Richard Ingrams The Oldie editor reveals why he became a Catholic
INTERVIEW, PAGE 7
Christopher Howse Why we love bogus St Francis quotations
COMMENT, PAGE 12
September 9 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
September 23 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Bishops unveil five-year plan
Landmark message urges faithful in England and Wales to take part in new missionary effort
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE BISHOPS of England and Wales announced that “proclaiming the universal call to holiness in Christ” will be at the heart of their mission over the next five years as they marked the first anniversary of the papal visit last Sunday.
In a message to the faithful of England and Wales the bishops said that “mission, teaching and witness” would be their three priorities for the next five years and appealed to the laity to be confident, faithful and courageous.
They said: “In respect of our mission, our first priority area of work will be: ‘To proclaim the universal call to holiness in Christ – by promoting a culture of vocation within the corporate identity of the Catholic Church, marked by a confident Catholic faith.’ ”
They reminded Catholics that Pope Benedict XVI visited Britain to support Catholics in defending “immutable moral truths” which, along with the Gospel, are at the root of a “truly human, just and free society”.
Describing the nature of “mission”, the bishops appealed for confidence tempered with gentleness, as shown by Benedict XVI during his visit. They said that by showing the beauty of holiness, this beauty “can lead the heart of every person to an intimate knowledge of Christ”.
Reflecting on their second priority, teaching the Catholic faith, they said that it was vital to show courtesy when teaching others about the faith. This priority they described as “proclaiming Christ and his Gospel as saving truth – by fostering and encouraging a culture of dialogue and solidarity”.
They said: “In terms of witness, our third priority area of work will be: ‘To proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God – by serv
The bishops mark the first anniversary of the papal visit with a Mass of Thanksgiving at Westminster Cathedral ing and witnessing to the whole community, especially by supporting marginalised and vulnerable people.’ ”
The bishops named some of the steps they would take to achieve their priorities. They cited, for instance, the return to abstinence from meat on Fridays.
They also announced the creation of a “national vocations framework”. Through this framework, they said, opportunities for discernment would be encouraged for everyone in all strands of life.
Describing Pope Benedict’s encounters with people of all faiths as “inspirational”, the bishops promised to “build bridges of friendship with other religions, heal past wrongs and to foster trust between individuals and communities”. The bishops also highlighted the importance of technology as an evangelistic tool to “strengthen our communication of the work of the Church”. The bishops concluded: “On this Home Mission Sunday, the anniversary of the Holy Father’s visit to our country, we renew our faith in the power of God to lead us all through the difficult times faced by our nation and by our world.
‘Let us recall four days that stirred hearts’
“Confidently Catholic, we look forward, then, not anxiously or fearfully, but with renewed hope and courage. We invoke God’s blessing on our country and on our world.” Report: Page 3 Editorial Comment: Page 13
MESSAGE EXTRACT BY THE BISHOPS OF ENGLAND AND WALES
ON THIS anniversary of the momentous visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom, we recall the excitement, vision and hope that stirred in the hearts of so many who watched or took part in those historic events. Many experienced the visit as a powerful encounter of God’s love and a welcome response to the “deep thirst there is among the British people for the Good News of Jesus Christ”.
Only a few days after returning to Rome from Britain, the Holy Father spoke movingly of the importance of the visit: “It was an official visit and at the same time a pilgrimage to the heart of the past and of the present of a people rich in culture and faith, as is the British people. It was a historic event that marked a new and important phase in the long and complex relations between those peoples and the Holy See... in the four busy and very beautiful days I spent in this noble land I had the great joy of speaking to the hearts of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom and they spoke to mine, especially with their presence and with the testimony of their faith.
“Indeed I could see how strong the Christian heritage still is and how active it still is in social life at every level. British hearts and British lives are open to the reality of God and there are numerous expressions of religious feeling that my visit has made even more visible.”
Continued on Page 3
Pope aims to bring God ‘back to the horizon’ in visit to Germany
BY JOHN THAVIS
POPE BENEDICT XVI has said that his trip to Germany, which began yesterday, will focus on restoring God’s place in people’s lives as a guide and force for good.
The Pope made the remarks in a recorded message broadcast by German state television. A transcript was made public by the Vatican.
He said he was very much looking forward to the visit and previewed the main events,
including his address to parliament, Mass in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium and a vigil with young people in Freiburg.
“All this is not religious tourism and even less a ‘spectacle’. The meaning is explained in the theme of the visit: ‘Where there is God, there is a future,’ ” he said. “This means that God should return to our horizon, this God who is often completely absent, and yet whom we need so much.”
The Pope said that one crucial event would be his encounter with Protestant leaders at a monastery where Martin Luther studied. But he advised against expecting “sensational” ecumenical developments. “In fact, the true greatness of this event is that we can come together to think, listen to the Word of God and pray together. In this way we will demonstrate a true ecumenism,” he said.
His comments were echoed by Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, who said:
“It’s a misunderstanding to think the future of the Church depends on the question of priestly celibacy, for example. It depends on whether people believe in God.”
About 100 of Germany’s 620 parliamentarians have said they plan to boycott the Pope’s speech to the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament. They claim the event violates the separation of Church and state. Paul Badde: Page 9
BBC is run from the Oratory, jokes peer BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE CATHOLIC peer and chairman of the BBC Trust Lord Patten has joked that the BBC is run from the pews of the Oxford Oratory.
In an interview with the Observer, Lord Patten discussed his relationship with fellow Catholic Mark Thompson, who is BBC director general. “We occasionally go to the same church in Oxford,” he said. “They really think there that the BBC is run from the pews of the Oratory. There is a Chinese phrase that describes a close relationship as being like lips and teeth. I don’t think we’d ever want to be that close, but it’s important that we do get on,” Nick Thomas: Page 12
Frank Skinner talks of Holy Communion joy BY DAVID V BARRETT
COMEDIAN Frank Skinner has said he almost “punched the air” when he received Holy Communion for the first time after returning to the Church.
Speaking in conversation with the Archbishop of Canterbury to an audience of 800 in Canterbury Cathedral last Friday Mr Skinner said: “I went for Communion and I
wanted to punch the air after. I felt more than back home. I felt I was in my right context.”
Dr Rowan Williams said: “Coming back to Church is not about the difference an argument makes, but it is about the sense of welcome, absolution and acceptance.”
At the start of their 90minute conversation the comedian told the archbishop: “It’s a lovely place you’ve got.”
Interview The Catholic model who burst out of Berlusconi’s cake PAGE 8
Competition Win the Tyburn Nuns’ new DVD PAGE 8
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