Homily of Archbishop Martin at Mass on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings

17 May 2014

· Homily Notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin

· Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, 17th May 2014 12:45pm

“We gather on the anniversary of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings which took place forty years ago. We gather to pray, to mourn, and to remember.

Many of you present here today will have clear memories of the events of that day. They will be memories of shock and horror, of grief and loss. Some of you will have gone through the horrendous anguish of seeing the shattered bodies of the victims, perhaps even the body of a loved one. These are traumas that do not go away even after forty years. They are not abstract memories but will have become indelible marks on your own lives ever since and will remain so in the future.

We remember lives that were shattered and physically torn apart before their hopes could be fulfilled. You remember these brothers and sisters in their goodness and their love and care and in the ideals and hopes that were in their hearts never to be fully realised.

We gather to pray and to remember in prayer those who died. We do so in the awareness, as we heard in the prayer of this Mass, that “just as God was pleased to create them in his own image and adopt them as his own,” he will now give them a share in his kingdom of peace. In their encounter with God they will now have been restored to a human fulfilment beyond our imagination. Our first reading reminds us that: “The souls of the just are in the hands of God”.

The Dublin and Monaghan bombings did immense harm. They did immense harm not just to those who were the individual physical victims. How can we calculate how many lives have been shattered and hearts have been broken by the loss of each victim? How many families, how many spouses and children and friends?

Indeed we can also say that these bombings did great harm to our society and to our nation at a difficult time when the hope of peace was so needed. Hope cannot be constructed on pointless violence, then or today. If there is anything that the horrendous events of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings teach us, it is that hope and future will never be the fruit of senseless violence. And yet there are still those in our society who fail to grasp that.

These bombings tore up what is most sacred, the human bodies of our brothers and sisters. How can we mend that harm? The damage and destruction done by the bombings can never be undone, but we can learn vigorously to reject whatever tears up human dignity and loving human interaction. We can commit ourselves – as our lasting tribute to our loved ones who died – to be in the forefront of those who build up a culture which rejects violence in its many forms; in families, on our streets, against women, against children, and that pointless violence of revenge which only opens another circle of violence.

In these forty years we have made great progress on the path towards reconciliation and healing among the people of Ireland, North and South. We thank God for that progress. Today we recognise that there is only one road towards peace and that is through reconciliation and coming together in mutual respect and understanding.

But we also know that reconciliation will only be lasting when it is based on truth. There is a growing awareness in our modern societies of the importance of accessibility of the truth. Jesus stressed that the truth will make us free but we often overlook the fact that this applies to pleasant truths and unpleasant truths alike. Democracy needs accountability. Accountability requires a culture where the truth can be discovered. Investigative journalists and whistle blowers may be a thorn in the side of some: but democracy owes them a debt.

In a modern human rights culture, which fights against impunity and seeks reconciliation in truth, it is anachronistic that there are still those who place obstacles to the revelation of the truth of what happened in these bombings forty ago.

These bombs were acts of senseless violence. Senselessness does not mean however that these actions were not planned and were not the fruits of detailed premeditation.

We seek to know the truth not out of a sense of revenge. We seek the truth as followers of Jesus Christ, who is, as our Gospel reading reminded us “the way, the truth and the life”. The truth is a fundamental dimension of the way to the fullness of life. We are called as individuals and as a society to foster a way of life that it based on what is truthful in the deepest sense.

The call of Jesus is not a call for others to be truthful, but that we ourselves are called to learn what living truthfully means in terms of the integrity of our lives and in terms of the truth of love and concern and care and respect for each other which are the opposites of violence.

We gather to remember, to mourn and to pray. Our hope is that we will go way renewed ourselves in our commitment to those values which violence can never attain and to be witnesses to how truth and love alone bring fullness and meaning to life.”


· Further Information Annette O Donnell, Director of Communications