Tag Archives: Pope Francis

Pope’s Encyclical published ‘Care for our Common Home’

Pope Francis’s encyclical is focused on the idea of connecting care of the natural world with justice for the poorest and most vulnerable people. Only by radically reshaping our relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the natural world, he says, can we hope to tackle the threats facing our planet today. Click to view this encyclical which forms part of the Church’s social teaching.

The New Archbishop of Liverpool

The Catholic Union of Great Britain welcomes with great enthusiasm, the Holy Father’s announcement last Friday, 21st March 2014, of his appointment of the Rt Rev’d Malcolm McMahon OP, Bishop of Nottingham, as Archbishop-Elect of Liverpool.

Reacting to this news, Catholic Union Chairman Robert Rigby said “The news of Archbishop-elect Malcolm’s appointment is wonderful for the people and clergy of Liverpool.  The new Archbishop brings with him a pastoral zeal and intellectual rigour, reflecting his Dominican background, which will be of immense service in his new responsibilities.  Traditionally the Archdiocese of Liverpool has been a stronghold of Catholic life and values – in our increasingly secular society, the voice of the Catholic laity, in partnership with the clergy, is one that needs to be heard.  The Catholic Union looks forward to working with the Archbishop-Elect in the months and years ahead.”

Vincent Cardinal Nichols’ views on the Consistory 24th February 2014

“The Consistory and the Mass with Pope Francis yesterday were for me first of all a very vivid reminder of the experience of the universality of the Church. I think everybody has said that – Pope Francis has said so himself but to be among 18 new Cardinals from 15 different countries and only four of the Europeans, begins to make it very clear where the strength of Catholicism lies and how important it is that the College of Cardinals reflects that diversity and universality of the Church. So now I sit next to a Cardinal from Managua and he and I will slowly get to know each other. It reminds me over and over again to think of the Church purely from the point of view of Europe is not to see the whole picture.

“The second thing that struck me very forcefully over these last few days is the depth and richness of friendships that the Church helps to nurture in people. The English College was crowded with over 200 – 250 people yesterday – I suppose some contact with me was a common factor  – but there and in the courtesy visits (in the Pope Paul VI Hall)  on Saturday what fascinated me was  to see the way in which people were speaking to each other –  they were catching up, making friendships,  making contacts with each other. There was just such a depth of delight and warmth about this whole weekend which strikes me – sharing faith creates friendships. There is human friendship but when its lived and experienced in this richness of the family of faith then it is really deepened.

“A single phrase I will take home with me is from the homily of Pope Francis when he makes such emphasis on the experience of faith, the content of faith – the business of walking with Jesus  each day.   He didn’t come to teach us good manners he didn’t come to give us an ideology, he came simply to walk with us each day and will teach us each day the compassion the forgiveness, the openness of heart, the patience that we need for the day.

“One other thing I will take back is a sense of pride in the choir of Westminster Cathedral which came and sang at the two pontifical events and young Colin – who sang the Psalm in St Peter’s yesterday, the senior boys chorister.  The richness of the tradition of English Church music {was there for all to see}. It was a wonderful moment. The quality of their voices just echoed round the buildings there. It was a very personal and intimate meeting and a gift.”

Continuing, Cardinal Nichols said a major priority is a concern for the poor. One of his first tasks will be to chair the second international conference on human trafficking which takes place in Rome on the 9th and 10th of April. He said:  “This is a very important initiative to counter the scourge of trafficking around the world.”  The head of Interpol and representatives from at least 14 police forces around the world will be taking part, he said.  The Catholic Church in England, particularly women’s religious orders have been working closely with victims of human trafficking offering them support, safe refuges, help with re-integration or support if they wish to return to their home countries.  In order to raise awareness there is now a Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking – and a patron saint of victims of human trafficking – St Josephine Bakhita, who experienced slavery herself.

Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster January 2014

The Catholic Union sends its warmest congratulations to the Archbishop of Westminster, The Most Reverend Vincent Nicholls, on the news of the Holy Father’s announcement today in Rome, that he is to be raised to the College of Cardinals at the forthcoming consistory in Rome on 22nd February.

Chairman Robert Rigby commented, “This is indeed a great day for the Church in England and Wales.  On behalf of the Catholic Union, I send my heartiest congratulations to Archbishop – Cardinal Elect – Vincent and assure him of our continued prayers and support for his ministry to the Church in this country”.

London, Feast of The Baptism of the Lord, 12th January 2014

Press Release – Peace in Syria and Gender Based Abortion


LONDON, 7th September 2013


The Catholic Union welcomes the Holy Father’s call for a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria today, Saturday, 7th September.  As has been seen in the House of Commons Vote last week, the case for going to war in Syria is by no means clear and the number of MPS who either voted against or abstained from the motion to engage British forces in Syria is testament to this fact.  The Catholic Union further welcomes the Holy Father’s letter to President Putin and the G20 Summit leaders, presently meeting in St Petersburg, calling for negotiation rather than armed intervention; sentiments echoed by several religious groups in Syria.  It is always necessary in these instances to apply the criteria of the various elements which determine whether such military intervention as advocated by some, fulfils the norms of a Just War.  A peaceful, just outcome is preferable to a long drawn out military campaign, with shifting parameters and priorities.

The Catholic Union notes the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute in the case of two doctors who were asked, but who did not, undertake abortions, on the grounds of gender, on two Asian women, who sought terminations as the child each was carrying was a girl.  By referring the matter to the General Medical Council (GMC), the CPS has indicated that its action has been decided by the fact that there were no victims in this case, as no abortions took place.  Nevertheless the Catholic Union views these developments with concern.  Clearly the clinics concerned were happy to consider these terminations on grounds of gender, itself a breach of the law.  The Catholic Union is clear that it supports and upholds the Church’s teaching on abortion, that it is intrinsically wrong and that life begins at conception.  Whilst it is of course vital to assist and support mothers who find themselves in sometimes unexpected and difficult circumstances, there are always other options to consider such as adoption and family support, which preserves and upholds the sanctity of life and the family.  There can be no justification for abortion, especially not on grounds of gender.  It is to be hoped that the GMC will uphold this precept, so that the sanctity of life and human dignity may be preserved.