From a Special Correspondent
The religious roots of some of the problems dividing Ireland were vividly raised at the firstever meeting of all the major Irish Churches in Dundalk (near the border between the North and South of Ireland on Wednesday. In this way did the focus shift, within a week, from British to Irish Ecumenism.
Dr. Eric Gallagher of the Belfast Central Methodist Mission said Protestants felt second-class citizens in the Republic because divorce was impossible. They were also concerned about "the steady erosion of Protestant presence and witness" in the Republic through Catholic requirements on mixed marriages.
"What Roman Catholics and Protestant Churches in Ireland should be concerned about is not whether Ireland is ruled by one or two governments . the only concern in this context is or should be whether the people of Ireland — in one state or two — have the basic attributes of life," he said.
These included rights to live, work and enjoy proper housing. "My civil rights and yours are our obligation and our right to achieve our full humanity."
Speaking about violence he said no greater issue faced Irish Christianity. "Emotional and extravagant adulation of
gunmen has allowed misguided men who successfully resorted to violence to be regarded as heroes and others who died or were imprisoned to be venerated as martyrs."
Dr. Gallagher added: "Percentage-wise probably more Irishmen have died at the hands of their fellowwas under consideration since countrymen than any other early 1972 "when there were nationals in Western Europe. mutual approaches between the Countless orphaned children Catholic bishops on the one and young widows whose hand and the Irish Council of sorrow can never be assuaged, Churches on the other."
cry out for an end to it. God Cardinal Conway, Primate of forgive us if we don't listen to All Ireland and Archbishop G.
their cries," 0. Simms of the Church of He welcomed the fruits of the Ireland, chairman of the Irish Second Vatican Council, esCouncil of Churches, were copecially the Decrees on the chairmen of the one-day Church and Ecumenism and the meeting. More than 80 declaration of Religious Liberdelegates heard and discussed ty. Mixed marriages was among papers on four main topics: the problems that remained. Church, Sc ripture an d "Indeed, the biggest tragedy is Authority; Community that so often the partners finish problems; Baptism. Euchari=s up with no Church connection and Marriaq; Christianity and
Dr. Gallagher denied The agreement of all segregated education was at the Churches to take part was not asked if it was not in some way Church and Salvation Army did mixed up in them. "It would ibe not participate and the naive to claim that our gPresbyterians agreed to do so norance and fear of each other only to discuss Church and have no connection with the community' matters and not separation in early years." Church unity. Segregated education would continue with segregated Bishop Cabal Daly of Ardagh housing, but "if we are to and Clonmacnois, speaking on achieve our full humanity in this Christianity and Secularism, land, we must come to terms said "One of the greatest with our full identity — both dangers for the future of Catholic and Protestant" he Christianity in Ireland is posed said. by the growing callousness
He suggested there should be about .human life, the growing areas of experiment "where in insensitivity to the horror of God's name and for the sake of assassination, murder and our children, we can do things violent death."
together." He described sectarian
Dr. Gallagher said the ideology as a "perverted submarriage bond meant as much stnute for Christianity." If this is to a Protestant as a Catholic, a source of violence "a very but the Republic's law grave and direct responsibility prevented escape from a lies on Churchmen to commit marriage bond "which is a cause themselves to the combating of of far greater distress and sufferthe religious ignorance which ing than its dissolution could this involves, and to exposing ever be." He said all should sectarianism for the u n consider whether as Christians Christian thing which it is." The we had a right "to decide how ' id eolo gy of fanatical others live in an increasingly nationalism" is also a religious pluralist society." surrogate to be fearlessly conFr. Tom Stack of the Catholic demned by Churchmen, he said.
Communications Institute of The Rev. Ian Paisley of the Ireland, said the meeting had Free Presbyterian Church of been preceded by ten years of Ulster, threatened to hold a fruitful inter-church meetings demonstration against the on a smaller scale. The meeting meeting while it was in session.