Archbishop warns against 'profits of war'
Published 04/08/2014 | 02:30
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has warned against the "commercialisation of war" as he drew parallels between World War I and current conflicts in the Middle East.
He pointed out that war still haunted the world despite the conflict 100 years ago being dubbed the "war to end wars".
"War has not gone away. Military intervention does not inevitably lead to peace. Today, we are witnessing a spiral of violence all over the Middle East and further afield," he said at the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin yesterday.
Dr Martin was speaking before a congregation of hundreds who had gathered to mark the outbreak of World War I.
"The past month of July will be remembered as one of the most striking months of blood in recent years," he said.
"We see the carnage caused by rockets, especially among civilians. But we also have to remember that each of these rockets, on whatever side and in whichever conflict, was designed and built.
"It was sold for a profit and bought; was supplied to respond often to interests of people far away from where the carnage occurs. The industrialisation and commercialisation of war continues."
The comments came in the midst of ongoing controversy over the US government's decision to continue supplying arms to Israel as the war in Gaza continues.
The sombre service started with a parade by former soldiers carrying the standards of a number of regiments which fought in World War I, including the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and the Royal Air Force.
In his homily, Dr Martin paid tribute to the thousands of young Irish men who fought and "those who fell in the pursuit of an ideal".
He told the congregation that, like many families, he had relatives who fought in the British army during the war, while other relatives were involved in the nationalist struggle at home.
"I remember one uncle, a bright and very sensitive man, who for various reasons had gone away from home a mere teenager and joined the army in London.
"He served in World War I and lost the sight in one eye. He rarely, if ever, spoke about the war. The horror he witnessed was obviously something which deeply affected him as a person for the rest of his life," he said.
Among the hundreds who attended the service - believed to be the first Catholic commemoration for Ireland's World War I dead in more than 30 years - was Foreign Affairs Minister, Charlie Flanagan.
Speaking following the service, Mr Flanagan said the conflict in Gaza was "intolerable" and should stop immediately.