Cardinal Nichols praises Maltese bishops
Mar 11, 2017
The cardinal also said that the Pope was right to ignore the dubia.
The cardinal also told America magazine that Pope Francis was 'one of the toughest people I've met'
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, has praised the Maltese bishops
UK Cardinal Praises New Pro-LGBT Prime Minister
Jul 16, 2016
Vincent Nichols "delighted" by appointment of LGBT-friendly Theresa May.
July 15, 2016
WESTMINSTER (ChurchMilitant.com) - The archbishop of Westminster is praising the United Kingdom's newly appointed prime minister, a proponent of LGBT "rights."
In a letter Tuesday, Cdl. Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, stated that he was "personally delighted" by the appointment of Prime Minister Theresa May Wednesday, who assumed office following the resignation of PM David Cameron.
Continuing, the cardinal noted May has "so many qualities" to bring to the service of the United Kingdom, and declared he appreciates "the maturity of judgment, the steely resolve, the sense of justice and the personal integrity and warmth [May has] always shown."
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In concluding, Cdl. Nichols offered PM May his "personal support" and asserted he looked forward to working with her "across a wide range of issues in service of the common good."
"I assure you of my prayers and those of the Catholic Community in England and Wales," he added.
While May has a history of pro-life rhetoric, she is not considered an proponent of traditional family values, having declared in 2013 she wholly supports same-sex "marriage":
For me, equality is about fairness. It is simply wrong for anyone to face discrimination or abuse because of who they are or who they love. A Conservative Government under my leadership would be unequivocally committed to supporting LGBT people, and continuing the vital task of tackling hate crime, homophobia and transphobia — both in the UK and around the world.
This new position flies in the face of stances taken in 2000, in which she voted to extend a ban on homosexual propaganda within schools, and in 2002, where she supported legislation forbidding same-sex couples from being allowed to adopt children.
Her position had begun to shift by 2003 and was fully realized in a vote cast approving of domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. By 2010, she had been appointed equality minister by PM Cameron, telling the BBC, "If those [same-sex adoption] votes were today, yes, I have changed my view and I think I would take a different vote."
Those initial votes, she added, were "some years ago."
On the gay adoption I have changed my mind because I have been persuaded that actually when you are looking at the future for a child, I think it's better for a child who is perhaps in an institutional environment, if they have the opportunity of being in a stable, family environment — be that a heterosexual couple or a gay couple — then I think it's more important that that child is in that stable and loving environment. And I have genuinely changed my mind on that.
Prior to the election for prime minister, May, when questioned where she would take the country, delivered unabashed support for the LGBT movement:
When I launched my campaign for the leadership I set out my belief in building a country that works for everyone. Central to that vision is a commitment to equality, and I will always stand up for the rights of LGBT people. ... For me, equality is about fairness. It is simply wrong for anyone to face discrimination or abuse because of who they are or who they love. A Conservative Government under my leadership would be unequivocally committed to supporting LGBT people, and continuing the vital task of tackling hate crime, homophobia and transphobia — both in the UK and around the world.
Cardinal Nichols himself has a history of supporting the LGBT agenda. In May 2015, the prelate made headlines for becoming the first cardinal of the Church to preside over a Mass specifically geared toward "LGBT Catholics," the culmination of years of support thrown behind LGBT ministry within the Church, knowingly allowing gay Masses to take place within his jurisdiction for six years before shutting them down after complaints from the faithful.
In an interview in 2001, the prelate confirmed his personal position on same-sex civil unions by stating, "[C]ivil partnerships actually provide a structure in which people of the same sex who want a lifelong relationship [and] a lifelong partnership can find their place and protection and legal provision."
Cardinal Nichols welcomes first Muslim mayor of London
May 12, 2016
The signing in ceremony took place at Southwark Cathedral just a few miles from the estate in which Khan grew up.
07 May 2016
London's first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, was sworn in today at Southwark Cathedral after beating his closest rival, Conservative Zac Goldsmith, by 56.8 per cent to 43.2 per cent, giving him a larger personal mandate than either of his predecessors, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone.
Addressing the crowd in the packed cathedral, Mr Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants, said: "I'm only here today because of the opportunities and helping hand that our city gave to me and my family.
"My burning ambition for our city, that will guide my mayoralty, is to ensure that all Londoners get the opportunities that my city gave to me."
