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DCIF Members Calls for Greater Efforts to Secure Peace

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The month of April is rich with celebrations from all our Faith Traditions (Easter Sunday – March 31st; Buddha’s Birthday – April 8th; Eid al-Fitr – 9th/10th April; Ram Navmi – April 17th; the Bahai season of Ridvan – April 20th til May 1st; Pesach/Passover – April 22nd -30th), as well as the distressing levels of geo-political conflict in our world which have had repercussions in both political and social discourse in Ireland. That both come together is striking and calls for comment. We wish to raise our collective voices in opposition to all forms of Racism, Intolerance and Exclusion. We wish to raise our voice in support of the building of a culture of Respect, Tolerance and Peace – three nouns on which to build community in our land.

In the recent “Message of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue to Muslims for the Month of Ramadan and ‘Id al Fitr 1445 H. / 2024 A.D”, the Vatican stated that religions “can be thankful that we [..] possess immense human and religious resources for advancing peace”, and since “…no one can fail to see the tragic effects of war in the loss of human lives, the toll of serious injury and the throngs of orphans and widows….. the condemnation and rejection of war should be unambiguous: every war is fratricide, useless, senseless, and dark.” “Peace is a divine gift but at the same time the fruit of human efforts, especially in preparing the conditions necessary for its establishment and preservation”.

While this is the voice of one religious tradition within Christianity, its sentiment strikes a chord with all people of faith. It is towards the advancement of such expectations that we write this Joint Declaration. We are aware of the rich resources each spiritual tradition brings as well as being painfully conscious that religious leaders, both in Ireland and abroad, have not always been assiduous or successful peace builders. We wish to join in a collaboration with civic society to create a culture of respectful communication, greater welcome, and sensitivity to the “widows and orphans” (a Biblical phrase to denote the vulnerable, who include victims of violence, verbal and physical) in our society, as well as those who have come, or will come to our shores, fleeing devastating wars and forced displacement. They are the “widows and orphans’ of our day who are seeking safety, asylum and freedom. Lord Ram, whose birthday we celebrate during Ram Navmi this month, once stated " One who is virtuous and wise, just and merciful, is a true human."

The Buddha, whose birthday falls this month, taught: “Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace”. 2 | P a g e Baha’ullah, whose teaching enjoined peacemaking on his followers is also commemorated this month, once declared “We have enjoined upon all mankind to establish the Most Great Peace -- the surest of all means for the protection of humanity”. In Exodus 14: 13-14, Moses commanded his listeners to “ [ ] be not afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today….. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

In the Christian New Testament we read "For Christ himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility." Ephesians 2:14-16 (NIV). With such teachings, and in the best Irish traditions of hospitality and “cead mile failte”, we urge all to restrain from words and actions which engender exclusion, hate or prejudice, and work instead to construct a nation that can be a beacon of global hope in these dark times.



28 MARCH 2024

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