Pope leads appeals for peace in Northern Ireland

 The Pope has appealed for both sides of the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland to "show goodwill" - while over the weekend, church leaders of all denominations in the province called for dialogue and an end to violence. Speaking on Friday as he welcomed the new Irish Ambassador, Bernard Davenport, to the Holy See, the Pope said he was praying for "all the people of Ireland". He said: "A society lacks solid foundations when it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, or justice and peace, but then acts to the contrary by allowing or employing practices which devalue and violate human life." Recalling his visit to the province in 1979, when he had asked that those involved in violence renounce the use of arms and embrace dialogue and peace, he said: "we must hope that a new spirit of enlightened commitment to the common good will take hold at every level." In Belfast, church leaders of denominations appealed for an end to the Holy Cross school protests, and offered to mediate between the two sides. Speaking on the BBC's Breakfast with Frost programme yesterday, the Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor Patrick Walsh, said: "I hope the Glenbryn residents will say to themselves: 'We have these grievances, but the Secretary of State has now put a process into place...We are going to use that process. We have no grievance against the children and their parents accompanying them to school.' "And I would hope and pray that on Monday morning the parents and children - there is no need for any supporters - will be free to walk to their school." Church of Ireland Primate Robin Eames echoed these comments, and added: "The view of the vast majority of the Protestant people is that we are utterly revolted by the scenes at the school. There is a vast wave of revulsion in this community." Speaking on BBC Local Radio yesterday, the Methodist President, Reverend Harold Good said: "Personally I would like to see them call off the protests and engage in proper politics instead of street politics, because I believe that is what will move this on."

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