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Policies needed that ensure access to health and education

By Sarah Mac Donald - 03 January, 2014

Cardinal Brady discusses fraternity and the impasse in NI talks in New Year's homily.

DV684871The Primate of All Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, has called for the implementation of policies which secure equal access to health and education for all so that every individual is able to realise their potential and develop fully as a person.

In his homily for World Day for Peace, delivered in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh on Wednesday, the Primate said that in the Family of God we are all sons and daughters of the same Father.  

“All are loved by God. All enjoy the same dignity. All have been saved by the blood of Christ, who died on the Cross and rose for all. All of us have been given Mary to be our mother, by Christ, as He hung, dying on the Cross.”  

The Cardinal said this was why none of us can remain indifferent when we hear and see on our TV screens the massacres that are taking place in Syria or Sudan, Iraq or Democratic Republic of Congo.  

None of us can remain indifferent when the Philippines are devastated by storms, he said.   

Referring to the current impasse in Northern Ireland, Cardinal Brady stated, “None of us can remain indifferent when talks, aimed at resolving the issues of flags, parades and the past break down. Our brothers and sisters are involved.”

He continued, “We are grateful for the work of the negotiators. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to consider carefully their proposals and work to secure a lasting solution. It is because they appreciate the value of peace, that so much hard work has been done.”  

Referring to Pope Francis’ first Message for World Day of Peace, he said the Pope reminds us of these things when he describes fraternity as the foundation and pathway to peace.

“Pope Francis sees fraternity as a prerequisite for fighting poverty and putting an end to wars. Effective policies are needed to secure for people, who are equal in dignity and rights, access to health, education and what they need to realise their potential and develop fully as a person,” the Cardinal observed.

In addition to policies, the Cardinal said there is a need for people to choose to live a more modest lifestyle so that all may have the basics.  

“While international agencies and national laws are important, and greatly to be desired, they are not, in themselves, enough to protect us from the risk of armed conflict. A conversion of heart is needed to see the other person as a brother or sister to care for and work together with.”

“’To those who sow violence and death by force of arms’, Pope Francis makes this appeal, ‘In the person you see today simply as an enemy to be beaten, discover your brother or sister and hold beneath your heart.’”

The Cardinal concluded his homily by saying that the first day of the year concentrates on Mary and her maternity.

“It is already an announcement of peace. Every maternity reveals the desire and the presence of life. It shows the holiness of life. War is always aimed at killing. It is the destruction of life conceived. May the paternity of God and the maternity of Mary, make the world so aware of its fraternity as to make war, at some stage in the future, unthinkable.

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