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Ireland is far from exempt from racism warns Bishop Leahy

By Sarah Mac Donald - 09 June, 2020

Church of Ireland parish of Kilternan urges people to ‘take the knee’ and pray for racial justice on Wednesday evening.

Hatred, racism and sectarianism of any type destroys the fabric of any community Bishop Brendan Leahy warned on Sunday after his weekly livestreamed Mass from St John’s Cathedral in Limerick.

Addressing his online congregation, the Bishop of Limerick appealed to people to do all they can to overcome racism in society.

Describing Trinity Sunday as a “celebration of diversity in unity and unity in diversity” he said people must respect difference in the world today.

Referring to the killing of George Floyd in the US he said, “Only love transforms. Hatred, racism, sectarianism of any type, destroys the fabric of any community. The events of this past week have prompted us all to examine the personal judgements we make in our hearts and the social arrangements around us whose injustice we perhaps neglect to notice.”

Bishop Leahy said that Ireland is far from exempt from racism.

“We must all do our part to watch out for it and overcome it, in whatever form it arises. There is more we can all do and it starts with the Golden Rule – love your neighbour as yourself.”

Bishop Leahy also noted that many of those who took part in the Black Lives Matter protests in Irish cities had described direct provision centres as a form of racism.

“It remains a hidden and troubling aspect of our society and one we must address. We are surely capable of a greater welcome in this country of ours. We will have to work on this together in a collaborative approach involving Government, local communities and listening to those in direct provision centres,” the Bishop of Limerick said.

Separately, in Derry, Bishop Donal McKeown said on Sunday that love can change everything and there is enough for everybody’s need, but not for everybody’s greed.

In his homily for Trinity Sunday, Dr McKeown told his online congregation that the feast speaks of a harmonious set of complementary relationships and that community is possible.

“Any allegedly Christian vision that promotes division, blame, privilege or revenge has missed the point of the Trinity. Christians believe that God’s dream has to be our inspiration, and not our narrow defensive agendas,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Church of Ireland parish of Kilternan in Dublin is urging people to ‘take the knee’ and pray for racial justice on Wednesday evening.

The Rector of Kilternan, Rev Rob Clements, said challenging racism is not just a black issue but an issue for everyone and that “Racism is a blatant denial of the Christian faith.”

He said racism denies the effectiveness of the reconciling work of Jesus, through whose love all human diversities lose their divisive significance.

“It denies our common humanity in creation and our belief that all people are made in God’s image.”

In a statement ahead of the online prayer for racial justice, Kilternan parish said recent events in the US had once again drawn attention to the ways in which racism continues to cause incalculable harm across the world. “We all bear responsibility and must play our part to eliminate this scourge on humanity.”

In solidarity with those who fight against racial injustice, the parish is inviting people to ‘take the knee’ and pray for racial justice on Wednesday evening either somewhere in public or at home.

“We encourage you to take the knee with the family and so begin a conversation about racial equality.”

Those interested in joining in the initiative can join the parish in prayer on Zoom at 8pm on Wednesday. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Live streaming of Masses and Services from churches in Ireland and the UK can be found here: http://churchservices.tv

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