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Limerick Diocese Addressed in Pastoral Letter by Bishop O'Dwyer | Limerick Gazette Archives

Limerick Diocese Addressed in Pastoral Letter by Bishop O’Dwyer

In his recent Pastoral Letter, the Most Reverend Dr O’Dwyer, Bishop of Limerick, delves into the profound implications of the ongoing war, shedding light on its horrors, responsibilities, and far-reaching consequences. The letter, a testament to the Bishop’s deep concern for his flock and the broader European landscape, offers a sobering reflection on the state of affairs.

The Bishop begins by contemplating the devastating impact of the war, suggesting that even if it were to end abruptly, its repercussions would reverberate throughout Europe for generations to come. He warns of a scenario where poverty, although a significant consequence, may pale in comparison to the paralysis of industry, constrained commerce, and unprecedented unemployment that could follow in its wake.

Drawing attention to the potential societal upheaval, Bishop O’Dwyer raises questions about how the workforce, once powerful, well-paid, and organised, will adapt to the new reality. He acknowledges the sporadic murmurs of socialism that have surfaced but hints at a more significant storm brewing—a storm that could engulf European society once the war concludes.

While some optimistically anticipate Germany’s defeat, the Bishop urges caution, citing the nation’s remarkable resourcefulness and resilience. He cautions against complacency, noting that victory is far from certain and that the true costs of war extend beyond territorial gains or ideological triumphs.

Turning his gaze to the plight of smaller nations caught in the crossfire, Bishop O’Dwyer questions their role in the conflict, portraying them as mere pawns manipulated by larger powers for their own ends. He challenges the notion that noble ideals drive the war, asserting that material gain and power lie at its core.

In a poignant reflection, the Bishop laments the absence of righteousness, truth, and purity in a war driven by materialism and irreligion. He underscores the reluctance of ordinary people to embrace conflict, attributing the march to war to the machinations of governing elites.

Reflecting on the fateful events of July 1914, Bishop O’Dwyer wonders whether nations would have willingly embarked on war had they foreseen its true cost. He suggests that continued conflict could lead to a reckoning—a moment of collective regret for succumbing to the allure of war rather than pursuing the path of peace.

In his concluding remarks, Bishop O’Dwyer calls upon his audience to heed the call for peace—a call echoed by principles of religion, humanity, and the collective interests of nations. His pastoral letter serves as a poignant reminder of the human toll of war and the imperative of pursuing a path of reconciliation and peace.

Freeman’s Journal – Monday 06 March 1916