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There is nothing to justify dissident violence

There are some in Northern Ireland who believe war is justified to end 'the British presence' and assert the right of the Irish people to national self-determination.

Most dissident republicans assert their value system as superior to that of the Catholic people and a minority say they are fighting a 'just war'.

The Catholic Church considers some wars as legitimately pursued. As the Second Vatican Council noted, "insofar as men are sinful, the threat of war hangs over them, and hang over them it will until the return of Christ". So has the Bible anything to say on the so-called 'superiority' of the dissident position? Where do we find people who believe such things?

We find them among the Israelites of the Old Testament. There is nothing new in their assertions of a superior moral framework. That morality led to sin, evil, war and even genocide. Therefore, the dissidents' position is nothing new.

The Catholic Church's recognition that war is inevitable among peoples who have failed to understand Christian teaching, mainly those who put the nation as their god, does not legitimise the dissidents. It only defines them as 'sinful'. As the Old Testament is the pathway for mankind to hell, the New Testament is the pathway to paradise. War and its frequent genocides are part of the pathway to hell. There is only the New Testament way now - peace is the way. Putting the guns down is an acceptance that the 'superior moral framework' of the dissidents ended with Hitler and that peace is now the only way.

JOHN O'CONNELL

Derry

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