The current refugee crisis is one which requires immediate and decisive attention. The heartbreaking photographs that appeared on newspapers throughout the world has brought the scale of the tragedy into every living room. Human suffering of this scale cannot be allowed to continue. Our faith teaches that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. That realisation alone must stir the hearts and minds of every Christian.
It will not be easy to achieve a lasting solution. Complex political problems, regional instability and economic crises, much less the civil war in Syria for the past few years all point to the difficulties involved. However, the last few days have made us all realise that there are human faces behind every conflict and has also alerted us to the possibility that we can become immune to human suffering.
It is to be welcomed that our government have indicated that Ireland will accept a number of refugees. All countries share that responsibility, including the wealthier oil-producing countries in the Middle East. However, a greater effort will also have to be made to achieving a lasting peace in an extremely troubled region. The world has become deaf for too long to the crises in Syria and Iraq where whole towns have been laid bare, whole communities have been exiled and too many have died because of their Christian faith.
- +John Buckley is Bishop of Cork and Ross