Page 4, 15th March 1996

15th March 1996
Page 4
Page 4, 15th March 1996 — The only answer to violence is love
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The only answer to violence is love

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MY ATTENTION WAS drawn to the question beneath the IRA funeral picture on p4 (Catholic Herald, 23 February) "What role should the Church be playing in Northern Ireland?"

Is it not a fact that at the root of all violence is frustration and anger? Such feelings have been suffered, it would seem, by every human being who ever lived, including Our Lord and the saints of both sexes. I have just watched the James Bulger family's reactions to the suggestion that the child murderers be released at some future date. Also present were the mother of the child Mary Bell murdered and the family of one of Myra Hindley's victims. It was sad to witness their hatred, but in many ways understandable.

So how then do we control the violence which smoulders within our breasts? It is not, I believe, anything we should attempt to do for any other adults, but it is implicit upon us to do it for ourselves and it is our parental or guardianship responsibility to help children and young people to divert their tendencies away from frustration and anger towards more positive responses.

To do this for very young children is often easier than is imagined. A remarkable number of young parents nowadays seem incapable of doing it, but past generations appear to have coped reasonably well. Why, I wonder?

Attention deficiency disfunction was dealt with largely by appreciating that it is a natural condition of small creatures, including human babies, and that their cooperation is best achieved by giving them all the loving attention they need.

Once this hurdle has been mastered and the children's emotional needs are met both at home and at school consistently, then they will begin to control their own feelings in the same way as they begin to dress themselves, dean themselves and generally respect and discipline themselves.

If they are fortunate to have all the encouragement they need to do that, then it is unlikely that they will grow up to be violent. The only way to stop our violence is to love ourselves and love our neighbours as ourselves. This is the role the Church should be playing in Northern Ireland and, indeed, throughout the world. They should be playing mediators for peace; not supporters of competition and war at whatever level. Competition makes for war; cooperation makes for peace.

Forgiveness and mercy is the main message Our Lord gave us. Let us practise it consistently.

Kenneth Hartford Bewdley, Wires




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