Today provides an opportunity for a new start for Northern Ireland’s political institutions and one that can also offer fresh hope, say the leaders of Ireland’s four main Churches.
While we acknowledge that points of difference obviously remain, the goal of restoring devolution remains within reach – Ireland’s church leaders.
Archbishop Eamon Martin urges people and parties of different political perspectives “to progress peace", tackle poverty and homelessness, tackle the pressure on hospitals and schools, and "to promote a culture of life.”
Now in its sixth year, the theme this year is ‘Always Be Ready’ from 1 Peter 3:15 – Always be Ready to give an answer for the hope that you possess.
“We want to express our continued concern that ... the most vulnerable are at greater risk, while crucial decisions on education, health and welfare are not being taken.”
Bernadette Smyth, director of Precious Life, says Amnesty is “claiming to be a ‘human rights group’ while campaigning for the legalised destruction of unborn children.”
“If you take a look at the top 11 schools they are all faith-based, and I think that says it all” - Sean Rafferty, head of St Louis Grammar in Ballymena in Co Antrim.
Attempt to extend abortion law to allow for abortion in the cases of life limiting illnesses and in pregnancies resulting from rape or incest defeated in Stormont Assembly.
Northern bishops highlight how motion was "completely silent" on the "vital issue" of respect for individual religious conscience and protections for Churches.