Cardinal Vincent Nichols welcomed the news, saying: "I assure him of my prayers for his time in this important office in which he will face the great challenges of London, in its richness, diversity and energy." In a statement he reiterated Pope Francis' comments at Friday's audience with European leaders, about the need for equality in Europe and he said: "May this same spirit inspire the leadership of our new Mayor."
Southwark Cathedral has been a site of Christian worship for more than 1,000 years. Khan said he wanted the ceremony to take place in the cathedral as a reflection of his intent to represent “every single community” as a “mayor for all Londoners”.
Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton was among those sending messages of congratulations to the new mayor on Twitter.
I welcome @SadiqKhan as the new #MayorofLondon and assure him of my prayers for his time in this important office. https://t.co/ZFH7yta47w
— Cardinal Nichols (@CardinalNichols) May 7, 2016
Cardinal Vincent Nichols: Brexit would cause 'complex problems'
Apr 16, 2016
Britain's most senior Catholic figure has backed the EU Remain campaign.
15 April 2016
In the most significant intervention to date by British faith leader, the Archbishop of Westminster said Britain should not leave the European Union.
He went further than a recent statement where the Catholic bishops' conference of England and Wales did not take sides but did urge voters to remember the debate is "about much more than economics".
Cardinal Nichols, spiritual leader of the four million Catholics of England and Wales and president of the conference, warned the path to division "almost inevitably leads to further division".
He said: "There is a long tradition in Christianity and Catholicism in particular of believing in holding things together. So the Catholic stance towards an effort such as the EU is largely supportive.
"If the vote was to leave Europe I think we would face more complex problems and greater difficulty in finding our role in response to it than we would by playing an active and vigorous part with partners within the EU."
The Cardinal acknowledged his remarks "basically answer" the question of which way he will vote on 23 June.
His comments set him apart from the Archbishop of Canterbury who has avoided answering the question directly. Justin Welby has said there was no particular "correct Christian view" on the question.
The Church of England and the Church of Scotland have set up a blog to discuss the issue but it does not take a stance.
Dr Angus Morrison, moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, is more outspoken.
He has said the EU symbolises "real progress and hope" for the future. The Church of Scotland has an official position that Scotland should remain within the EU.
Cardinal Nichols gave his views as he reported back on the bishops' spring meeting. He said the bishops had had a "spirited debate" over the EU. The statement issued as bishops "might not be the same as what we would say as citizens".
Canon lawyer criticizes UK cardinal for trying to silence priests defending Church teaching
Sept 17, 2015
An influential American canon lawyer has expressed amazement and concern over Cardinal Vincent Nichols' criticism of almost 500 UK priests who signed a letter expressing concern about last October's Synod on the Family and confirming their faithful support of the Catholic teaching on marriage and family.
Mar 27, 2015
LONDON, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – "There isn’t a word—not one single word—in the short, open letter signed by hundreds of British Catholic priests to the Catholic Herald (London) defending Church teaching on marriage and sacraments that any Catholic could not, and should not be proud to, personally profess and publically proclaim," Dr. Edward Peters, a professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, wrote on his blog.
"The priests’ letter is a model of accuracy, balance, brevity, and pastoral respect for persons. It fortifies the soul to know it exists. It gladdens the heart to actually read it," Dr. Peters said.
In a statement to the Catholic Herald, which first ran the priests’ letter on March 24, a spokesman for Cardinal Nichols said the “dialogue” on the issues surrounding the Synod on the Family “is not best conducted through the press.”
In the priests’ letter, the signatories said that in light of the confusion arising from the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome concerning Catholic moral teaching, "We wish, as Catholic priests, to re-state our unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia."
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"Furthermore we affirm the importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments, and that doctrine and practice remain firmly and inseparably in harmony," they added.
Dr. Peters remarked that he is "at a loss … to understand why Vincent Cardinal Nichols seems to chastise priests who signed the letter for their allegedly 'conducting [a] dialogue, between a priest and his bishop … through the press'.”
"The priests’ letter is a statement of Catholic belief," Dr. Peters observed, "not an opening gambit in a negotiation; it is addressed to a journal editor, and through him to lay and clerical public, not to a particular prelate.”
He said the priests, and all the faithful, have a “canonical right” to publicly express their opinion on matters of importance to the Church, citing Canon 212 § 3 of the Church’s Code of Canon Law.
