May 9, 2017 – A The Iona Institute Northern Ireland welcomes remarks by Archbishop Eamon Martin last night on the role of the Church and religion in public life.
In particular, we welcome his comment that “religion and faith will continue to have an important part to play in the national conversation”.
We also welcome his defence of religious sisters and priests and the “decades of service” that have offered this country, North and South. As he points out, this cannot be “obliterated” because of some of the shameful episodes of the past.
Commenting on Archbishop Martin’s address, spokesperson for the Iona Institute Northern Ireland, Tracy Harkin said: “Archbishop Martin is drawing attention to a growing tendency to try and exclude religious voices from the public debate. He said the same in an address to the inaugural conference of the Iona Institute Northern Ireland which took place in March”.
She continued: “Christianity has a lot to say about the just ordering of society and the common good and therefore is morally obliged to take part in public debate and share its point of view in the same way as anyone else. It is not acceptable to try and exclude the religious voice from public debate simply because it is religious. This, in fact, would be undemocratic and anti-pluralism”.
Tracy concluded: “Northern Ireland is facing into elections shortly for the Westminster Parliament. The various Churches are making their voices heard and are setting out their vision of the common good. The Churches and Christians of all denominations must and will continue to do this”.
Notes to editor:
1. The Iona Institute Northern Ireland is a Christian think tank and advocacy group. It launched its Northern Ireland branch in March. Its Northern Ireland spokesperson is Tracy Harkin. She can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Archbishop Martin’s address can be found here.