'Judges and lawyers have an essential role in equality'- Archbishop of Dublin
Judges and lawyers, along with politicians, have an "essential" role to play in ensuring social equality, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has said.
"A political or judicial system which betrays or undervalues the equality and the dignity of all betrays its calling and betrays humanity," Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said.
He was delivering the homily at the annual mass at St Michan's Catholic church in Dublin to mark the opening of the new legal year.
The Archbishop's address was to a congregation including the Attorney General, senior judges and lawyers, visiting judges from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and France, and the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown.
His homily focused on the importance of communication and warned, when communication breaks down within the human community, selfish interests begin to dominate.
"Growth with equity will never be fostered when the few are favoured and others are left on the margins and excluded. We need a new language of communication within society where every individual can attain voice and ownership in dignity in which all have a sense of being treated and respected in the depth of their personal identity."
When the common good and common purpose do not prevail, a "damaging cancer"can appear leading to communication and participation being replaced by polarisation and marginalisation.
At the St Michan's Church of Ireland service to mark the new law year, Revd Dr Donal Watts, clerk emeritus of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, said Christians need to "stand firm" on they believe.
Christians, he said, need to recognise that the values of their faith "have the potential to be opposed in society today – a society where too often self is at the centre and greed a powerful motivating force."
Christians should not be looking for any privileged position and should indeed shy away from it.
"Rather we should be out in the market-place of public opinion arguing strongly, but graciously, for Christian values and sense of self worth. We should be setting an agenda, not simply reacting to one."