At this critical moment, as my fellow Church leaders have already done this week, I offer a message to our politicians and all who serve in the civil and political sphere.
Consider carefully your responsibility and noble vocation to work for the common good. The premature collapse of our political institutions so soon after the last election is a serious matter for all of us and cannot be taken lightly. The sense I am picking up from people on the ground is that it risks further disillusionment with the political process. We understand that it takes courage and generosity to stand for public office. But it also brings a trusted responsibility for leadership and integrity which can never be taken for granted.
All of us need to have confidence in you – and especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, the poor, those who struggle daily to bring up their families and make ends meet. Your call to public service will sometimes mean making sacrifices, offering compromise and building bridges to overcome barriers as they arise. We have all learned through bitter experience that wrong is never all on one side – too many families among us still grieve the losses, or nurse the wounds of sectarianism and hatred. We do not want that for our children and grandchildren.
Other troubled parts of the world look to us as a sign of hope that peace can be achieved. Continue to work to sustain the painstaking progress which many of you and your predecessors helped to deliver. Help to bring us further along the road to lasting peace, a shared future and prosperity for all. Do not resort to predictable, wearisome slogans or denigrating, divisive language. Like many in the community, the churches are available to assist you in any way. We will certainly pray for you in the coming weeks.
- Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.