“New agenda” for British Catholics

The most senior bishop in England and Wales, Archbishop Nichols of Westminster, believes that the papal visit has set British Catholics a new agenda. The agenda has four items as he sees it – (1) that the voice of faith needs to be heard in society more than ever, and that we must speak from a faith viewpoint persuasively rather than polemically; (2) that our witness should be one of holiness that comes from a relationship with the living Christ; (3) that Catholics must focus on the eternal sacrifice of Christ (though I am not quite exactly how he means this – renewed commitment to the Mass in our lives? This would make sense in light of the new, or rather, corrected, Missal coming to our churches next year); and (4) that Catholics should work more harmoniously with the state for the common good. You can read the article here.

The only reservation might be for the archbishop’s last point, though I am not working from the full text on which the press bulletin is based, which may have more meat to it. Yes we should work for the common good, but the Holy Father also made it clear that Catholic agencies and institutions should be able to fulfil their mission in accord with their faith and not be tied to a secularist, atheist agenda. We need only think of all the Catholic adoption agencies that have closed in the last few years after the government refused to grant them exemption from equality legislation, effectively forcing them to adopt children to homosexual couples. Indeed we must work with the government for the common good, but always remembering that the government has no monopoly on defining the common good, driven very often as it is by political expediency and pragmatism.

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