BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS Cardinal Renato Martino, Jonathan Wright and Felipe Fernández-Armesto on the morality of war
PLUS John Gummer on why the reform of the Act of Settlement doesn’t go far enough
England to welcome the heart of Curé d’Ars
BY MADELEINE TEAHAN
THE HEART of the patron saint of priests, St John Vianney, will be venerated in the Diocese of Shrewsbury next summer.
In 1818 St John Vianney was made the curé of Ars parish in the west of France, where he became famous for his pastoral work. He was canonised in 1925 by Pius XI.
The three intentions of the four-day visit of the relic are to provide an occasion of prayer for the renewal of the ministerial priesthood in the diocese, to inspire new and generous vocations, and to spur the renewal of the missions and life of all parishes in the diocese.
The precise programme will be unveiled closer to the visit but the relic is expected to visit several locations across Shrewsbury diocese to maximise the opportunity for prayer and veneration among lay people and priests.
Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, France, and two priests of his diocese will accompany the relics.
The visit follows a request by Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury, who petitioned Bishop Bagnard in September when he and his clergy visited Ars. Bishop Bagnard later wrote to Bishop Davies to confirm that the heart of St John Vianney could be transported to Shrewsbury.
Bishop Davies spoke of his joy on hearing the news of the relics planned arrival in England. He said: “I am delighted we can welcome this relic of St John Vianney to England. The Scriptures speak of the saints as those ‘witnesses’ who encourage us in our faith. This visible reminder of the heart of a simple and extraordinary pastor will encourage us to look to that love and truth found at the heart of the Catholic priesthood, for St John Vianney said simply: ‘The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.’
“This will be an invitation for everyone to pray for the renewal of the ministerial priesthood in our time, a renewed sense of mission in our parishes and for new and generous vocations for the future.”
Archbishop celebrates Mass for 30 nations
ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster celebrated a Mass for ethnic chaplaincies on Sunday in front of a congregation bedecked in a dazzling array of traditional outfits.
The Mass, concelebrated by several auxiliary bishops, gathered together the 30 or so ethnic chaplaincies across north London and Hertfordshire. Worshippers were kitted out in feathery headdresses and traditional costumes from all over the world. They brought gifts to Archbishop Nichols and carried bouquets of flowers, banners and flags.
The diocese employs chaplains from Albania, China, Nigeria, the Philippines and Brazil, to name just a few.
November 4 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)
Cameron: if you persecute Christians you won’t get aid
BY ED WEST
DAVID CAMERON has signalled a shift in emphasis in Britain’s aid policy by announcing that countries that mistreat Christians and other religious minorities may have their aid withdrawn.
Speaking to the BBC presenter Andrew Marr on Sunday about aid to countries with poor human rights records on homosexuality, the Prime Minister said: “Britain is now one of the premier aid givers in the world. We want to see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights, and that includes how people treat gay and lesbian people.”
He added: “British aid should have more strings attached, in terms of ‘do you persecute people for their faith or their Christianity?’ or ‘do you persecute people for their sexuality?’. We don’t think that’s acceptable.”
Mr Cameron was speaking on BBC One Andrew Marr Show at the end of a Commonwealth leaders summit in Australia where African countries had failed to heed his call for an end to antihomosexuality laws in 41 member nations.
It is the first time the Prime Minister has spoken about the plight of Christians abroad, and follows Ann Widdecombe’s speech last week in which she criticised the lack of support given to Christians, arguing that hedgehogs were given more protection.
At a conference organised by Aid to the Church in Need the former Home Secretary said: “David Cameron’s Government has threatened to cut the overseas aid budget for countries which persecute homosexuals... In the last 10
British aid should have more strings attached in terms of ‘do you persecute people for their faith?’
For the latest news on persecuted
Christians, visit CatholicHerald.co.uk years, how many debates have there been on persecution of Christians, how many Government statements on the subject?”
