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Significant Scots
Cardinal Thomas Winning


Scotland's 'Cardinal Controversy'
Died Sunday 17th June 2001

Cardinal WinningCardinal Thomas Winning, Scotland's most senior Roman Catholic, was, as his nickname suggests, not unaccustomed to heated public debate.

In recent times "Cardinal Controversy" found himself under fire for a range of issues.

He was strongly against abortion and criticised Tony Blair for his stance on abortion and Boots the chemist for giving condoms to teenagers

He was also an opponent of the increasing availability of the morning after pill

The controversy over the repeal of Section 28, the law outlawing the promotion of homosexuality in schools, saw Cardinal Winning at his most forthright.

The cardinal compared homosexuality to a physical handicap and fiercely opposed the Scottish Executive plan to repeal Section 28.

Cardinal Winning, who was 76 when he died, was unapologetic for his forthright nature: "I get letters from people saying I shouldn't meddle in politics.

"I let my conscience and my instincts guide me."

He told a newspaper interviewer: "I don't do it to get a kick out of it. I do it because it's the right thing for me to do.

"When the country stops paying attention to what the church is saying, then we really are in a bad way.

Cardinal Winning with baby
Cardinal Winning was known for speaking his mind
"To be able to put forward the Christian viewpoint in a way that makes people think, I regard that as a role I have in society."

The son of a miner and steel worker who lost his job during the Depression, Thomas Winning grew up in Motherwell.

"Being Catholic wasn't always convenient," he recalled.

"There was one part of the main street down to the school where you were apt to be caught by the jersey and asked if you were a Protestant or a Catholic.

"Many's the time I denied my faith to get to school on time."

Pope's visit

In December 1998, he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest after studying at the Scots College in Rome.

He took his vows in St John Lateran's Basilica, the Pope's own cathedral.

One of the high points in his lifetime came in 1982, when the Pope's visit to Scotland was set to be cancelled because of the Falklands War.

But Archbishop Winning worked behind the scenes and the trip was saved when the Pope decided to visit Argentina as well as Scotland.

The resulting gathering at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow was the biggest gathering of Scottish Catholics.

In 1994, he became a cardinal - only the second cardinal resident in Scotland since the Reformation.

Thousands of pilgrims travelled to Rome for the occasion, during which the Pope said: "You have always been what is called a man of the people."

Miner's son

Cardinal Winning, a miner's son from Wishaw in Lanarkshire, was in his early 30s when he caught the eye of The Vatican and the Pope and was made Spiritual Director of the Scots College in Rome.

He was only 49 when he became Archbishop of Glasgow.

And in 1994 he made history when he joined the elite of the Pope's closest advisers, Glasgow's first ever cardinal and only the third Scottish cardinal since the Reformation.

Cardinal Winning made the Catholic voice more high-profile than ever in his native Scotland.

He was accustomed to becoming involved in heated public debate, gaining him the nickname Cardinal Controversy.

In 1997, he accused Tony Blair of gagging Labour MPs opposed to abortion.

Later that year he launched a scheme dubbed cash for babies where women were offered counselling and financial support as an alternative to abortion.

While backing a Scottish Parliament, he did not hold back in his criticisms of its policies urging it to be radical in its social policy.

He became a high profile backer of the campaign, promoted by Stagecoach millionaire Brian Souter, to keep Section 28, the law which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools.


Tributes paid to cardinal

Cardinal Thomas Winning

Tributes have been paid to the leader of Scotland's catholics

Tributes are being paid to Cardinal Thomas Winning, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.

Cardinal Winning died at his home in Glasgow on Sunday, at the age of 76.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, praised the "humour, dedication, and utter loyalty" of the cardinal.

And Scotland's politicians were deeply saddened by the death of a man described as a "staunch advocate of the values and principles which should underpin our society".

Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor
Archbishop Murphy-O'Connor: "Close friend"
Archbishop Murphy-O'Connor said: "I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Cardinal Tom Winning.

"He was an outstanding leader of the church in Scotland and beyond.

"His humour, dedication, utter loyalty and unstinting defence of the Catholic church will long be remembered.

"I deeply mourn a close friend. Catholics in England and Wales will join with those in Scotland in prayer for the repose of the soul of a good shepherd and pastor, may he rest in peace."

