The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops told all their congregations Sunday that it is a “sin” to lend support of any kind to the outlawed Irish Republican Army, which one week earlier killed 11 Protestants with a bomb in Northern Ireland.
All across the independent Irish Republic and British-run Northern Ireland, churchgoers remembered the 11 civilians who died in the bomb blast at Enniskillen, a predominately Protestant border town.
Radio, television and bus services throughout the republic halted for one minute of silence in the evening in memory of victims of the bomb, which exploded during a Remembrance Sunday service for war dead. Sixty-three people were injured.
In three parish churches in the Catholic ghettos of Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital, groups of parishioners stalked out as priests read the bishops’ message from the pulpit.
But most congregations throughout the overwhelmingly Catholic republic and the Protestant-dominated northern province listened respectfully to the Catholic church’s strongest moral condemnation yet of the IRA.
In Dublin, Prime Minister Charles Haughey, a Catholic, was among 3,000 people who packed a memorial service Sunday at the Protestant Church of Ireland’s cathedral, St. Patrick’s.
Hundreds more stood in drizzle outside listening to Church of Ireland Bishop Brian Hammon say the bombing could mark the time when “Ireland, north and south, made a conscious decision to reject utterly the bomb and bullet.”