Update from the BBC blog: Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said of Pope Benedict’s speech at Westminster Hall: “The Pope’s statements concerning the alleged ‘increasing marginalisation of religion’ were a parody of the real situation in the UK, where politicians increasingly move to expand state-funded religious schools, contract public services out to religious organisations and act in other ways that privilege religious beliefs and organisations in such a disproportionate and discriminatory manner.”
Daily Archives: September 17, 2010
It is a particular pleasure that on this historic occasion we are able to come together as bishops of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches in this country to greet you, Your Holiness, during a visit which we all hope will be of significance both to the Church of Christ and to British society. Your consistent and penetrating analysis of the state of European society in general has been a major contribution to public debate on the relations between Church and culture, and we gratefully acknowledge our debt in this respect.
Our task as bishops is to preach the Gospel and shepherd the flock of Christ; and this includes the responsibility not only to feed but also to protect it from harm. Today, this involves a readiness to respond to the various trends in our cultural environment that seek to present Christian faith as both an obstacle to human freedom and a scandal to human intellect. We need to be clear that the Gospel of the new creation in Jesus Christ is the door through which we enter into true liberty and true understanding: we are made free to be human as God intends us to be human; we are given the illumination that helps us see one another and all created things in the light of divine love and intelligence. As you said in your Inaugural Mass in 2005, recalling your predecessor’s first words as pope, Christ takes away nothing “that pertains to human freedom or dignity or to the building of a just society”¦ If we let Christ into our lives we lose absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. Only in his friendship is the great potential of human existence revealed.” [Inaugural Homily, Rome, 24 April 2005]
Our presence together as British bishops here today is a sign of the way in which, in this country, we see our task as one and indivisible. The International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission has set before us all the vital importance of our common calling as bishops to be agents of mission.
It is not my intention today to speak of the difficulties that the ecumenical path has encountered and continues to encounter. Those difficulties are well known to everyone here. Rather, I wish to join you in giving thanks for the deep friendship that has grown between us and for the remarkable progress that has been made in so many areas of dialogue during the forty years that have elapsed since the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission began its work. Let us entrust the fruits of that work to the Lord of the harvest, confident that he will bless our friendship with further significant growth.
The context in which dialogue takes place between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church has evolved in dramatic ways since the private meeting between Pope John XXIII and Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher in 1960. On the one hand, the surrounding culture is growing ever more distant from its Christian roots, despite a deep and widespread hunger for spiritual nourishment. On the other hand, the increasingly multicultural dimension of society, particularly marked in this country, brings with it the opportunity to encounter other religions. For us Christians this opens up the possibility of exploring, together with members of other religious traditions, ways of bearing witness to the transcendent dimension of the human person and the universal call to holiness, leading to the practice of virtue in our personal and social lives. Ecumenical cooperation in this task remains essential, and will surely bear fruit in promoting peace and harmony in a world that so often seems at risk of fragmentation.
At the same time, we Christians must never hesitate to proclaim our faith in the uniqueness of the salvation won for us by Christ, and to explore together a deeper understanding of the means he has placed at our disposal for attaining that salvation. God “wants all to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4), and that truth is nothing other than Jesus Christ, eternal Son of the Father, who has reconciled all things in himself by the power of his Cross.
Next Wednesday heralds the official end of summer””the autumnal equinox ””when the length of day and night are equal (circa 11:09 p.m. ET). In the 21st century, this astronomical event is little more than a passing curiosity. But rewind by about three millennia to the time of the ancient Babylonians, and the autumnal equinox marked the start of the “minor new year.” Not only did celestial events define sacred festivals. Conversely, religion powered the development of astronomy, the first science.
Today, science and religion are often thought to be very different, unconnected disciplines. But looking back at our ancient past, we see that the development of religion and early science have really gone hand-in-hand, shaping some of the characteristics of mainstream religion in ways we may not realize.
For instance, while the Babylonians celebrated their “main new year” in the spring, their tradition of having a minor autumnal new year has carried over into both mainstream religion and secular practice. Nick Campion, a historian of cultural astronomy at the University of Wales, notes two echoes of ancient autumn observances today. “It’s a custom inherited by Jews””hence Rosh Hashanah,” he told me, “while the beginning of the academic year in autumn is a secular legacy.”