A mass will be said for the Cardinal at Westminster Cathedral, in Victoria Street, central London, at 1730BST on Monday.

Scotland's First Minister Henry McLeish said Cardinal Winning was a man he "greatly respected and admired".

A spokesman for Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace echoed the sentiments of Mr McLeish.

The leader of the Scottish National Party John Swinney said he was "extremely saddened".

He said: "He was well-loved and will be sorely missed by the whole nation."

 

Alex Salmond MP
Alex Salmond: "Fearless fighter"
The leader of the SNP at Westminster Alex Salmond said he was proud to count Cardinal Winning as one of his friends.

"I think he will be remembered as a fearless fighter for the poor and dispossessed.

"Sometimes during the 1980s, he was almost a one-man opposition to Thatcher's social policies.

"He was never feart. He would take on any establishment and he took on that establishment at the height of its powers."

The Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer Sir David Steel said the cardinal will be "greatly missed not just by his own flock but by the whole country".

"He will be remembered for his robust contributions to public debate on a range of issues. He tried to lift the eyes of Scots from our own problems to the third world."

Tory leader David McLetchie
David McLetchie: "Great moral leader"
Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie said: "I was very sorry to hear of the death of Cardinal Winning. He was one of the most eminent and distinguished churchmen Scotland has produced.

"He was also a great moral leader, and a staunch advocate of the values and principles which should underpin our society."

Secretary of State for Scotland Helen Liddell joined in the tributes, saying she was "greatly saddened" by the death of the cardinal.

"He was a man of great vision and immense social conscience," said Mrs Liddell.

"As the first prince of the Catholic church in Scotland, he was a well-liked and respected figure who strove throughout his life to improve the lives of all Scots.

Helen Liddell
Helen Liddell: "Greatly saddened"
"He was particularly concerned by the problems of poverty, and worked tirelessly to help those in most need. He will be sadly missed by Scots of all denominations."

A spokesman for First Minister Henry McLeish said the death will be a "tremendous loss".

Prime Minister Tony Blair was said to be "shocked and saddened to hear of Cardinal Winning's sudden death".

A statement issued by Downing Street said of Cardinal Winning: "His strong moral leadership and commitment to social justice were renowned.

"His energy, commitment and passionate defence of the core values of the Catholic church and faith were recognised by all. He will be greatly missed."

Chancellor Gordon Brown, MP for Dunfermline East, said: "Cardinal Winning will be sorely missed. He was a great Scot and a great Christian.

"I was proud to know him and his great achievements will be remembered for many years to come.

"He was a passionate opponent of poverty both in Britain and in the Third World."

Some photographs from the funeral service

Scotland's First Ministers arriving from the service Prince Edward arriving for the service Glasgow Cathedral The Service

The Service Bishop of Motherwell Cardinal Winning photograph on service book Communion being given outside Cathedral

Prince Edward and Glasgow Lord Provost The service Cardinal Winnings family

The coffin The coffin The coffin

Mini Biography

G.C.H.S., S.T.L., D.C.L., D.D., D. UNIV., LL.D., F.E I.S.

Born, Wishaw, Scotland, 3rd June, 1925 only son of Thomas Winning and Agnes Winning (nee Canning) brother of Margaret Winning, now Mrs Edward McCarron.

Educated at St. Patrick's Primary School, Shieldmuir and Our Lady's High School, Motherwell.

Accepted as a student for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, completed philosophy studies at St. Mary's College, Blairs, 1941 -1943

Theology studies began at St. Peter's College, Bearsden, Glasgow and, at the end of the Second World War, one of the first group of students to return to Rome to the newly re-opened Pontifical Scots College. Studied there from 1946 - 1949.

In 1948, two Suffragan Sees created from the territory of the Archdiocese of Glasgow and in this re-organisation became a student of the newly erected Diocese of Motherwell.

Ordained priest in Rome on 18th December, 1948, for the Diocese of Motherwell.

Graduated, Gregorian University, 1949 - STL (Licence in Sacred Theology), returned to Scotland, appointed assistant priest at St. Aloysius, Chapelhall until 1950.

In 1950 returned to the Scots College, Rome, studied Canon Law, Gregorian University - DCL (Doctor of Canon Law), 1953.

