On 15 September, Bishop Brendan Leahy, Bishop of Limerick, said racism and intolerance should have no place in Irish society.

Celebrating Mass in Our Lady Help of Christians church in Milford, Limerick, for the centenary of Salesians in Ireland, Bishop Leahy said that we should strive to live by the example of the Salesians, people of joy who welcomed others.

During his homily, Bishop Leahy said, “In a rapidly changing Ireland, we all have to work together to respect everyone and that means a complete avoidance of the use of offence language. It means building of relationships at local level so that everyone can feel welcome wherever we gather. Racism, intolerance and sectarianism should have no place in Ireland today.”

He continued, “At their Summer General meeting, the bishops of Ireland expressed concern about the rising number of incidents of racism and xenophobia carried out on social media, in quiet conversations or by open verbal onslaughts and sometimes by those who consider themselves faithful Christians.

“As the bishops stated in their statement following their meeting, we’ve always to remember that some of those who come to Ireland have escaped from very dangerous situations, including religious persecution. On top of the trauma of losing their homes, their jobs and often their families, they now face the challenge of being strangers here, of starting again without a network, where language, the education system, customs and culture are quite different. How many Irish emigrants experienced that in various parts of the world?”

Bishop Leahy said, “Now we welcome others coming to our shores. How we speak of them is important. To denigrate others is cheap. To build them up is noble. To be loose with our tongue is like spreading a fire. And that is never good.”

ENDS