Autumn 2021


THE conflicting socio-political perceptions that are part of this island's make-up have been emphasised this major centenary year to the extent that we can't even agree on how to name it - witness the embarrassment of President Higgins declining to attend the Armagh service "marking the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland”. Did this definition imply "politicisation"? It remains a matter of opinion, but given the debacle caused by Brexit and the protocol, socio-political discord lies very close to the surface.

The major articles in this issue, then, reflect our increased concerns in this area as we face into the next hundred years. We begin with thoughts from Corrymeela, that beacon of reconciliation and hope founded in 1965. Its current leader Alex WImberly shares his thoughts about the way forward. A more formal community dedicated to peace-building, the Irish School of Ecumenics, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Former ISE director and current TCD Professor of Ecumenics, Linda Hogan, outlines the impressive international and local track record of the School since its foundation. 

Looking at the Decade of Centenaries as a whole, historian and  former TD Martin Mansergh leads us through the full complement of events, starting with the 3rd Home Rule Bill of 2012 and looking forward to the foundation of the state next year. The aim of our memorialising?  “To broaden sympathies without having to abandon loyalties. . . ensuring, as far as possible, that commemoration does not re-ignite old tensions.”

The most challenging article of this issue focuses on the struggle to achieve education for Irish children that is communally inclusive, conditioning them to welcome diversity of background in their peers. Despite strong demand from parents north and south over the past 50 years, our achievement in this area remains pitiable, with less than 7% of school children on the island attending such schools. The leaders of the movement north and south set out the history, the principles and the challenges, in pursuit of a harmonious future.

Finally, in response to recent anxiety in the C of E about a decline of the parish system in favour of church plants, Canon Paul Hoey outlines church-planting practice in the province of Armagh, while Peter Pavlovic of CEC considers the mindset of European Union bureaucracy as the Conference on the Future of Europe meets. We conclude with Liturgica and Book Reviews as usual.


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