Light in the noisiness by Stephen Pittman
There’s an awful lot of noise out there right now. An anti-abortion priest is being supported by the former head of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. And the Westminster Government is under fire from the Jesuit Refugee Service for plans to turn back asylum seekers in the middle of the English Channel. The bishops are backing those protesting against the arms fair taking place in London this week. Meanwhile, in Liverpool campaigners are working against the arms fair coming to the city in October. Their demonstration will culminate in a rally at the Metropolitan Cathedral. Yes, there’s an awful lot of noise right now.
Amidst all the noisy news, there are glimmers of light. Pope Francis, the leader of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, Justin Welby, and the head of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, have issued their first joint statement calling on the world to “eat, travel, spend, invest and live differently”. Climate change, they say, is an “urgent matter of survival”. They say we have ““greedily consumed more of the Earth’s resources than the planet can endure”. For these three religious leaders to unite on this pressing ethical issue is more than just a glimmer.
Good news too from some of our young people. CAFOD’s Step Into the Gap programme has encouraged a group of youngsters to spend a gap year helping others. Some are taking a year out before university. Others, like history graduate, Richard Keane, 25, (pictured centre) are having a breather before moving into the workplace. Richard said: “The programme is a terrific opportunity to use my faith to help others, and to make a difference in the world, particularly concerning climate change.”
Would it be inappropriate to be slightly amused by the tale of the Spanish bishop who has left active ministry to live with an author? But it turns out that
Xavier Novell, Spain’s youngest bishop, quit to marry psychologist and erotic novelist, Silvia Caballol. Xavier was known for exorcisms and for supporting gay conversion therapy. Sylvia’s books include The Hell of Gabriel's Lust. Those old jokes about the bishop and the actress pale in comparison.