and to ensure that our world does not deviate from God’s design for his creation.”

The Christian of every generation is called particularly to be awake and attentive to where society is slipping into wrong ways and to cry out like the prophet to return to the ways of God.

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