As a result of the Irish Republic joining the European Economic Community the country's standard of living, already high, was expected to rise still higher, said a joint pastoral letter by the Irish bishops.
"Instead of merely earning six times as much as the average worker in the Third World, we may earn perhaps twelve or fifteen times as much." the letter continued. "There are two ways in which we can respond to this new prosperity.
"One way is to seize on it eagerly as something which is ours by right and to look forward to a life of growing luxury and leisure. The other way is to look on it as a gift from God to which we have no more right in justice than our brothers in Asia or Africa or South America.
"For Christians, this second way is the only way. As members of the world's most powerful trading group, we will have an opportunity of helping the needy nations in a manner and on a scale never within our power before. It is our duty to see that our public representatives in fluence this great body in the right direction . . .
"Present increases in food production are scarcely able to keep pace with increases in pop ulation, and millions of people die of hunger every year It is not a time for sell-congratulation. It is a time for action."
For 01,s reason, the Bishops of Ireland had set up a fund called Trocuirc the Irish word for "mercy" — to provide an official channel through which Irish Catholics, like Catholics in other developed countries, could
express their commitment to the needs of the Third World.
"Far from wishing to act in isolation," the letter continued, Trocaire will seek to work in close harmony with other Churches and with those organisations which are working
for the development of peoples."
The letter was signed on behalf of the Hierarchy of Ireland by Cardinal Conway, Archbishop of Armagh; Archbishop Dermot Ryan of Dublin; Archbishop Joseph Cunnane of Tuarn, and Archbishop Thomas Morris of Cashel.