The issue was raised in the House of Commons by Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
David Cameron called it “an important point” and said “the way we judge our aid decisions is to look at human rights across the piece and that does mean how people are treating Christians and also the appalling behaviour that some African countries treat to people who are gay”.
Neville Kyrke-Smith, Director of Aid to the Church in Need in Britain, said the Prime Minister’s comments were “an important step forward”.
Lord Alton, the crossbench peer, said Miss Widdecombe deserved credit for the Government’s shift. He said Foreign Office Ministers had been “very shocked by the asphyxiation of the ancient churches in the Middle East under the Arab Spring”.
Lord Alton added: “I do not want to see a reduction in aid, but we should be more diligent. If the Government is at last waking up then I will be cheering.”
He added that while Pakistan was the biggest recipient of aid, “virtually none of it gets through to the Christians, who are often the poorest... Pakistan has undoubtedly, by its failure to reform blasphemy laws and protect Christians, and by the way it treats non-Muslim minorities, been found wanting.”
A spokesman for the Department for International Development said the British Government is “at the forefront of work to promote human rights around the world, and regularly criticises governments which violate those rights. This includes working to end religious intolerance.”
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Pope makes unprecedented appeal to agnostics at gathering in Assisi BY CINDY WOODEN
POPE BENEDICT XVI has told 300 religious leaders at Assisi that people who are suspicious of religion cannot be blamed for questioning God’s existence when they see believers use religion to justify violence.
At a historic gathering in the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels the Pope said: “All their struggling and questioning is, in part, an appeal to believers to purify their faith so that God, the true God, becomes accessible.” Marking the 25th anniversary of the first Assisi interfaith gathering for peace, Pope Benedict brought together the religious leaders and, for the first time, several philosophers who describe themselves as Humanists or seekers who do not identify with any single religion.
After a train ride of almost two hours from the Vatican Pope Benedict and his guests arrived in Assisi and were driven to the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels for the morning gathering focused on “testimonies for peace”.
Entering the basilica before the Pope, the delegates wore white, black or crimson robes or business suits. On their heads were skullcaps, turbans, scarves or veils.
The Pope condemned the use of religion to excuse violence and the use of violence to impose religion, as well as the growing violence resulting from “the loss of humanity” that comes from denying the existence of God and objective moral standards.
“As a Christian, I want to say at this point: yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame,” Pope Benedict said.
Christian leaders, like all religious leaders, he said, must work constantly to help their followers purify their faith and be “an instrument of God’s peace in the world, despite the fallibility of humans”.
Continued on Page 5
Hollywood eyes new era of biblical epic
BY ED WEST
BIBLICAL films are set for a comeback with three movies based on the Old Testament now in production.
Catholic director Mel Gibson has said he is making a film about Judas Maccabeus, the leader of a Jewish rebel army in the mid-second century BC who is featured in the First Book of
Maccabees. Paramount Pictures, meanwhile, has announced the start of the production of Noah, most likely starring Christian Bale and directed by Oscar- winner Darren Aronofsky. It is reported to have the same screenwriter as Gladiator, William Nicholson. Warner Bros is also preparing Gods and Kings, an epic film about the life of Moses.
Screenwriter: Newman was a creative genius BY ED WEST
FRANK COTTRELL BOYCE, the screenwriter and novelist who wrote 24 Hour Party People and A Cock and Bull Story, has said in the inaugural Newman Lecture that the Victorian Blessed should be the patron saint of writers.
His lecture last Friday at Notre Dame University in Trafalgar Square, London was entitled “A footling little parson – The greatest of English prose writers” and explored the source of a writer’s creativity and inspiration.
Boyce talked of the sacrifice Newman made when he converted. He also spoke about his novel, Millions, about a boy who is fascinated with saints. Feature: Page 8 Catholic Life: Page 10
Joseph Pearce Hollywood: hands off Shakespeare PAGE 9
Stuart Reid Why we love to criticise Downton Abbey PAGE 20
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