"The Cardinal, of course, need not have said anything about the letter," Dr. Peters reflected. "Frankly, his responding via the press is what might yet turn the event into a dialogue in the press. But, if a response was to be made, anything less than “I am delighted to know that so many priests love our Church, her teachings, and the people served by both” makes the direction of that dialogue suddenly worrisome."
L’archevêque de Westminster sous le choc de sa découverte de Gaza ravagée
Nov 26, 2014
A peine l’archevêque de Westminster a-t-il esquissé ses premiers pas sur le sol meurtri et méconnaissable de Gaza qu’il a été saisi d’effroi par l’immense paysage de désolation qui s’est offert à sa vue, ne parvenant pas à détacher son regard des décombres sous lesquels sont ensevelis des quartiers entiers de la ville, et des Gazaouis, rescapés de l'horreur, qui y vivent ou survivent, emprisonnés dans des ruines.
Bien que préparé psychologiquement à découvrir l’étendue du désastre suite au carnage perpétré par Israël, dont l’opération « Bordure protectrice » de l’été 2014 a laissé une empreinte rouge sang indélébile, le choc a été toutefois incommensurable pour le Cardinal Vincent Nichols, chef de l’église catholique d’Angleterre et du Pays de Galles, qui n’a pas cherché à dissimuler son intense émotion lors d’un entretien accordé au Guardian.
"Je suis profondément bouleversé de découvrir les effets tragiques de la guerre et la pauvreté endémique qui règne ici. Il doit y avoir une fin à la guerre, et quand vous en visualisez les ravages dans un endroit comme Gaza, cela ne fait que renforcer ce sentiment", a-t-il déclaré à son retour d’une visite éprouvante dans un orphelinat, où il a pu mesurer la gravité des traumatismes dont souffrent de jeunes enfants désormais sans famille, avant de se rendre dans un hôpital et une zone industrielle en grande partie dévastés par la pluie de bombes israéliennes.
Dénonçant le lourd tribut, toujours plus insoutenable, que paie la population civile de la bande de Gaza à chaque offensive meurtrière d’Israël qui culmine, chaque fois davantage, dans la barbarie et le génocide, l’archevêque de Westminster, qui s’est dit "préoccupé par les idéologies contradictoires qui prennent en étau les citoyens innocents de Gaza", a formulé le vœu, pour l’heure désespérément pieux, que la paix impérieuse finisse par l’emporter dans cette région de souffrances.
Cardinal Nichols ‘deeply shocked’ by tour of Gaza
Nov 25, 2014
Cardinal says innocent citizens are caught in a 'vice of conflicting ideologies'.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said he is “deeply shocked” after visiting areas of Gaza devastated by the conflict between Hamas and Israel.
The Archbishop of Westminster toured neighbourhoods flattened by shelling and air strikes as well as visiting a hospital and an orphanage.
Cardinal Nichols told the Guardian newspaper: “I was deeply shocked at the effects of war and endemic poverty.
“Pope Francis has said there must be an end to war, and when you see the effect in a place like Gaza it reinforces that.”
During his visit Cardinal Nichols celebrated a Mass for Gaza’s Catholics and visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial. The cardinal travelled to the Holy Land with 100 pilgrims who visited Bethlehem, while he went to Gaza.
The cardinal described Gaza as “a deeply depressing situation in a devastated region where people are trapped”.
He said there was little sign of rubble being cleared in the area. “It’s astonishing the number of people with the appearance of nothing to do – people just sitting on the streets. There is only the barest sense of order. This is not an economy that is going to be able to support its population.”
The cardinal added that he was worried about “the innocent citizens of Gaza caught in a vice of conflicting ideologies – an almost impossible situation for them”.
Cardinal Nichols has visited Palestinian Christians several times before. After a visit two years ago he wrote to William Hague, then Foreign Secretary, expressing concern about Israel’s security barrier and its effect on people’s lives.
At a Christmas Eve homily he prayed for “over 50 families [who] face losing their land and their homes” thanks to the barrier.
Cardinal Nichols clarifies, dispels media portrayals of synod
Oct 26, 2014
After returning from the 2014 Synod on the Family, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has clarified that the meeting was focused upon reaching out to those in difficulty, rather than changing doctrine.
