Every year at the end of the Christmas season and the crib and trees and seasonal flowers have been removed the Cathedral looks solemn and bare for a while until we adjust back into the normal liturgical time of the year.
This year it won’t be long until we begin the season of Lent on 14th February with the reception of ashes on that day.
This Sunday we welcome Archbishop Malcolm who will preside at the Solemn Mass on this weekend which is designated as a time of Prayer for Peace. There will be information about the work and activities of Pax Christi at some of the Masses this weekend. Also, the National Director of Pax Christi, Jennifer Rowland, will be giving a talk on their work and some of the situations of conflict in the world at present, from 1pm in the Gibberd Room following the Solemn Mass.
Archbishop Malcolm writes in his Message for Peace Sunday 2024, ‘When I wrote to promote Peace Sunday 2023, I said that 2022 had been a year of war and rumours of war. As we approach the end of 2023, the last twelve months have been no different. The war between Russia and Ukraine continues, as do conflicts around the globe. As I write this, the conflict in Palestine and Israel has erupted once more into terrible violence and suffering with thousands dying, injured and displaced.
Advocating for a just peace in Palestine and Israel is a part of the ongoing work of Pax Christi, alongside building a culture of nonviolence, campaigning against war, nuclear weapons and the arms trade. Supporting its members and the church, Pax Christi produces resources on peace and nonviolence issues, organises events and vigils, represents the Catholic church in the peace movement and works with young people in both schools and churches.
The theme for Peace Sunday is Pope Francis’ theme for the World Day of Peace – ‘Artificial Intelligence and Peace’.
I am sure you will agree that it is a highly relevant theme as Governments across the world, including our own, wrestle with the ethics and consequences of significant and potentially dangerous developments in technology.
In his message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis warned that research on emerging technologies and the weaponisation of artificial intelligence is a cause for ‘grave ethical concern’ and that:
‘The ability to conduct military operations through remote control systems has lessened the perception of the devastation caused by those weapons systems and the burden of responsibility for their use, resulting in an even more cold and detached approach to the immense tragedy of war.’