Style and Substance

I saw this poster on the other side of the world and just knew it might come in handy somewhere.  I’ve been watching Cardinal O’Brien gaining huge media attention before and over the weekend on the subject of embryo research.  Anglican and SEC bishops – do we need to take our Holloways?

Maybe – this is a very important issue and it is clear that many MP’s – not just Catholics- are troubled by it.

I’ll offer three reflections ..

One is that many of us – myself certainly – fall into the ‘pastor -manager’ style of bishoping.  The gain is that we pay attention to the life of the church and act as leaders of mission.  The loss is that we tend not to engage prophetically with the world beyond the church as we should.

Two is that, in terms of authority, Anglican bishops are very much more collegial animals than their Catholic counterparts.  That is both strength and inhibition.

Three is that I can’t imagine myself attempting so directly to affect the actions of legislators.  Prophetic challenge to society – yes.  Direct appeal to MP’s – no and not in some of the language which has been used this weekend.

A quick trawl through the comments about the Cardinal on the BBC website reveals, as one would expect, many people who think he should stick to church-stuff and not get involved in politics.  But thinking people expect and welcome a well-argued, balanced, passionate and compassionate contribution from the churches.  We need to work harder at this.

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