The new archbishop, who by custom becomes a cardinal not long after appointment, will be for England and Wales the visible face of the Catholic Church, by whose performance and utterances it will largely be judged. With one or two reservations, the field is a good one, perhaps better than on previous occasions. There is a wealth of talent among the bishops of England and Wales, leadership potential in the priories and monasteries of those nations, plenty of good intellects waiting for larger challenges. A willingness to take advice and an openness of mind are to be preferred to a fixed agenda, for Britain is a very complex society that needs constant study if it is to be at all understood. [got that? multi-cultural diversity with huge dollops of tolerance, 'kay?] It is a place of paradoxes - secular but not just secular, multicultural but with all the problems of multiculturalism, a place with a firm identity that is unsure of itself. [huh? Double.speak] It needs loving in all its complexity and confusion, therefore, by someone who can convincingly project the compassion and humility of Christ.Now, who could possibly fit that mold. Anyone?
This is no role for a haughty prelate. [that means no foo-foo vestments and all that Baroque triumphalism] One who merely berates the English and Welsh for their ungodliness will not be listened to - vision is always better than condemnation. [tell me, when was the last time an Archbishop of Westminster actually scolded the British for their ungodliness?] Nor one whose main concern seems to be the protection of sectional interests: Catholic schools matter, but so do all schools. [yeah, 'cuz we need to continue the current trend of caving in to secularists demands...God forbid that Catholic schools teach, like, Catholicism. Horrors! And don't even touch on same-sex adoptions, we're tired of hearing about it.] The Catholic Church has to be led away from the habit of thinking that the affairs of the rest of society are more the business of the Church of England, or indeed of only engaging with moral questions when there is a clear "Catholic" agenda. [so hide your lamp, okay?] It is by proving its devotion to the welfare of society in general that the Church gains the right to be listened to.
The right person will be a clear and coherent thinker and be able to convey that fact through the media. He will have a good understanding of how secular and political power works, for he will come up against it often. Leaders make mistakes - it is the human condition - and one task of the present cardinal's successor will be to have an unsentimental view of his inheritance, and of what now needs a touch on the tiller the other way. [down with St. George as the patron saint of England...down with hot-cross buns and Piglet and no TLM]. It is in the character of the Catholics of England and Wales to look towards their cardinal with great love and esteem, and they deserve someone worthy of that. Given the qualities of the candidates available, they are not likely to be disappointed.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Profile of the New Archbishop of Westminster
...so says The Tablet