Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin's New Year message

Reconciliation was a significant theme in the New Year's message of Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin. In his end of year address Archbishop Martin spoke of the importance of healing and peace to the divided and wounded communities of the island of Ireland.

“The issues of legacy and the reality of trauma experienced by many families here must be included and handled sensitively,” the church leader said, “Victims have spoken about the importance of continued access to justice, together with meaningful opportunities for truth and information recovery.”

Archbishop Martin spoke of a service of reflection held last October with other Church leaders to mark the centenary of 1921: “During the service I expressed a personal sense of sadness and loss at the partition of Ireland and, with my fellow religious leaders, I acknowledged that perhaps we in the Churches could have done more to deepen our understanding of each other and to bring healing and peace to our divided and wounded communities.”

The Archbishop of Armagh also looked to the future: “As we begin a New Year, conversations are already taking place about what constitutional change and greater sharing on this island might look like. Intergenerational dialogue has much to offer these conversations - balancing reflection on the past with hope for the future.”

He continued: “No line can easily be drawn on our past and there is clearly much work to be done in exploring and building a unity of hearts and minds towards a shared vision for our future in this island.”

Archbishop Martin's message emphasised the importance of dialogue between the generations emerges in the context of the global climate crisis: “The voices of young people were loud and clear at the COP26 conference in Glasgow in October. Among these were young voices of faith, reminding us of our responsibilities under God to be caring stewards of creation - always alert to the protection of life and the dignity of all and to the disproportionate impact that climate change is having on those who are already vulnerable and on the margins.”

He concluded by saying: “A fitting New Year’s resolution for all of us in Church and in society, might be to invest more of our time and resources, listening, dialogue and prayer in our young people who are already making it clear that they see themselves not simply as our future, but also as essential and creative contributors to our present.”