THE CATHOLIC HERALD AUGUST 29 2014
Bishop: youth facing ‘quiet martyrdom’
BY DAVID V BARRETT
YOUNG CATHOLICS are being called to be witnesses “along every road of life”, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has said.
Rather than being told to make up our own minds, he said, “we need the teaching of the Church to guide” them.
In his homily last Sunday at the Youth 2000 annual prayer festival in Walsingham, Norfolk, Bishop Davies spoke about the question that Jesus asked Simon: “Who do you say I am?”
“We cannot forget this summer what the answer to this question has meant for those Christians across the Middle East who were given the choice between denying Christ or facing violent death. These Christians of our time, young and old, died rather than deny the One they knew to be the Christ. We call them ‘martyrs’ which means ‘witnesses’ because they were ready to stand up and to die in testimony to the Truth Himself,” Bishop Davies said.
“Today we cannot compare what is asked of us with their heroism. However, a ‘quieter martyrdom’ is increasingly being asked of Christians in western societies like our own. We will be ‘witnesses’ beside them whenever we stand up and stand by what we know to be true. We are to be witnesses along every road of life whether in education, in medicine, in industry, in law, in politics, in marriage and family, in the priesthood or in a consecrated life.”
In 2012, Bishop Davies told The Catholic Herald that as a young person he thought it “quite unthinkable to believe that in Britain, during the gentle reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Christians would be brought before the courts for giving witness to their faith.”
Bishop Davies: ‘A “quieter martyrdom” is increasingly being asked of Christians in western societies like our own’
Now however, that was the case, and “that if we are called upon in our generation to give such witness, even being brought before courts, even facing the prospect of imprisonment, that this is our opportunity to give witness, as the Gospel reminds us, not just for our contemporaries but for generations who will follow us.”
In his homily at Walsingham he also said: “We are to offer the directions which we didn’t make up ourselves but received as a gift, the faith of the Church. Faced with contentious issues and choices we will be witnesses when we look not to the changing tides of human opinion but are ready to repeat Peter’s profession of faith: ‘You
Photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Pope Francis insists we must be credible, approachable witnesses; ‘a person who is not convinced, enthusiastic, certain and in love, will convince nobody,’ the Holy Father tells us!”
Bishop Davies spoke of how he was lost in Runcorn new town last Halloween, and “after circling aimlessly for 40 minutes in the dark” asked for directions, after which he reached his destination in a few minutes. His story “reflects the situation of fallen humanity where we know we have a goal, a destination, but in the dark cannot see the way,” he said.
“It is in the light of faith that we have found the One who can not only give us sure directions but is Himself ‘the Way,’ the true direction for all of us: Jesus Christ our Lord. And His Church has been given the task of offering this direction to every new generation who might otherwise spend their whole lives going around in endless circles or being misdirected into ‘dead ends’ by passing devils.
“It is not conflicting human opinions that we need. It would have been no help to me if the man by the roadside had said what is so often told to young people today: ‘Make your own mind up! Go left, go right – see what works for you!’ No, we need the truth, we cannot find our way without the Truth.”
For the past 25 years Youth 2000 “has never sought to offer guesswork to new generations but sure directions on which we can depend,” he said. “Catholicism pure and simple, as your spiritual director puts it. And we can be sure of these directions because the Holy Spirit has been promised to the Church. ‘When the Spirit of truth comes,’ Jesus promises, ‘he will guide you to the complete truth.’” Editorial Comment: Page 13
Outspoken MP: Pope Francis could inspire change in British politics
BY DAVID V BARRETT
THERE IS NOT enough love and kindness in politics, according to a Labour MP with a reputation as a parliamentary bruiser.
In an interview in this week’s Catholic Herald Tom Watson, the MP for West Bromwich East, spoke of the time when “it was normal for politicians to worry about what inequality does to us as a society ... and that just seems to have been lost”. He said: “I know this might sound naïve but I really believe there’s not enough love and kindness in our politics.”
Mr Watson said he was a a fan of Pope Francis: “I’ve been reading his stuff. He really inspires me. Did you read his Lent message? I honestly believe that we need a new politics that is inspired by that same service, love and compassion.” Watson was not brought up as a Christian, but chose to be confirmed in the Church of England when he was an undergraduate, and admits to praying. “You might not think this counts. But yes – in times of great stress and need, I talk to God,” he said. Interview: Page 6
Dawkins: it is ‘immoral’ not to abort Down’s baby
BY DAVID V BARRETT
PROFESSOR Richard Dawkins, the noted evolutionary biologist and atheist, was at the centre of another storm of outrage last week after he said it would be “immoral” to continue with a pregnancy resulting in a child with Down’s syndrome.
