The following statement was delivered by Father Gerard Alwill, in the parish of Derrylin (Knockninny), Co Fermanagh following Masses in the parish over this weekend, 21 and 22 September:
There is no way that I could face into celebrating the weekend Masses in the parish and, at the same time, avoid speaking about what has happened here over the last week.
I know that there are those who might say that I have no right to open my mouth on these issues, that I’m only what used to be called, ‘a blow-in’. That may be true. I have only been here two years and it’s also true that I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of the issues that have led up to the current situation.
But what I do know are the values that we as a Christian community uphold and try to live up to in our own lives. What happened last week runs totally against those Christian values: the values of mutual respect for each other, the values of love of one another.
Not only does this barbaric act run contrary to our Christian values, but it also runs totally against our own natural human values. What happened was totally abhorrent to all decent people.
To plan and to carry out such a savage attack is totally contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. To plan and carry out such a savage attack runs totally contrary to every sinew of human decency that is within us. I, as an individual, and we as a community, are both horrified and disgusted by the brutality of this attack and by the sheer heartlessness that could inflict such suffering on the wife, the children and the wider family of the individual concerned.
Sure, people have the right to hold different opinions on certain issues and people have the right to air such opinions. But nobody, nobody, has the right to inflict such an appalling and vicious onslaught on any man or woman, or on any family. In Christian eyes, there can be no justification whatsoever for such actions.
Over the last few days I’ve sensed a growing feeling of anger, resentment and revulsion among the members of our community over what has happened. Those who have spoken to me have mentioned their sense of shock, their sense of outrage and their sense of disbelief that such a terrible thing could happen here. Many feel helpless and afraid, with no one to speak on their behalf.
All I can do, as your parish priest, is to give voice to those emotions, and to say, on your behalf, that there can be no room for such violence in a Christian community such as ours.
In the name of God, and in the name of our community, we ask these people to stop the violence now. There has to be a better way of resolving these issues. In the name of God – stop before somebody gets killed.
The following was included in the ‘Prayer of the Faithful’ which was read out at all Masses this weekend in the parish:
“We pray for our own community. We ask the Lord to send his spirit of peace into the hearts of those of us who feel worried and afraid. And we pray for those members of our community, who may be able to do something to bring an end to this situation. We pray that God’s Spirit of Courage may inspire them to do what, deep down, they know must be done. Lord, hear us.”