Assistant Priest, St. Mary's, Hamilton from 1953 to 1957; Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral, Motherwell from 1957 - 1958. Secretary, Diocese of Motherwell, 1956 - 1961.

Chaplain to the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception, Bothwell 1958 -1961.

Spiritual Director, Pontifical Scots College, Rome 1961 - 1966; qualified as an Advocate of the Sacred Roman Rota, 1965.

Parish Priest, Saint Luke's, Motherwell, Officialis of Motherwell Diocesan Tribunal and Vicar Episcopal for Marriage in Motherwell Diocese from 1966 until 1970.

First President and Officialis of the newly established Scottish National Tribunal, Glasgow, 1970 -1972.

On 22nd October, 1971, nominated to the Titular See of Louth as auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Glasgow; ordained to the episcopacy by Archbishop James Donald Scanlan in Glasgow on 30th November, 1971. Vicar General, Archdiocese of Glasgow 1971 - 1974 and parish priest of Our Holy Redeemer Parish, Clydebank 1972 - 1974.

Translated to the Archdiocese of Glasgow on 23rd April, 1974 on the retirement of Archbishop James Donald Scanlan.

President, Justice and Peace Commission of Bishops' Conference of Scotland 1973 - 1977.

President, National Commission for Social Welfare of Bishops' Conference of Scotland 1974 - 1984.

President of the Catholic Education Commission, Bishops' Conference of Scotland 1977 - current

Member of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 1978 to 1984.

President, Bishops' Conference of Scotland 1985 - current

Delegate, Bishops' Conference of Scotland, to COMECE (The Bishops' Conferences of the European Union) 1990 - 1996

Member of CCEE (The Bishops' Conferences of Europe)

Honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity, The University of Glasgow, 1983;
Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland, 1986;
Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre and Grand Prior of the Scottish Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, 1989; promoted to Knight Grand Cross 1995,
honorary degree of Doctor of the University, University of Strathclyde, 1992;
honorary degree of Doctor of Law (Aberdeen University) 1996.

Created Cardinal Priest, 26 November, 1994, by His Holiness Pope John Paul II with the Title of S. Andrea delle Fratte.

Member, President's Committee, Pontifical Council for the Family (Dec 1994 - Current).

Member, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Dec 1994 - Current).

17th March, 1997 - Appointed Special Envoy of the Holy Father to the Saint Columba Celebrations in the Dioceses of Derry and Raphoe, Ireland, in June of 1997

9TH MARCH
1997
REF M1-97

SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN
ADDRESS BY CARDINAL THOMAS J. WINNING
AT CALEDONIAN UNIVERSITY

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all Iíd like to thank you for the invitation to speak to you about the pro-life issue in these weeks leading up to the General Election campaign.

As you may have noticed, it is an issue which Iíve once or twice (!) highlighted in recent months, not necessarily to the liking of politicians of varying persuasions.

What I want to do today is share with you some of my thoughts on this issue and encourage you in your work of highlighting the slaughter of the innocents which takes place day in and day out in hospitals and clinics all round Britain.

Before I do that I want to tell you a story.

In many ways itís not an uncommon story, but itís a tragic one nevertheless.

There was once a man named Bernard. Bernard was a married man, but was compulsively promiscuous. One day Bernard was told by a woman with whom he was having a relationship that she was pregnant with his child. Bernard, being what most of the media would term a practical sort of chap, decided there was only one thing for it. He demanded that she terminate the pregnancy as a condition of the relationship continuing.

The woman in question accepted his condition and the baby was aborted.

A tragic story? Yes few people would disagree with that.

But thereís more to it than that. Something more sinister.

Bernard was a doctor by profession.

He was an expert in obstetrics and gynacology.

Bernard was an accomplished abortionist in his own right.

Bernard killed his own child.

But thereís more. In a book published recently Bernard went on to explain the procedure, and then said, in words that remind one of the famous Goya painting of Saturn devouring her children:

"You pursue me. You ask if perhaps for a fleeting moment or so I experienced a flicker of regret, a microgram of remorse?

"No and No."

Thatís a harrowing story, that just happens to be true. And it reveals clearly the mentality of the abortionist - another job well done, another deminstration of the moral neutrality of advanced technology in the hands of the amoral.

