ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
I am happy that such a representative group has come from Ireland to accompany Cardinal Daly on this occasion, and that through you I have this opportunity to greet the Irish people, from both North and South. I have so many vivid memories of my visit to your country and I have met so many Irish people both here in Rome and on my visits to other parts of the world, including so many missionary Sisters, Brothers and Priests, that Ireland is never far from my thoughts. With particular affection I remember the late Cardinal Ò Fiaich, whose great love was to be among his people, sharing in their daily joys and sorrows. Dear Cardinal Daly, at this moment I am thinking of the community entrusted to your pastoral care, and of all the ecclesial communities present in Northern Ireland. I am thinking of the many victims of violence, of the suffering brought about by attitudes which are radically opposed to the Gospel ideals which must govern the life of every Christian. Above all I think of the younger generation, and of the responsibility of educating them in respect for human dignity and fundamental human rights.
In this context, I wish to express my prayerful support for all those engaged in the political dialogue now taking place in Northern Ireland. I wish to encourage them to continue untiringly in their efforts, seeking measures that will guarantee peaceful relations, so that everyone can cooperate, in dignity and freedom, in building a society in which all citizens feel fully accepted and are justly treated, and have the greatest mutual respect for each other, according to the noble traditions of Ireland.
May God’s love be with Your Eminence, and with all the people of Ireland without distinction. May Christ’s peace reign in your hearts.
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