Gaspar da Silva writes:
Members of the CU gathered in Ealing over the weekend on the anniversary of the death of their patron St Thomas More (6th July), for their annual Summer Party. In his honour a Votive Mass was celebrated by the retired Bishop Emeritus, the Right Rev’d Bishop Howard Tripp of the Archdiocese of Southwark. In his homily he exhorted the Catholic Union members to emulate their patron in his love of God who shunned human respect and gave his life for his faith. As Catholics in public life we are not to be cowed by the evil around us, Christ has purchased us with his blood. So we need to stand up for the common good at all times. He said though we may be persecuted but as St Matthew reminds us “Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right: theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Happy are you when people abuse and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great on heaven”. (Matt V 11) The Bishop exhorted us never to relinquish public life and cited Blessed John Paul II Cristifideles Laici to underscore and emphasise the need for the catholic laity to participate more in public life for the promotion of the common good in all walks of life. “In order to achieve their task directed to the Christian animation of the temporal order, in the sense of serving persons and society, the lay faithful are never to relinquish their participation in public life, that is, in the many different economic, social, legislative, administrative and cultural areas, which are intended to promote organically and institutionally the common good.”
As part of the programme, two discussion sessions were held – one in the morning after Mass and the other in the afternoon after the lunch break. In his remarks as the lead discussant in the morning session, Lord Brennan lamented that same sex marriage regrettably is expected to become law sometime this year in spite of the heavy opposition against it and the lack of mandate for it. He cited three main areas of concern in which protection is needed for those who support traditional marriage viz: on education, public servants and Registrars with conscientious objection and protection of churches against litigation.
The interval for pre-lunch drinks was the highlight of the day. Members mixed and chatted freely basking in the glorious sunshine in the beautiful gardens of the school with a stunning view stretching for miles. Next was a sumptuous lunch. Feedback of most attendees was “….excellent venue; …..good food and drinks and enjoyable company”
The afternoon session was dominated by issues involving the Parliamentary and Public Affairs Committee. (Viz: Same sex marriage, the Liverpool Care Pathway) the Membership and Communication Committee (membership drive initiatives) as well as the Outreach Committee (Fund Raising). However, the highlight of this session was a period for soul searching and self assessment of the Union by members. A lot of good and indeed, inspiring ideas were mooted and noted for possible action. A new development plan will be completed incorporating a revised strategy for expansion, source of finance and overall implementation.