The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has expressed solidarity and support for Christians, and to all who suffer and have been displaced due to violence in the Middle East. Bishops said that to respect the dignity of the human person, all people of faith and goodwill need to be strong advocates for the protection of vulnerable minorities.
At the Winter 2016 General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference which concluded in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth on 7 December, the bishops discussed the focus of 27th Irish Inter-Church Meeting (IICM) on the plight of Christians in the Middle East, whose existence is under threat.
In their concluding statement the Bishops’ Conference endorsed the final communiqué of the IICM which said: “Lasting peace and security for the region can only be achieved in the context of a renewed international commitment to solidarity, human rights and respect for diversity.
“As Churches, we can play our part by keeping this issue on the agenda of our political leaders and ensuring that the victims of persecution are not forgotten, by making donations in support of the urgent humanitarian needs and by working to ensure that our society models the inclusive approach to minorities we would wish to see in the Middle East and throughout the world.”
The 27th Irish Inter-Church Meeting (IICM) took place from 24–25 November at Mount Saint Anne’s Retreat Centre, Killenard, Portarlington Co Laois.
The IICM is the formal meeting between the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Irish Council of Churches which allows Christian churches in Ireland to pray and reflect together on issues of shared concern. It includes senior Church leaders and lay representatives from across 15 denominations in Ireland. The theme chosen for the 2016 meeting was: ‘Forsaken? The suffering of the churches in the Middle East’.