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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Saturday, September 25, 2010
POPE TO BRITISH SOCIETY - in brief
Last Sunday: PRIME MINISTER TO POPE BENEDICT: You have offered a message not just to the Catholic Church but to each and every one of us of every faith and none ..., the searching questions that you, your Holiness, have posed to us about our society ... have really challenged the whole country to sit up and think.

SO WHAT WAS THE POPE’S KEY POINT TO OUR CULTURAL LEADERS?:
British culture has many virtues. They are fruits of our deeply ingrained Christian tradition.
So don’t drop these Christian foundations - 20th century has shown that to be dangerous

From his first speech, to the Queen, 16th September
Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike. ... Britain intervened directly to stop the international slave trade ... set new standards in healthcare ... stood against a Nazi tyranny ... forg[ed] the post-war international consensus which ... ushered in a hitherto
unknown period of peace and prosperity in Europe ... [and] helped give birth to a peaceful resolution of the conflict [in Northern Ireland] ... Your Government and people are the shapers of ideas that still have an impact far beyond the British Isles ...

May all Britons continue to live by the values of honesty, respect and fair-mindedness that have won them the esteem and admiration of many [...and ] always maintain ... respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate. Let not [the UK] obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms ...

[... let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life [in communist states] leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society ...]

From his speech to representatives of British society in Westminster Hall, 17th September
Allow me also to express my esteem for [your] Parliament ... your common law tradition [etc., etc.]

Yet .... if the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident ... [e.g. credit crunch lacked] solid ethical foundations ... the [British-inspired] abolition of the slave trade [did not].

... the role of religion [... is] to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles. ... misuse of reason, after all, was what gave rise to the slave trade in the first place and to many other social evils, not least the totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century. ...

I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalization of religion, particularly of Christianity ... relegat[ing it] to the purely private sphere ... [such] that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience ... and the official teaching of the Church.

Also see over, top right, for some of his Hyde Pk words, especially appropriate to our parishioners.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:53 am