The Archbishop of Dublin has said he is “horrified” by “the emergence of a new language of racism” in Ireland.
Driving the news
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was speaking at a Mass December 1 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Church of the Assumption, St Columbanus and St Gall in Milltown.
The prelate decried the rise in bigotry that he said is “at times understated in its expression but just as nasty in its effects on men and women who need our help, our care and our respect”.
“I am horrified to find traces of such racism among believers”, Martin admitted.
“The terms ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ should only arouse heartfelt concern in the Christian heart”.
Martin’s comments came after racism became an issue in campaigning for by-elections November 29 in Wexford and Dublin Fingal.
Fine Gael candidate for Wexford Verona Murphy called for asylum seekers to be “deprogrammed” in Ireland due to the “indoctrination” of groups like ISIS, while Fianna Fáil politician in Dublin Fingal Lorraine Clifford-Lee was criticised for negative tweets towards Travellers and Brazilians.
Galway West TD Noel Grealish was also accused of racism for exaggerating in the Dáil the money sent home by Nigerians in remittances, and failed presidential candidate Gemma O’Doherty has also been widely panned for her negative views on immigration and multiculturalism.
Though Archbishop Martin did not mention any of the politicians by name, he said “the Christian of every generation is called to be awake and attentive to where society is slipping into wrong ways and to cry out like the prophet to return to the ways of God”.
“A real challenge today for parishes in urban areas, marked as they are by greater mobility, is how to reach out and welcome those who move into a new area and invite them to be part of the faith community.
“That is my challenge to you for the future”, the archbishop told Milltown parishioners.
Why it matters
In his sermon Sunday, Martin also decried the plight “of those who today are burdened by homelessness and poverty, intolerance and discrimination, suffering and anxiety”.
The archbishop condemned “the renewed violence on our streets and the callousness of those who feel they can intimidate our society into weakening our opposition to that business of death that is the drug trade”.
The prelate’s homily at Milltown came just 24 hours after another powerful sermon at the Diocesan Advent Service at the Church of Saint Joseph the Artisan, Bonnybrook.
There Martin added: “We need to stay awake and be on our guard not to allow a seductive culture emerge which plays down the significance of new life and the value of each life or which introduces into our culture criteria which would determine that one life has less value than another”.
For the record
In October Archbishop Martin had already put the Irish Government on guard against hate, urging politicians “to take precautions and foster structures designed to encourage integration and counter racism”.
Speaking at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in the Vatican, he explained that “culturally a community has to develop an openness to migrants and help overcome the hostility towards migrants that can emerge and grow in any society”.
“This can be especially the case when there is a belief that immigrants are taking employment or social service benefits away from the local population”, Martin added on that occasion.