That, my friends, is the mentality we are up against in our struggle for life.

For a long time Iíve been searching for a satisfactory reason for societyís general refusal to recognise abortion for what it really is, namely, directly depriving an unborn baby of life.

Of course there can be more than one explanation for this failure to analyse the problem correctly.

For some the explanation will be a purely selfish one - "I believe that the unborn baby is a human being, but it is unwanted for personal and social reasons, so Iím quite prepared to ask for its removal."

The fact that this removal involves the death of the unborn baby is usually cushioned by the sanitised way the operation is carried out.

But what it means is that motives of personal convenience are now sufficient to sign a childís death warrant.

Other people may fail to see the reality of what they are doing because the pro-abortion lobby have succeeded very well in creating a vocabulary of their own which cushions the impact.

Last week in the Scotsman newspaper, one of our most eminent moral theologians, Fr George Donaldson had a letter published which exposed the powerful way language is used to distract people from the reality of abortion - namely killing.

In it he quoted Jane Roe of the Abortion Law Reform Association, who appeared on the BBCís Womanís Hour last year. She was asked why her group calls itself "pro-choice". She was honest enough to answer frankly.

"Itís partly a campaigning tactic," she said. "We know people support choice. They are happy. If you ask them if they support a womanís right to choose, almost 100 % say yes.

"If you say abortion on request" itís slightly fewer.

"And if you say abortion on demand" itís fewer still, when ALL THREE MEAN EXACTLY THE SAME THING."

These words, remember, are not mine. These are the words of those who want - letís be blunt about it - abortion on demand.

When you analyse the subtleties of our opponents on this issue, itís perhaps easier to understand why some people almost sleepwalk into the abortionistís clinic.

I feel increasingly convinced that the most satisfactory explanation for societyís failure to call a spade a spade is that society itself has a flawed judgement. And that flaw is due to the fact that people are no longer anchored in a stable set of values and principles by which to live their lives.

That means that the over-riding touchstone of morality becomes "does it suit me?"

When that mentality takes over - and already it is making dangerous inroads - then all of us are at risk. First the unborn, then the frail elderly, then the disabled, then the sick and before you know it we have a society where people are no longer valued for who they are but what they are worth.

Pope John Paul has a name for that kind of sick society.

He calls it "The Culture of Death".

Itís against that culture of death that we are called to fight. And today I want to announce a bold new initiative which I hope will begin to turn the tide in some way.

Today I issue an open invitation to any woman, any family, any couple who may be facing the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy.

I strenously urge any person in that situation, of any ethnic background, of any faith, from anywhere, to come to the Archdiocese of Glasgow for assistance.

Today I can announce a new set of provisions which have been put in place to help you.

Whatever worries or cares you may have ... we will help you.

If you need pregnancy testing or counselling ... we will help you.

If you want help to cope with raising the baby on your own ... we will help you.

If you want to discuss adoption of your unborn child ... we will help you.

If you need financial assistance, or help with equipment for your baby and feel financial pressures will force you to have an abortion ... we will help you.

If you cannot face your family, or if pressure in your local area is making you consider abortion, come to us, we will help find you somewhere to have your baby surrounded by support and encouragement. We will help you.

And finally, if you have had an abortion. If you are torn apart with guilt, if your relationship has split up because of abortion, if you are suffering from post abortion stress - come to us, we will help you.

This invitation, I repeat, is open to all. Irrespective of age, creed or colour.

Today I urge anyone in that situation ... Let us help you to avoid making one of the biggest mistakes of your life.

Call us at our archdiocesan headquarters from tomorrow onwards. We will help you in whatever way you need.

I make this pledge today as a genuine and practical response from the Archdiocese of Glasgow to this fundamental problem facing society.

I feel our efforts to offer every practical help, and provide every alternative to abortion complements your work to raise political awareness of the issue.

Your role as campaigners for political change is different from ours. What Iíve just spelled out is the Churchís practical response to the problem of abortion. Your role is to change minds and hearts among those who have the power to shape our society for good or for evil.

We co-operate very well and we share the same ultimate goal. I want to congratulate you today for all you have achieved in the last 30 years. From small beginnings when barely a couple of dozen MPs voted against the 1967 abortion bill we now have several hundred members of parliament who can be relied upon to vote to uphold the right to life of the unborn child.