October 25, 2014 by CNA Daily News
Westminster, England, Oct 25, 2014 / 10:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- “You may have heard or read that this Synod has been about changing the teaching of the Church on marriage, family life or sexual morality. This is not true,” the cardinal said.
“It was about the pastoral care that we try to offer each other, the 'motherly love of the Church', especially when facing difficult moments and experiences in family life.”
In a pastoral letter released Oct. 24, Cardinal Nichols recounted the “rich and moving experience” of taking part in the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops that was held earlier this month in Rome.
He rejected numerous media portrayals of the synod, stating firmly, “There was no suggestion that the teaching of the Church might somehow give approval to the notion of 'same-sex marriage' or that its teaching on sexual morality is to change.”
Rather, he said, it was made clear that people should not be identified simply by sexual orientation, because they have a deep and unique dignity as a human person and a Christian that must be respected.
In addition, he said, it was clear at the synod that the Church’s teachings on respect, compassion and acceptance towards all people need to be “translated into loving care, in our daily life in the Church, in our parishes, and indeed in society.”
Cardinal Nichols also dispelled the notion that the synod “represented a 'defeat for Pope Francis' or that he was disappointed at its outcome.”
“At the end of our meeting Pope Francis spoke at length about his joy and satisfaction at its work,” the cardinal said, adding that the Pope stressed the synod as “a spiritual journey, not a debating chamber.”
“In fact, the very word 'synod' means making a walk or a journey together,” he said, explaining that this is what the synod participants did as they discussed a global range of issues affecting families, ranging from war, immigration and polygamy to inter-religious marriage, cohabitation and divorce.
Listening to the real struggles of married couples, synod participants were able to see both the overwhelming suffering that accompanies so many people today and the great joy and importance of marriage and family as a “sanctuary of holiness.”
“Pope Francis set the tone” at the synod, Cardinal Nichols said. “He asked us to look reality in the eye; to speak openly from the heart; to listen humbly and respectfully to each other.”
The result was a “marvelous experience of the Church as a family and of the Church, at this level, hard at work, trying to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and express them in carefully chosen words.”
While there were disagreements among synod members, there was no rancor or contestation, the cardinal said. Rather, participants demonstrated tranquility and trust, in response to the call of Pope Francis, who emphasized the need for the Church to go out and find the lost sheep in today’s world.
Cardinal Nichols explained the synod process of working to form documents that would reflect the views of participants.
“By the end I believe we got there,” he said, noting that the final synod report was voted on paragraph by paragraph, to show where the greatest areas of agreement were. That document will be the starting point for next year’s synod, which will focus on 'The Vocation and Mission of the Family Today.'
“Central to the work of the Synod that has just ended was the desire to strengthen and reinvigorate the pastoral practice of the Church,” Cardinal Nichols emphasized. “A central principle for this pastoral care emerged clearly: that in trying to walk alongside people in difficult or exceptional situations, it is important to see clearly and with humility all the good aspects of their lives.”
“From this point, we learn to move together towards conversion and towards the goodness of life that God has for us and that Jesus opens for us all.”
This approach is particularly important in reaching out to individuals who are not living in the way that God asks, such as those cohabiting or the divorced and remarried, the cardinal said. Recognizing that there is still “real goodness” in their lives despite these shortcomings allows a basis for approaching them in care and offering an invitation to come closer to the Church and its call, knowing that this is where true happiness is found.
The coming year leading up to next year’s three-week synod has been described by Pope Francis as a time “to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront.”
Cardinal Nichols echoed this call, voicing hope that the ongoing prayer and reflection will yield fruit that will renew the Church “in response to the unfailing love of Jesus, under the leadership of Pope Francis and always in union with him.”
Cardinal: see the goodness in lives of people who cohabit
Oct 25, 2014
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that the lives of Catholics who cohabitate outside of marriage are “marked by real goodness”.
In a pastoral letter to the Diocese of Westminster reflecting on the family synod, Cardinal Nichols said: “A central principle for this pastoral care emerged clearly: that in trying to walk alongside people in difficult or exceptional situations, it is important to see clearly and with humility all the good aspects of their lives. That is what comes first. From this point, we learn to move together towards conversion and towards the goodness of life that God has for us and that Jesus opens for us all. This positive approach flows right through the ‘synod report’ and I hope will increasingly shape our attitude towards each other.”
