• 21 October 2014

Primate speaks of being. ‘people of hope rather than people of fear’

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, delivered his Presidential Synod Address this morning at the 2014 Armagh Diocesan Synod in the Alexander Synod Hall, Church House, Armagh. He spoke of being ‘people of hope rather than people of fear’.

Speaking on the themes of the international threats of both ISIL and the Ebola virus, Archbishop Clarke said: ‘Only when we can grasp, and accept in our hearts, that in God’s eyes there are no “people like us” and “people not like us”, can we begin the process of bringing hope, a hope that begins with real solidarity, to those around us.’ He continued: ‘From the very first book of the Scriptures, we are told firmly that every human person has a total value and dignity and a unique purpose in God’s eyes, for every human person is made in His image and likeness. This essential truth is given its fullest expression – its complete expression – in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ and in his death and resurrection. This is the basis of all hope, and it is not merely “hope” as an interesting theological formulation, it is a hope that must drive us out to bring that hope into the lives of others.’

Continuing on the theme of hope in the context of the political talks in Northern Ireland, Archbishop Clarke said: ‘Here in Northern Ireland, I believe that the vast majority of people want the talks at present being mooted as a means of resolving difficulties between the different political viewpoints to be pursued with integrity, energy and commitment. We want the talks to work. People want to see hope, they want to believe that those who lead our country are actually interested in holding out hope for all the communities of Ireland, and within both the jurisdictions represented in this diocese.’

Archbishop Clarke also highlighted the importance of road safety in the light of road deaths statistics and the PSNI call for greater awareness, saying, ‘We should all, young or old, take to heart the Christian imperative that we accept the gift of the life we have been given, and that others have been given, with a genuine reverence.’ The Archbishop also commended work being done to raise awareness about suicide prevention and, finally, commended the ‘fab / Flesh and Blood’ campaign promoting blood and organ donation, saying that by taking part in it ‘We can give hope to those who would otherwise have little hope of living a full life or even perhaps of surviving beyond a few months or weeks’.