Irish Christian Leaders Unite to Condemn Slayings

Denounce Attempt to Destabilize Peace Process

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland, MARCH 10, 2009 ( Catholic and Protestant leaders in Ireland are united in condemning the slaying of three people in two separate attacks, as the island nation continues to solidify its peace process.

A press release issued today noted that the leaders of Ireland’s four main churches are offering their prayers for the victims of a shooting Saturday in Antrim, Northern Ireland, which killed two soldiers and injured four others, including two civilians.

The statement read: «The brutal murder of two soldiers and injuring of others including civilians at Massereene is a shocking development which is an attack on our whole community.

«It takes us back to events which we thought we had left in the past and is a dangerous attempt to destabilize the peace process which must not be allowed to succeed.»

Cardinal Sean Brady joined with Church of Ireland archbishop Alan Harper, Methodist president Reverend Aian Ferguson, and Presbyterian moderator Right Reverend Donald Patton in this statement, which appeared on the Web site of the Catholic bishops’ conference.

The statement continued: «We are encouraged by the way the whole community has come together to condemn these murders and to affirm our belief in a reconciled future.

«We ask everyone to give full support to the police and to work together with our politicians for a stable and peaceful society with respect for all.»

And the Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops of Dromore joined their voices to condemn a second murder, this time of a policeman in Craigavon on Monday.

Right Reverend Harold Miller and Bishop John McAreavey called the slaying a «morally bankrupt act.»

«Those who perpetrated this murder and other recent atrocities have nothing to offer the future of our society,» the Christian leaders continued. «Their ‘god’ is destruction. They are seeking to destroy the peace we are building — the normalising of cross-community policing, the cross-party working of the assembly, and the desire to draw a line under 30 years of troubles. [….]

«Our community will not allow them to succeed. […] This is the time for every section of our community to make the message clear and unmistakable. We are not going back. Our future is going to be one of respect, trust and working together for the good of all.»

Two splinter groups of the Irish Republican Army have claimed separate responsibility for the two slayings.

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