He continued: “This is especially true with regard to individuals who, for example, have decided to live together without marriage, or for Catholics in second marriages. These realities are part of their journey in life and while not in keeping with the pattern the Lord asks of us, their lives are often marked by real goodness. This is the basis for our care of them, for our approach to them, our invitation to them, to come closer to the Church and deepen their faith and attend carefully to its call. We say this confidently because it is within the call of our faith, the call of Jesus to each one of us, expressed in the truth of the Gospel and treasured in the Church, that our deepest happiness is to be found.”
Cardinal Nichols also said the Church should never identify people by their sexual orientation and should treat gay Catholics with respect. He said: “There has been much talk about how the synod reflected on the situation of people of a same-sex attraction. There was no suggestion that the teaching of the Church might somehow give approval to the notion of ‘same-sex marriage’ or that its teaching on sexual morality is to change. However two things were very clear. The first is that we should never identify people by their sexual orientation. Every person is endowed with unique dignity, both as an individual and as a Christian. This dignity is always, always to be respected. Secondly, it is the teaching of the Church that they are not only to be respected but also always accepted, with compassion and with sensitivity (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358). This teaching has to be translated into loving care, in our daily life in the Church, in our parishes, and indeed in society.”
The cardinal’s pastoral letter can be read in full below:
My brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ,
Today I would like to tell you a little about the recent Extraordinary Synod of Bishops held in Rome on the theme of the pastoral challenges facing the family in the context of evangelisation. I was privileged to take part in this two week meeting. I found it a rich and moving experience.
You may have heard or read that this Synod has been about changing the teaching of the Church on marriage, family life or sexual morality. This is not true. It was about the pastoral care that we try to offer each other, the ‘motherly love of the Church’, especially when facing difficult moments and experiences in family life.
You may have heard that the Synod represented a ‘defeat for Pope Francis’ or that he was disappointed at its outcome. This is not true. At the end of our meeting Pope Francis spoke at length about his joy and satisfaction at its work. He told us to look deeply into our hearts to see how God had touched us during the Synod, and to see how we may have been tempted away from the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The Synod, he insisted, has been a spiritual journey, not a debating chamber.
In fact, the very word ‘synod’ means making a walk or a journey together. That’s what we did. Our journey was an exploration of all the problems facing the family today, from the effects of war, immigration, domestic violence, polygamy, inter-religious marriages, to cohabitation, the breakdown of marriage, divorce and the situation of those who have ended a valid marriage and entered another union, another marriage. The vastness of the picture and the suffering it represented was, at times, overwhelming.
We also looked at the great joy of family life and the importance of marriage at its heart. We listened to husbands and wives speaking of the difficulties they had overcome, the struggles they face and the deep joy they experience in their mature marriages and family lives. They were moving moments. A lovely description of the family was offered: the family as ‘a sanctuary of holiness’ with emphasis always on the sharing of prayer at the heart of family life.
Pope Francis set the tone. He asked us to look reality in the eye; to speak openly from the heart; to listen humbly and respectfully to each other. This is what we did. There was no rancour, no contestation. There were disagreements, of course. But he told us to live through the experience with tranquility and trust. And we did. It was a marvellous experience of the Church as a family and of the Church, at this level, hard at work, trying to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit and express them in carefully chosen words.
During the Synod we worked on various documents which were trying to catch the views and desires of all the participants. By the end I believe we got there. So the Synod ended with a ‘Synod Report’ on which we voted, paragraph by paragraph. The votes indicated, quite simply, where agreement was more or less total and where it was not. This Report now forms the starting point for the next Synod on the family, to take place in a year’s time. The theme of this next Synod, in October 2015, takes us on from where we left off: ‘The Vocation and Mission of the Family Today’.
Central to the work of the Synod that has just ended was the desire to strengthen and reinvigorate the pastoral practice of the Church. A central principle for this pastoral care emerged clearly: that in trying to walk alongside people in difficult or exceptional situations, it is important to see clearly and with humility all the good aspects of their lives. That is what comes first. From this point, we learn to move together towards conversion and towards the goodness of life that God has for us and that Jesus opens for us all. This positive approach flows right through the ‘Synod Report’ and I hope will increasingly shape our attitude towards each other.
