campaign for peace woo By a Staff Reporter
All the major churches of Ireland yesterday launched a joint campaign for peace, beginning with newspaper advertisements and special prayers in all churches North and South of the border.
In the first campaign of its kind, a message signed by Cardinal Conway, Primate of All Ireland; Dr George Simms, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh; the Rev Temple Lundie, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland; and the Rev Desmond Morris, President of the Irish Methodist Church, said: "We aim to begin something this Christmas season which may yet last when Christmas has gone. "As we approach this Christmas season, when we celebrate again the coming of the Prince of Peace, we believe another special effort should he made in all our Churches and by all our people to seek a cessation of the violence in our land, in the hope that this may be the first step on the way to better days." The Church leaders ask that all Irishmen should begin to "think, pray and talk peace" to show their concern over the continuing violence in Northern Ireland.
Church spokesmen said: "The campaign is aimed at the entire population, regardless of political or religious affiliation. The message is intended to reach every home in the land, North and South, every gunman and bomber and all who advocate or indulge in violence."
They added: "To those who may say that the men of violence and the ordinary man-in-thestreet will pay no heed to the Churches, it can be said that whatever may befall, the Church will always be there and that it is the Church's duty to speak out now loud and clear and in unison. ' The spokesmen said: "The four leaders feel that the psychological moment for them to take this initiative is now, when the appalling realities of the situation are more widely recognised than ever before by people in all walks of life, not only throughout Ireland but in Britain.
"They feel that there is such a sickening revulsion everywhere against violence, such a sense of unutterable shame on Ireland's name and such a grim foreboding of a drift into something much worse still, that their campaign is essential and urgently compelling."
The campaign organisers admit the ending of violence "may only be the first step to peace." The Church leaders do not see themselves as in any way replacing the political representatives, though hopefully contributing to any new efforts for peace.
Saturation of the media with the call for peace began yesterday with television coverage and advertisements in the main national and provincial newspaper. One of the specific measures the campaign hopes to initiate is a daily prayer for peace, said by all at some specific time of the day, such as at noon.
The campaign follows the debate in Westminster preceding the introduction of antiterrorist measures, in which the Irish Catholic Church was criticised by several MPs for not taking a strong enough line against terrorists.