By Simon Caldwell
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 Bishop 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 29th July.
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.
Picture: Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mark Davies.