This is especially true with regard to individuals who, for example, have decided to live together without marriage, or for Catholics in second marriages. These realities are part of their journey in life and while not in keeping with the pattern the Lord asks of us, their lives are often marked by real goodness. This is the basis for our care of them, for our approach to them, our invitation to them, to come closer to the Church and deepen their faith and attend carefully to its call. We say this confidently because it is within the call of our faith, the call of Jesus to each one of us, expressed in the truth of the Gospel and treasured in the Church, that our deepest happiness is to be found.
There has been much talk about how the Synod reflected on the situation of people of a same sex attraction. There was no suggestion that the teaching of the Church might somehow give approval to the notion of ‘same-sex marriage’ or that its teaching on sexual morality is to change. However two things were very clear. The first is that we should never identify people by their sexual orientation. Every person is endowed with unique dignity, both as an individual and as a Christian. This dignity is always, always to be respected. Secondly, it is the teaching of the Church that they are not only to be respected but also always accepted, with compassion and with sensitivity (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358). This teaching has to be translated into loving care, in our daily life in the Church, in our parishes, and indeed in society.
But Pope Francis went a little further. He spoke of ‘the Church composed of sinners…..that has doors wide open to receive the needy, the penitent and not only the just.’ He spoke about the duty of pastors always to welcome into the Church those in difficult situations or in trouble. Then he corrected himself saying that we, as pastors, were not simply to welcome them but to go out and find them, just as the Good Shepherd did for those who had drifted away.
At the end of the Synod, in his closing address, Pope Francis said this: ‘Dear brothers and sisters, now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront; to give answers to the many discouragements that surround and suffocate families……May the Lord accompany us and guide us in this journey for the glory of His Name.’
So that is what we must do. I hope, in a while, I will be able to put before you ways in which your prayer and reflection on these themes can be a contribution to this ongoing work of renewal in the life of the Church, in response to the unfailing love of Jesus, under the leadership of Pope Francis and always in union with him.
Cardinal Nichols dampens divorcees' hope of communion
Oct 03, 2014
Mercy has not been the Roman Catholic Church's "strong suit" in the past 30 years, the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said last week. But permitting those who had married after divorce to take communion could not happen without "quite a radical rethink" of teaching, he said.
Speaking in advance of the two-week extraordinary synod on the family which is due to begin in Rome on Sunday, Cardinal Nichols sought to dampen hopes of a dramatic outcome. He compared it to "the first movement of a piece of music", to be followed by the ordinary synod next year, and the "finale" of "whatever the Holy Father concludes".
The extraordinary synod on "the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation", convoked by Pope Francis a year ago, is the first synod on the family since 1980. After the announcement, a questionnaire was issued to Roman Catholics around the world, to elicit their views on issues including contraception, marriage, and celibacy (Comment, 22 November). The results were compiled in a long instrumentum laboris (working letter) released by the Vatican in June.
This was conservative in tone, calling for mercy, but also reiterating the Church's existing teaching. On the question of communion for those married after divorce, it read: "With patience and understanding, she [the Church] must explain to these people that their not being able to celebrate the sacraments does not mean that they are excluded from the Christian life and a relationship with God."
On Tuesday of last week, Cardinal Nichols argued that any marriage that was "truly the place of the conscious, willing acceptance of God's grace can no more be dissolved than the eucharist can be returned to bread, because it is the work of God".
But he acknowledged that mercy had not been the Church's "strong suit" in the past 30 years. It would be, however, "a mistake to say that somehow the gift of God's mercy removes the need for acts of forgiveness and conversion". There was a need to "grasp again, refresh, deepen, what the Church's understanding of marriage as a sacrament really is".
In February, Cardinal Walter Kasper introduced a proposal, at a meeting of cardinals, to allow some divorced RCs who had entered into civil marriage to receive communion without having obtained an annulment or abstaining from sexual relations with their new partner. This has been firmly opposed by several other cardinals.
This month, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, suggested that the synod was more likely to focus on better marriage preparation and wider access to church courts for requesting annulments rather than on changing teaching.
"Problems will be addressed, but any change in doctrinal teachings would be hard, considering the diversity and complexity of these issues," he told Crux. "I do believe bishops will find real pastoral alternatives: profound human problems deserve profound solutions."
Society still values marriage, says Cardinal Nichols
Oct 01, 2014
Many people, including the young, still value the instituion of marriage, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has said.
