Statement on Nice terrorist attack

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DEFEND DEMOCRACY BY STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY

 Comment of Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin July 15th 2016 

“The terrorist attack in Nice has been well described as an attack on democracy and the values that underpin democracy.

I join with people of all faiths and walks of life in condemning such attacks and expressing prayers for those who died and for those who mourn and for the people of France.

Right across the world innocent men, women and children are increasingly falling victim to the violence of terrorism.  We cannot overlook any such attempt anywhere, just because it takes place in distant lands.  All terrorist endeavours attack the fundamental basis of our democratic co-existence. There is only one way to fight attacks on democracy and that is to reinforce democracy and uncompromisingly affirm our commitment to democracy.

Democracy involves respect for rights and values of each person and for the rule of law.   Where the quality of democracy is weakened, the door is opened to those who use their own ideology or power to render us all weaker and less protected.

I am speaking about those who provoke terrorism through political or religious ideology.  It applies also, however, to those who use violence on our streets to advance the filthy interests of the drug trade.  It applies to governments which allow demagogy or corruption to flourish unchecked.   It applies also to unprincipled compromise in international relationships.

Democracy is not just about voting in elections.  It is about participation and respect for difference and the rights of all people and peoples.   It is about scrupulous attention to exclusion and investing in education which allows future generations truly to feel part of the society in which they live.

The message of Jesus Christ is a message of justice but not vengeance.  It is above all a commitment to allow love to embrace those who are marginalised.  My prayer is that that those who have died in the Nice attack will experience a loving encounter with the Lord, and that those who mourn will encounter the loving comfort of those around them and that love might even change the hatred that has twisted the hearts of those who foster violence.

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