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Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2494

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Deeper holiness is answer to attacks on Christian moral inheritance, says Bishop

 

The faithful have a duty to raise their voices in opposition to mounting threats to human life and to the deconstruction of Christian morality for as long as their “time and liberty remain”, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said.

It is a challenge which urgently calls Christians to prayer, conversion and charity, said the Rt Rev. Mark Davies.

Preaching to English and Welsh pilgrims during the Shrewsbury diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, Bishop Davies said Christians are sometimes being cowed into silence at the same time as they are witnessing an attack on their entire “moral inheritance”.

The Bishop said that any such attack – manifest recently in such developments as radical attacks against human life in abortion, the redefinition of marriage, and an emerging ideology of gender at odds with “human identity as it comes from the hand of God” – must not dissuade them from expressing their faith.

They must bear witness to their faith even amid a climate of intolerance which is increasingly denying them their right to disagreement, he suggested in his homily at the Grotto in Lourdes on Monday July 29.

Such challenges, continued the Bishop, meant that Christians needed to respond with ever deeper prayer, charity and penance, which is the message of Lourdes.

Following the example of such saints as St Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary who saw the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes in 1858, the faithful must strive even more purposefully for conversion and holiness, he said.

The Bishop called on Christians to follow St Bernadette in offering sacrifices and personal sufferings for the conversion of those misled or trapped in sin.

Bishop Davies also advised the faithful to place the Eucharist at the centre of their lives because it is “the miracle of love which is the living, healing, redeeming presence of Jesus Christ Himself”.

Repeating the words of Dom Ansgar Vonier, an Abbot of Buckfast, he said if the Eucharist became the first concern and highest aspiration of Catholics “then society is saved”.

“It is by turning away from sin and striving for holiness that our true health and happiness is found,” said Bishop Davies.

Bishop Davies said: “We can’t fail to recognise all that ails our society with lasting, indeed, everlasting consequences. We are witnessing an increasingly radical attack upon the sanctity of human life from the womb; upon the divine plan of marriage as the life-long union of man and woman; upon human identity as it comes from the hand of God. An attack upon the whole Christian moral inheritance that is becoming so contentious neither disagreement nor open debate is tolerated.

“As Christians committed to protecting the environment as we recognise this world as a gift from the Creator we also can’t fail to notice voices which appear to see not human sin but rather humanity itself as a pollutant.

“Children coming into this world can thereby be seen as a threat to creation rather than as the crowning of all creation. Pope Francis and Pope Benedict before him insist, that threats to our physical environment cannot be remedied without addressing a renewal of the moral environment … By striving toward holiness which always involves overcoming pride, selfishness and greed both humanity and our common home – the earth – flourish together.

He continued: “We have a duty to raise the Christian voice in the face of such threats; and to influence public opinion while time and liberty remain. Yet, the message of Lourdes reminds us this alone can never be sufficient remedy.

“The remedy is always bound up with constant prayer and loving intercession for those misled into sin; in knowing the value of suffering that is offered to God with love; by walking mind and heart with the Church; and above all, placing at the centre of our lives the Eucharist – the miracle of love which is the living, healing, redeeming presence of Jesus Christ Himself.”