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Church of Ireland in appeal over 1916 Rising and Somme tributes

By Alf McCreary

Published 07/05/2015

Plea: Archbishop Clarke
Plea: Archbishop Clarke

The head of the Church of Ireland has asked people to approach the 1916 commemorations of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme thoughtfully.

Archbishop Richard Clarke said people should look at the events "with real spiritual depth of thought, in the interests of peace rather than division".

He told the all-Ireland general synod in Armagh yesterday that: "It is of great importance that these 2016 commemorations are neither one-dimensional nor intentionally polarising."

He added: "Those who have studied the period round 1916 as history, rather than as propaganda - as I have done - know that there is far too much ambiguity and complexity in every aspect of those two events to imagine that there is any single, precise and clear-cut narrative to be found."

The Primate also hit out at human trafficking as "the basic evil strategy of tricking vulnerable people across borders through physical threat into sexual or labour exploitation which and what is, in effect, domestic slavery.

He added: "The depersonalisation of people so that they become abstract entities with whom we need have no relationship, and for whose safety and dignity we need have no concern, is something against which Christian people must always contend."

The Archbishop spoke of the state of the world as "dangerously unstable".

He said that the "commonplace but horrifying news stories of cold-blooded massacres of those of a different faith, or of the cynical overfilling of boats crammed with migrants from North Africa are perhaps the most dramatic illustrations of a world which too often sees other human beings as anonymised and disposable human beings".

The law-making body of the Church will consider a wide range of issues over the next three days of the synod.

Belfast Telegraph

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