We should pray for ‘spiritual-but-not-religious’ Higgins
The Service of Reflection and Hope being held in the Church of Ireland cathedral in Armagh on October 21, in my estimation, is not a political statement on the division of our country.
Rather it is a joint initiative by all the major church leaders in an attempt at influencing all the people of Ireland – regardless of their beliefs – to unite in common prayer, seeking God’s assistance in healing and reconciling all the hurtful differences of the past, and to jointly embrace a peaceful and happy co-existence on this island which we all share.
Queen Elizabeth, head of the Church of England, is likely to attend this prayer service.
Yet the President of All Ireland has declined to accept an invitation to attend.
His decision must be respected.
I feel sure that all the people of Ireland understand our president may feel uncomfortable being involved in a prayer service in the company of so many religious dignitaries.
After all, he has previously described himself as “spiritual” rather than “religious”. When he was inaugurated as President of All Ireland he took a religious oath containing references to “Almighty God”, as required under the Irish Constitution, yet he is the first Irish President to call for the oath to be made more secular.
During his Christmas address to an all-Ireland audience, he avoids mention of the Christian message of Christmas.
May all the people of Ireland, in particular those attending the prayer service, keep our President in their prayers.
Patrick Murray, Dublin 14
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