In an address to the Catholic charity, Marriage Care, on the forthcoming Synod on Marriage and Family Life, Cardinal Nichols said: “There is perhaps a common assumption that the value and importance of marriage, even amongst Catholics, is no longer appreciated. Yet the working document (The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation: Instrumnetum Laboris) informs us that the responses to the consultation…’point out the significant fact that even in the face of very difficult situations, many people, especially the young, see a value in a stable, enduring relationship and express a real desire to marry and form a family.’
“The document also goes on to state that, ‘This desire to marry and form a family is a true sign of the times which should be seen as an opportunity for pastoral ministry.’”
Cardinal Nichols went on to say that the “opportunity for pastoral ministry” was a “key strategic priority” for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales.
Cardinal Nichols said that the way to deal with marriage failure was not to be condemnatory but merciful. He said: “Here, the results from the consultation in preparation for the Synod have reaffirmed Pope Francis’ desire not to avoid challenges. The reality of the critical situations which develop within marriages and families, their break-up and break down, the violence and abuse are clearly acknowledged.
“Marriage failures and the hurt and pain which accompany them, the psychological impact of those failures upon children and families are not changed by condemnation and blame but can be redeemed by mercy and open the way to reconciliation. In this the working document for the Synod is eloquent: ‘The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open, [...] where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems’ (EG, 47). Real pastoral attention is urgently needed to care for these people and bring them healing so that they might continue their journey with the entire ecclesial community. The mercy of God does not provide a temporary cover-up of personal misdeeds, but rather radically opens lives to reconciliation which brings new trust and serenity through true inward renewal. The pastoral care of families, far from limiting itself to a legal point of view, has a mission to recall the great vocation of love to which each person is called and to help a person live up to the dignity of that calling.
“The importance of mercy as the path to reconciliation and forgiveness in human relationships and in relationships with the Church will be, I believe, an important and recurring theme in the reflections of the Extraordinary Synod.”
The cardinal said that Marriage Care, of which he is president, could play a “significant role” in supporting families, He continued: “It is important for this collaboration though, that the marriage preparation and the support for family relationships which Marriage Care provides is not only inspired by the teaching of the Catholic Church but is also faithful to it in all aspects.
“One reason for this is the rich and coherent vision of the human person which is made known in the person of Jesus Christ and proclaimed in the teaching of the Church. It is also the absence of that vision from much of our society which lies at the heart of the challenges we are facing and has resulted in the isolation and privatisation of much family life today.
“Without doubt, the results from the consultation in preparation for the Synod describe the very real pastoral situations in which many couples are living prior to making a commitment to each other in marriage. Notwithstanding therefore the contemporary reality of such relationships and situations in which many couples present themselves for marriage in the Catholic Church, the marriage preparation which we seek to give [must provide not only a strengthening of the human dimensions of the marriage relationship but also its faith dimension both in its inner nature as a reflection of the mystery of Christ and his Church, and in the family's vocation of faithful and continuing witness to Christ in contemporary society.]”
He added: “The Church must also keep foremost in view that any renewal of its pastoral actions in support of the family should also give priority to the needs of children and to the vocation of parenting. Preparation for parenting and support for parents who often experience very great strain in bringing up their children are areas which need to be significantly strengthened within the Church. Again, the experience and history of Marriage Care in these areas have much to offer.”
Nichols made a cardinal
Jan 18, 2014
Vincent Nichols will be made a cardinal at the next consistory on February 22, the Catholic Church in England and Wales confirmed.
Archbishop Nichols said: "Today, I am deeply moved by the honour conferred upon the Catholic Church in England and Wales and on the Diocese of Westminster in my appointment as Cardinal by His Holiness Pope Francis.
"The Catholic Church in our countries has always had a profound and loving loyalty to the Holy Father, the Successor of St Peter. This appointment enables me, on behalf of all, to serve the Pope in a direct and prolonged way.
"Personally, this is a humbling moment when I am asked to take a place in this service of the Holy See and in the line of much loved Cardinal Archbishops of Westminster.
"I seek the blessing of Almighty God for these new responsibilities and I ask for the prayers of all people of faith that I may fulfil them with energy and devotion."
Archbishop Nichols is the 11th Archbishop of Westminster to be named as cardinal.
