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1916 centenary offers chance to rediscover values

By Sarah Mac Donald - 08 April, 2015

Bishop Brendan LeahyNext year’s centenary of the Easter Rising offers Irish society an opportunity in which to rediscover key values, Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick has said.

Writing for the Sunday Independent, the Bishop of Limerick said the celebrations for next year’s commemoration of 1916 also offers an opportunity for all of us to prepare personally for the centenary, not just in terms of the outward displays but also in terms of personal relationships with others.

He suggested that the year ahead is a chance to offer an Easter amnesty to anyone who may have offended us.

“To forgive those who have hurt us is to plant a seed of hope that will grow to the benefit of society,” the Bishop wrote.

Elsewhere in his article, Bishop Leahy stated that if we find ourselves in this way on the march of living hope, “we’ll be offering a contribution to building a society that is ‘all risen’ with a wisdom that helps us live out a founding vision of hope in genuine fraternity, cherishing all the children of the nation equally”.

Noting that the 1916 Proclamation of Independence was imbued with a vision of hope in a genuine fraternity, the Bishop of Limerick said so often fraternity risks becoming a ‘forgotten principle’ in politics.

Of the three great principles of modern politics, liberty, equality and fraternity, the bishop said fraternity has often been ignored in European history. “And at a price.”

“Let’s not forget that in the various efforts at achieving equality, that struggle has often cost the lives of millions when fraternity was forgotten. That is how it is in all one-sided promotions of unlimited freedom,” he stated.

He also reminded people that the Easter proclamation of faith is a reminder that the fraternity written into human ecology always respects God’s work of creation with its in-built requirements of protection of the earth, protection of family life, protection of the fabric of society, protection of the vulnerable.

“In contemporary Ireland, fraternity will include respect for differing lifestyles and efforts to guarantee them legal protection,” he said and added that the 1916 Easter proclamation “would hardly have meant that in respecting differing lifestyles we prioritise adults over children”.

Dr Leahy added that the Easter proclamation is more than words. “It is a statement of vision about universal fraternity and human ecology, reconciliation and care for the vulnerable,” he said.

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