Pope Benedict XVI made history today by becoming the first pontiff to step foot inside Lambeth Palace.
They have clearly altered his route this morning due to security concerns.
Those of you who have EWTN they have live coverage.
Update: He is at Lambeth palace now with Archbishop Williams
Another Update: Archbishop Williams is now speaking
This transcendent dimension of study and teaching was clearly grasped by the monks who contributed so much to the evangelization of these islands. I am thinking of the Benedictines who accompanied Saint Augustine on his mission to England, of the disciples of Saint Columba who spread the faith across Scotland and Northern England, of Saint David and his companions in Wales. Since the search for God, which lies at the heart of the monastic vocation, requires active engagement with the means by which he makes himself known ”“ his creation and his revealed word ”“ it was only natural that the monastery should have a library and a school (cf. Address to representatives from the world of culture at the “CollÃ¨ge des Bernardins” in Paris, 12 September 2008). It was the monks’ dedication to learning as the path on which to encounter the Incarnate Word of God that was to lay the foundations of our Western culture and civilization.
In a rousing encounter with some 4,000 schoolchildren, Pope Benedict XVI asked them to make friendship with God the center of their lives.
“We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts,” the pope said Sept. 17 in Twickenham, a suburb of London.
He spoke to a cheering crowd of Catholic students who filled a soccer field next to St. Mary’s University College, and via Internet to the more than 800,000 young people who followed the event from their classrooms at Catholic schools throughout Great Britain.
Pope Benedict could not have been clearer about why he is here. May Britain “always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate,” he said, before reminding the nation of “the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms,” citing William Wilberforce and Florence Nightingale, and Britain’s sacrifice in standing against Nazism.
Why does this history lesson matter? Because of a narrative that pits human rights against religion, freedom against faith, justice against the Church. In this narrative, societies broke free from the shackles of their inheritance somewhere in the 18th century and ushered in a glorious epoch of emancipation and liberty, leaving the Church seething in the wings.
Late last year, my wife gasped: “What’s wrong?” She saw me hunched at the computer, the online bill pay program flickering, my face blank and my hands limp in my lap.
“It’s gone,” was all I could say. Years of mounting debt, tens of thousands of dollars of it, had disappeared in five minutes. It was beyond belief, and I just sat staring at the screen.
Our financial deliverance was a big retroactive check for my wife’s first years of disability. After receiving the check, I sat down immediately to pay off the credit cards that we had run up since she had to stop working.
That’s right. We paid our debts. We had borrowed to pay huge, persistent medical bills, used credit cards to buy groceries and medicine when paychecks couldn’t stretch far enough, and I worked extra jobs to juggle the payments.
Five men have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police in London in relation to a potential threat to the Pope’s visit
The arrests were made at 0545 BST at addresses in London after counter-terrorism officers received intelligence of a potential threat.
The five men have been taken to a central London police station.
The Pope has paid tribute to the ”outstanding contribution” made by religious orders to education in Britain on the second day of his State visit to Britain.
He told an audience of religious congregations gathered at St Mary’s College in Twickenham, south west London, of his ”deep appreciation” for all the dedicated men and women who devote their lives to teaching the young.
He added, in an apparent reference to the child abuse scandal rocking the church, that he wished to add a ”particular word of appreciation” for those whose task is to ensure Catholic schools provide a safe environment for children and young people.
A day after he offered his strongest criticism yet of the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of the sexual abuse crisis, Pope Benedict XVI set out on Friday to mark a moment of ecumenical symbolism, praying together with the archbishop of Canterbury in a rare display of unity at Westminster Abbey, the spiritual heart of the Church of England.
The archbishop, Dr. Rowan Williams, is the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion that grew from the 16th century schism when Henry VIII broke with Rome. Britain’s Press Association news agency said a papal visit to the archbishop’s seat at Lambeth Palace and the subsequent prayer ceremony in the early evening at Westminster Abbey would mark the first time a pope has been to either venue.
A papal address at Westminster Abbey has been billed as the central speech of his visit.