Reach out to those who suffer, says Dr Williams
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
CHURCH LEADERS' New Year messages urged action for the sake of the poor and
The Archbishop of Canterbury called on people living in comfort to draw
closer to those who were suffering. Even the smallest act - like a word or two
to a Big Issue-seller, or an Amnesty card to a political prisoner - would help
close the gap, Dr Williams said.
"When disasters and tragedies come on us thick and fast - and this last year
has seen so many horrors of suffering, natural and man-made - it's painful to
accept that we can't just do something straight away to set it all right. So we
need to see that the one thing we can do is to try and close the gap, to let
others know that they are not on their own."
Part of Dr Williams's address was filmed at the 999 club, a drop-in centre
in Deptford, in south-east London. "Those who work here will tell you the point
isn't to solve the problems, but chiefly to say to everyone who comes through
the doors that they don't have to face them alone," he said.
The Primate of All Ireland, Dr Robin Eames, spoke of the possibility of
progress at every level in Ireland. "History will not judge us kindly if we
allow old animosities to dictate how we regard each other," he said. "Memories
run deep throughout this community. But it is how we deal with memories which
will determine our future."
The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Neill, urged the government of the Irish
Republic to allow permanent residence to refugees and asylum-seekers who had
been in the country for five years without clarification of their status. Many
"face into the new year with a deep sense of fear in relation to possible
deportation", he said.
"Among these are a small number of unaccompanied minors, most with little or
nothing to which to return. Our thoughts go out to these teenagers, who may
have been here for three or four years assimilating to Irish society, gaining
from our educational system, and now on reaching 18 facing into yet another
upheaval, being forced to return to something from which they once fled."
The Canadian Primate, the Most Revd Andrew Hutchison, said that Canada "with
its surplus in the billions" should lead the world in promoting the Millennium
Development Goal of 0.7 per cent of GDP for development by 2015.
The Bishop in Jerusalem, the Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal, said he had been
moved to tears of anger by seeing "little Bethlehem besieged with an iron gate"
. The only hope was "in a star that neither tanks nor fighter planes - nor
separation walls - could stop its light from penetrating the darkness that was".
The Pope, in an apparent criticism of the President of Iran's call for
Israel to be "wiped off" the map, said that countries that incited their
citizens to hate other nations bore a heavy responsibility. "In regions
particularly at risk, they jeopardise the delicate balance achieved at the cost
of patient negotiations, and thus help make the future of humanity more
uncertain and ominous."
Every government that had or wanted nuclear weapons should "strive for a
progressive and concerted nuclear disarmament". The money saved could help the
poor, Benedict XVI said.