He will receive the red hat on the Feast of St Peter in Rome at the next consistory of cardinals.
The announcement came during Pope Francis' Angelus in St Peter's Square this morning, in which he created 15 more elector cardinals and three non-elector cardinals.
Born in Crosby, Liverpool, in 1945, Archbishop Nichols studied for the priesthood at the Venerable English College in Rome from 1963 to 1970, gaining licences in philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University.
He was ordained as a priest in Rome in 1969 before taking a MA degree in theology at Manchester University.
In 1984 he was appointed general secretary of the Bishops' Conference in England & Wales and was named Archbishop of Birmingham in 2000 before returning to Westminster in 2009 as Archbishop, the same year he was unanimously elected President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, head of the Church of England, welcomed the news.
He said: " I am absolutely delighted by this well-deserved appointment. Archbishop Nichols has demonstrated clear leadership, personal holiness and immense generosity.
"This strengthens the church in this country."
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu said: "This is wonderful news both for Archbishop Vincent personally and for the Roman Catholic Church in England & Wales.
"During my time serving alongside Archbishop Vincent in Birmingham I was able to witness first hand his passion and commitment for the Church and I am delighted to see that both of these have been recognised in today's announcement.
"It is also good to see that as a passionate fan of Liverpool FC, Archbishop Vincent will be getting a red hat to go with his precious red shirt!"
Nichols, fiori imbarazzanti
Jan 18, 2014
Damian Thompson, del Daily Telegraph, scrive del neo cardinale britannico Vincent Nichols, uno dei due “residenziali” premiati con la porpora nel prossimo Concistoro da papa Francesco. E ricorda che il futuro Principe della Chiesa nel 2009 ha offerto fiori sull’altare delle divinità indiane. La notizia era sul sito diocesano di Westminster. Ma dopo che Damian Thompson ne ha scritto la frase incriminata è stata cancellata dal sito web, un segno evidente di imbarazzo.
Damian Thompson, del Daily Telegraph , si è occupato del neo cardinale britannico Vincent Nichols, uno dei due “residenziali” premiati con la porpora nel prossimo Concistoro da papa Francesco. E ricorda qualche cosa che certamente può essere considerato imbarazzante: e cioè che il futuro Principe della Chiesa nel 2009 ha offerto fiori sull’altare delle divinità indiane. Non era un segreto: la notizia era sul sito diocesano di Westminster. Ma dopo che Damian Thompson ne ha scritto la frase incriminata è stata cancellata dal sito web, un segno evidente di imbarazzo.
La visita ha avuto luogo sabato 21 novembre, durante la Interfaith Week, in occasione del compleanno del leader mondiale degli indù che pregano al Mandir di Neasden, Sua Santità Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
Nichols è stato ricevuto dal responsabile del Mandir, in maniera tradizionale; sulla fronte gli è stato applicato un segno rosso e sul polso è stato legato un filo, in segno di amicizia e di buona volontà. Nel sancta sanctorum del Mandir Nichols ha offerto fiori all’altare delle divinità, e poi davanti alla divinità Shri Nilkanth Varni ha pregato insieme al suo anfitrione per la pace e l’armonia nel mondo.
E’ ovvio che Nichols non crede negli dei – pagani, secondo una prospettiva cristiana – al cui altare ha offerto fiori. Ma l’episodio non testimonia di sicuro a favore della prudenza necessaria nella pratica del dialogo interreligioso. Come d’altronde in un episodio precedente quando a Birmingham permise che una cappella fosse usata per celebrare la nascita di Maometto.
Tutto sarebbe scusabile – agli occhi dei cattolici inglesi che stanno scrivendo commenti pepati sul web – se Nichols non fosse noto come, diciamo, un non simpatizzante del cattolicesimo tradizionale. Scrive un blogger: “Dopo aver sventolato un indice ammonitore verso i Tradizionalisti Anglicani che vogliono entrare nella Chiesa di Roma, l’arcivescovo Nichols sceglie di andare al più grande tempio indù d’Europa per ricevere una benedizione pagana”.
Conclude Thompson: “Si può capire quest’ira. Il leader della Chiesa cattolica in Inghilterra e Galles non ha problemi a prendere parte a cerimonie indù, ma provate a chiedergli di dire messa secondo il Vecchio Rito e non andrete molto lontano”.