Global vision of ‘Beloved Community’ is inspirational model for people of Ireland

Posted By: December 16, 2019


Fr. Sean McManus. President Irish National Caucus, Washington DC.

Letters to the Editor. Irish News. Belfast. Monday, December 16, 2019.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” (John F Kennedy)

For better or worse, the island of Ireland is in a state of flux. To quote Georg C. Lichtenberg, this Fermanagh man [me] says “I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.” And James Baldwin hammers the point home: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

For many years I have been urging Irish-Americans to think of Northern Ireland (and, of course, the whole of Ireland) as the beloved community. I think it is a beautiful, inspirational model for all people in Ireland, Protestant, Catholic and Dissenters – and, indeed, for people of no faith.

The term, ‘The Beloved Community’ was first devised at the beginning of the 20th century by the important American philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce (1855-1916). However, it was Blessed Martin Luther King jnr who made the term famous, investing it with a deeper and wider meaning.

‘The Beloved Community’: the very phrase evokes thoughts and feelings of affection, respect, equality, and solidarity.

It is difficult to hurt, harm, or be unfair to anyone or any group we see as being part of The Beloved Community.

The King Center, Atlanta ( explains: “Dr King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger, and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.”

In his book, Stride Toward Freedom, Dr King outlined his six principles of non violence. Principle # 2 states: “Non violence seeks to win friendship and understanding. The end result of non violence is redemption and reconciliation. The purpose of non violence is the creation of the Beloved Community.”

And Principle #6 states: “Non violence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Non violence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Non violence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons.”

In the spirit of the Beloved Community – and totally consistent with the Good Friday Agreement – the Irish National Caucus is sponsoring an online Petition for a new, shared, Ireland in the unity, equality, and solidarity of the Beloved Community, “with liberty and justice for all”.

Dr King teaches that non violence seeks to defeat injustice, not people. Therefore, this petition is on the side of justice; it is for justice, not against any group of people.

Our Petition is not just for Americans but for all people of good faith. We urge all people on the island of Ireland to sign up – It does not cost a penny and only takes a minute of time.