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Dublin archbishop responds to stabbing of 3 children that sparked violent riots

November 24, 2023 Catholic News Agency 6
Flames rise from the car and a bus, set alight at the junction of Bachelors Walk and the O’Connell Bridge, in Dublin on Nov. 23, 2023, as people took to the streets following the stabbings earlier in the day. / Credit: Peter Murphy/AFP via Getty Images

Rome Newsroom, Nov 24, 2023 / 06:40 am (CNA).

The archbishop of Dublin responded with shock to the “horrific attack” in which three children were stabbed on Thursday afternoon, sparking a night of violent riots in the Irish capital.

Archbishop Dermot Farrell asked people to join him in praying for the injured, which includes a 5-year-old girl who sustained serious injuries, two other school children, and two adults.

“It was with utter disbelief that I heard the news of the horrific attack on Parnell Square here in Dublin. An attack like this outside a school, involving innocent victims including children, is particularly distressing,” Farrell wrote in a statement posted to social media on Nov. 23.

“I invite the people of Dublin to join me in praying especially for the recovery of those who have been injured. Grant them strength to endure this awful attack, and grant each of us the grace to live our lives in holiness, free from all violence.”

The Catholic archbishop’s call for non-violence on Thursday night came as riots erupted across Dublin’s city center.

A double decker bus was set on fire, stores looted, windows smashed, and cars torched as about 100 rioters took to the streets, some armed with metal bars, according to the Associated Press.

Dublin’s Police Commissioner Drew Harris said that he believes that the riots were “driven by far-right ideology.”

Irish police arrested 34 people in Dublin who took part in the riots and detained a man in his late 40s whom they identified as a “person of interest” in the investigation into the knife attack without releasing any other details about his identity other than that he sustained serious injuries. The police said that they were not looking for any other suspect and had not ruled out any motive for the attack, including terrorism.

The knife attack took place in front of the Gaelscoil Coláiste Mhuire primary school in Parnell Square as students were coming out of school.

On Friday morning, Irish police said that a 5-year-old girl remains in “critical condition” in the Temple Street children’s hospital and a woman in her 30s, believed to be a school employee, who intervened to try to stop the attack, remains in “serious condition.”

Another injured 6-year-old girl is being treated for less serious injuries, while a 5-year-old boy has been discharged from the hospital.


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Unrest in France: Religious leaders call for dialogue and calm

July 3, 2023 Catholic News Agency 1
People look at burning tyres blocking a street in Bordeaux in south-western France on June 29, 2023, during riots and incidents nationwide after the killing of a 17-year-old boy by a police officer’s gunshot following a refusal to comply in a western suburb of Paris. / Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images

CNA Newsroom, Jul 3, 2023 / 15:13 pm (CNA).

France’s bishops joined other religious leaders over the weekend in responding to the ongoing unrest in their country with a call for peace, dialogue, and a return to calm.

Catholic Church officials also issued a prayer for peace on July 1.

The riots, sparked by the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old of North African origin named Nahel M. during a traffic stop in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, have led to days of looting, attacks on public buildings, and destructive mob violence in several cities.

Some 45,000 officers were deployed across the country over the past three nights, according to the BBC. More than 150 people were arrested Sunday night, down from more than 700 the night before. The full extent of the destruction and the number of injured is still unknown. 

In a joint statement, religious leaders in France expressed their sorrow over the death and violence. At the same time, they called for a return to peace. “We affirm with one voice that violence is never the right way,” the statement said, decrying attacks on schools, businesses, city halls, and transportation, noting that the residents, families, and children of these neighborhoods are the first to suffer.

The text was signed by Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, president of the French Bishops’ Conference.

Other signatories include leaders of the Conference of Religious Leaders of France: Chems-Eddine Hafiz, rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris; Grand Rabbi Haïm Korsia, chief rabbi of France; Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Islamic Council; Bishop Demetrios Ploumios, president of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of France; Pastor Christian Krieger, president of the Protestant Federation of France; and Antony Boussemart, president of the Buddhist Union of France.

In the face of attacks on police and authorities, the signatories called for the strengthening of “necessary trust” between sectors of the population and law enforcement agencies. They encouraged politicians to work together responsibly to restore justice and peace.

“Today more than ever, may all believers be servants of peace and the common good. We are all available to contribute to this,” the statement concluded.

The French bishops have also proposed a prayer for the restoration of peace in the country, which was made available to parishes and Catholic communities in France.

The prayer reads in full in English translation:

We ask you, Lord, for the return of tranquility and peace to our country.

We entrust Nahuel to you and pray for his loved ones. May the spirit of light and peace accompany them.

We entrust to you the wounded of these nights of violence, including those whose homes and workplaces have been destroyed or damaged.

We pray, Lord, for those who work in law enforcement and public services, who are under great pressure and sometimes attacked.

Inspire us to promote dialogue and peace with believers of other Christian denominations and other religions, and with all our fellow citizens.

We ask you once again that our society, even beyond the current explosions, may clearly recognize the sources of violence and find ways to overcome them.