25th May 2016
Archbishop Richard provided the inaugural lecture for what is envisaged as an annual series organised jointly by the Armagh Public Library and the Centre for Cross Border Studies.
In his address, the Archbishop examined what should be our response to the Refugee crisis and commented that all major religious value systems embrace humanity, caring and respect, and the tradition of granting protection to those in danger. Furthermore he said that the principles of modern refugee law have their oldest roots in these ancient texts and traditions.
These were not restricted to Christianity or Judaism, but explicitly drew foundations also from Islam (in the Koran), and from Hinduism and Buddhism.
Archbishop Richard referenced the Christian Scriptures and particularily Matthew chapter 25 and to those words of God to those who are accepted by him: verses 35 and 36:
“for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
In conclusion Archbishop Richard commented:
the greatest challenge is to our generosity, not simply a financial generosity (which may in fact not be of a particularly major nature), but a generosity of spirit, that for which we can neither legislate nor regulate, but which we can nurture and foster, in ourselves as in others.
But I leave the last word with Primo Levi, the Italian novelist and holocaust survivor who wrote so eloquently of his own harrowing experiences during the Second World War– “If we can relieve torment and do not, we become tormentors ourselves.”
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