The Dignitatis Humanae Institute is thrilled and delighted to support the efforts of Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister, and John Kennedy, Fellow of the Institute, in their promotion of the unique spirit of the Irish People.
John Kennedy told Imago Dei:
"I'm delighted that the Dignitatis Humanae Institute is supporting the Gathering, and I'm honoured, as a Fellow, to support all the work it is doing to promote human dignity around the world. Over many centuries, the Irish suffered unimaginably under systematic oppression, famine and starvation, civil war - and also for their Catholic Faith. However the Irish are not defined by this story, but by one of a forward-looking optimism. The fact that many people left, with materially very little, and have been integrated into other nations, becoming famous entrepreneurs, politicians, artists, sporting heroes etc., is really a testament to the indomitability of the human spirit - a testament to human dignity in action. We are celebrating a great success story of hard work, talent, and well - the luck of the Irish!"
I was deeply honoured that the Irish Prime Minister agreed to deliver the John Kennedy Lecture, which I hosted in September in Castlebar, County Mayo. I want to recall one thing he said, which has stayed with me: "Ireland is blessed by the generosity of heart and mind and spirit in so many who have left our shores...Irish emigrants have made their way across the world, enhancing Ireland's reputation by their diligence and commitment, their industry and imagination. They have contributed in so many ways to their adopted countries."
John Kennedy continued: "The idea behind the Gathering is I suppose essentially what the Dignitatis Humanae Institute is all about: this opportunity to bring together everyone who claims Irish antecedents (some 70 million people) from around the world is an occasion to remember that it is not only a civic passport, or common language, or ethnicity, that holds people together as one in identity; but also religion - re-ligare (Lat. to rebind, to reconnect). Around the world today, "Irishness" and "Catholicism" are closely interwoven, and form an unforced whole. Of course, this deep connection has been under significant strain recently, but we can also recall the immeasurable positive contribution that the Catholic faith has made to Irish society over centuries (not forgetting, of course, the huge contribution made by those with other faiths and those with none)."
Thus, it is with this great contribution in mind that the Dignitatis Humanae Institute once more congratulates John Kennedy, a committed Catholic, in his promotion of the Gathering, and hopes that its huge success can take place against the backdrop of Pope Benedict's great legacy to the Church and the modern world, the New Evangelisation.
Editor, Imago Dei