Much of that success is due to the work of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child.

But even away from the parliamentary lobby, in your daily work, in your quiet apostolate with your friends and colleagues your efforts do have an effect.  

Let me read you a passage written by someone who was no friend of the pro-life movement, yet was moved by the integrity of the people who campaigned ceaselessly against abortion.   

He writes: "They prayed, they supported each other, they sang hymns of joy and they constantly reminded each other of the absolute prohibition against violence. They prayed for unborn babies, for the confused and pregnant women, and for the doctors and nurses in the clinic. They even prayed for the police and the media who were covering the event.   

"And I wondered: how can these people give of themselves for a constituency that is (and always will be) mute, invisible and unable to thank them?"   

The man who wrote these words is someone you already know.   His name is Bernard.   He is the father who aborted his own child.   

Over time Bernard Nathanson - thatís his full name - did see the light. He saw more than that. With the aid of new technology he saw the child in the womb.   He saw that what he had been aborting by the thousand was in fact a human being. By the time he realised that, he had killed 75,000 babies.   

In recent years Bernard Nathanson has stopped performing abortions and become one of the best known advocates of the pro-life cause in the United States.   What changed his mind, was the witness of people like you.   

Thatís why I want to end this contribution with an appeal to you, not to lose heart.   Your efforts may sometimes seem to go unrewarded, but you can be sure that slowly and surely you are having an effect.   

For evidence of that you only need look at the recent outrage at the abortion of the healthy twin; of the pressure to abort the octuplets last year or the recent furore over calls by a nobel prize winner to abort children who would not turn out to be good at music.   

Public opinion is turning. It may be slow, but itís turning.   And I think that we have good grounds for hope that in the new millenium we will see the culture of death with which we are currently grappling, give way to something new.   

Pope John Paul has a name for that something new too. He calls it a "civilisation of life."   

Thanks to you and people like you, that civilisation of love is beginning to take shape.   

Thank you.

CARDINAL SPARKS OUTRAGE AFTER CALLING HOMOSEXUALITY "A PERVERSION"

GLASGOW (CWNews.com) - Scotland's Cardinal Thomas Winning came under fire yesterday after he branded homosexuality a "perversion."

Speaking in support of businessman Brian Souter who has offered millions of British pounds to help fight the repeal of Clause 28 -- the so-called anti-homosexual law -- the cardinal said: "I deplore homosexual acts."

"I hesitate to use the word perversion but let's face up to the truth," he said. "What pains me is that the silent majority are so silent that the silence is deafening. I wish to God they would speak up. But when you do say something about it, you are accused of homophobia which is absolute rubbish."

He added, "I have no objection to anybody. I'm supposed to love my neighbor and I try to do that as much as I can. But I will not stand for this kind of behavior which is now being regarded as wholesome and healthy."

He continued: "Homosexuality is promoted every day. It's promoted by people who are on the streets, it's promoted by people who are attracted to others. We only need to look at some of the pamphlets available to see just exactly what is in place to put into schools. I am concerned that children might be converted by some of the literature. There's no doubt about it."

A Look at What Is.

On 17 January 1999, Cardinal Thomas Joseph Winning, Archbishop of Glasgow, celebrated Mass in thanksgiving for his golden jubilee of priesthood. In his homily, printed here, the Cardinal reflected on the role of the shepherd, and on family life and priesthood.

One of my earliest experiences as a young student in Rome was my first visit to the catacombs. It was there that I first saw the second century statue of the Good Shepherd, Jesus. The young shepherd cradling a lamb with a sheep at his side has become my favourite image of Jesus who in turn is my icon of priesthood.

A shepherd's job is both simple and complex. Keep an eye on the flock; but make sure they have enough to eat and drink; and are protected. As they munch and munch and munch, there is nothing much the shepherd can do but be there.

Many a shepherd has profited from the time to sit around and contemplate and reflect. Some of the saints found their first hours of contemplation guarding sheep.

Someone has described contemplation as taking a long loving look at what is and I would go along with that. Jesus was inclined that way: "The kingdom of God is like a treasure ... consider the lilies of the field."