Professor Dawkins’s comment came in response to a Twitter user who wrote: “I honestly don't know what I would do if I were pregnant with a kid with Down Syndrome. Real ethical dilemma.”
Prof Dawkins, who has become even more outspoken since joining the social networking site, replied: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
A spokesperson for the ProLife Alliance said: “We unite with colleagues from groups worldwide supporting Down’s children who have underlined the humanity of every child developing in the womb, and reiterated each and every child’s right to be born. Prof Dawkins has tried to back-track on his statement but has met with merited condemnation.”
Anthony Ozimic of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told the BBC: “All unborn children, whether disabled or not, are equal members of the human family, and therefore have an equal right to life with the rest of humanity. As a scientist, Dawkins should know better than to deny that
Professor Richard Dawkins Fiona Hanson/AP
human life begins at conception. As a former foetus, I am against abortion in all circumstances.”
A spokesman for the ProLife campaign in Ireland told the Daily Mail: “These shocking comments by Prof Richard Dawkins are a chilling reminder of how easy it is for society to fall into the trap of deeming some human beings ‘ imperfect’ and unworthy of life.
“To suggest that unborn babies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome should be discarded through abortion is deeply insulting to children with this special needs and their families” and their families. Initially refusing to apologise “for approaching moral philosophic questions in a logical way”, Prof Dawkins later explained his views at greater length on his website.
He wrote that: “What I
was saying simply follows logically from the ordinary pro-choice stance that most of us, I presume, espouse. My phraseology may have been tactlessly vulnerable to misunderstanding, but I can't help feeling that at least half the problem lies in a wanton eagerness to misunderstand.
“If your morality is based, as mine is, on a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering, the decision to deliberately give birth to a Down's baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child's own welfare.”
And he blamed the restrictions of Twitter for how his comment appeared: “I apologise if brevity made it look that way.” Madeleine Teahan: Page 9
Visitors are amazed by the Sistine by the sea
BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE ONLY full copy of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is drawing flocks of visitors to the English Martyrs church in the tiny village of Goringby-Sea near Worthing in Sussex – and has gained a 2014 certificate of excellence from the TripAdvisor website.
Parishioner Gary Bevans, a signwriter, gained permission from former parish priest Fr Enda Naughton and then Bishop Cormac MurphyO’Connor of Arundel and Brighton in 1987, then spent five and-a-half years painting the ceiling, often working at night. He fixed plywood panels to the ceiling, sketched the figures and then painted them, despite having never had an art lesson. His reproduction is two― thirds the size of the original painting by Michelangelo.
His work has earned the church a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor, where visitors rate places of interest. The church has had 46 votes, including 36 excellent, nine very good and just one average. The reviews reflect the visitors’ astonishment at finding this work of art in a modern church. When the painting was completed a Mass of Thanksgiving was attended by many local dignitaries. Mr Bevans was presented by Bishop Cormac Murphy O-Connor with the papal cross “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice”.
Parents urged to buy school socks that aid poor BY STAFF REPORTER
THE CATHOLIC charity Cafod is calling on parents to ensure that they help people in developing countries when buying school socks for their children.
The retailer Sockshop has promised to give 10 per cent of all online profits to Cafod as part of its ongoing support for the Catholic charity.
Alok Ruia, SockShop spokesperson, said: “This is a great way for parents to know they’re helping others while making some of the essential back to school purchases. As a long-standing supporter of Cafod, I have always been inspired by the vital work they do in the world’s poorest communities.
“We believe in the power of working together and taking action to bring about a just and sustainable world.”
PAKISTAN “I am writing to appeal for help for the 35 families living in one village whose houses were burnt to ashes on Sunday evening, 4 May 2014, when a strong windstorm hit parts of the area near Hyderabad, Pakistan. The fire started from sparks which were fanned out from a stove in one of the houses. Due to a strong windstorm, the whole village was an inferno in a short time and was totally destroyed. Would Spicma be able to help us assist these poor people? As I write, no one has helped them yet.” Fr. Jimmy
Spicma sent £10K immediately as these already poor families were destitute. Hopefully these funds have enabled Fr. Jimmy to provide emergency food, a new bore hole for safe water, shelter and beds. We would though like to help the families further and provide them with the cattle they lost and sewing machines to enable these families to live with some form of minimal existence.
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Our bank account details are CAF BANK Ltd, A/c: No. 00095877. Sort Code: 40.52.40
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