His contemplation led him to spending the night in prayer before making decisions, planning the formation of his disciples and taking a long loving look at what is. All the words are crucial: "at what is": at what there is - around me, about me, not of my doing, not "at what I have" - that would be a self-centred, navel-gazing exercise.

After fifty years of active ministry there are areas in my life I can take a long loving look at. And the first of these is family life. The family is the smallest but the most precious cell in human society. It is where, naturally, love presides and life-values are passed on from one generation to the next. That this does not happen in all families is a human tragedy.

For some sections of our contemporary society the husband-wife-children family is only one model amongst many. As a Christian I have to acknowledge the reality of other family forms, but for me and my Church there is only one model according to divine and natural law, and the sooner society returns to it, the healthier we will all be. The model: husband, wife, child, in a stable environment.

Currently, the family is undergoing a traumatic period and there can be little doubt that there are very well organised and resourced forces at work in our society which are hell-bent - and I use those words advisedly - on destroying the Christian family. To those people I say: you will not conquer. You will not succeed in destroying the Catholic Church's commitment to the family whether you use all-out assaults on the institution of marriage or try to trick us under the guise of political correctness into accepting all sorts of lifestyles which are quite simply unacceptable to the Christian.

I have been greatly influenced by my family and by my bigger family, the family of God. Here what has bonded me to this family in a concrete existential way has been the kindness and openness, the humility and at times the powerlessness of the members.

Jesus once looked on the crowds and felt sad. They were harassed and "looked like sheep without a shepherd". Fortunately, the family of God here has no lack of shepherds, and I have learnt and am still learning from the example and the self-sacrificing life of my brother priests. They are truly "men for others".

We live in an era of unending change: theological and social factors have seen many changes in the priestly office and the priest's own personal understanding of his office. Without prejudice to the unchanging nature of the institution of the Catholic priesthood, the concrete form the priestly ministry assumes in the course of the history of the Church can and should undergo modifications to meet current needs. In such a period of transition we priests must maintain an attitude of patience and courage with ourselves, our office and the Church we serve: to learn to live with those factors that the world questions because it fails to view them from a faith perspective, and so regards them as outdated and even impossible to maintain.

What we have to do, and I hope are doing, is that while we may legitimately ask ourselves what the active ministry will be like in a hundred years, this is far from society's fascination for prophesying or from a capricious conjuring up of wishful thinking and dreams. We should never allow the world's opinion of us to paralyse our ministry or minimise our firm and unquestioning conviction of faith that the priesthood we share will always exist in the Church.

Sometimes people say the morale of the clergy is low. The morale of teachers is low because of the extra demands made on them in recent years. The morale of young doctors is low because of the excessive hours they have to work. The morale of nurses is low because they are overworked and underpaid.

But the morale of the clergy is not low for those reasons. They do not feel down because they are underpaid. Nor, may I say, do they feel low because of the commitment to celibacy. They feel hurt when they see society rejecting everything they stand for, and when the media and the secular society try to push God out of people's lives.

It is human to fall short of ideals; but as long as we cherish and aim for those ideals, there is life and the capacity to be revitalised. To my mind, a long, loving look at what is must bring about a surge of gratitude and gratefulness.

To the little child everything is a wonderful gift. In fact we will remain ever young if we retain that sense of wonder and awe at what the hand of the Lord offers us.

Today as you celebrate fifty years of priesthood with me, I wish to say to my brother priests, for as long as I remember the priest has been a model for me. You have continued to reflect that image in my mind. Not once in my life as a bishop has a priest refused to undertake a role I offered, no matter how arduous or demanding.

The bond between bishop and priest is a sacramental, ecclesial, invisible one. There is no written contract of employment, only a commitment to Jesus Christ and the Church. If that commitment degenerates, the Church has no real hold and indeed would not want to have one. What keeps each of you active as priests is your faith in Jesus Christ and no other consideration - certainly no material benefit. That is why I include you in my list of gifts from the Lord.

When I was a young priest the clergy rarely talked shop at meals together. Since Vatican II, life has become more serious, but we have never lost our collective sense of humour, and even in the saddest of circumstances there is still the ability to laugh, the ability to love life, to feel fulfilled, to take a long loving look at what is, and to say, "Deo gratias".


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