New Bishop of Portsmouth Challenges the Culture of Death

Bishop Egan's homily at his installment as the new Bishop of Portsmouth...
'Dear fellow pilgrims on life's journey, we inhabit a remarkable century, the 21st, which despite the current economic distemper, is witnessing momentous advances in every domain of human knowledge and endeavour, with new discoveries and new applications in science and engineering, in computing and cybernetics, in medicine and bio-technology, in the social sciences, arts and humanities, all of which manifest the limitless self-transcending reach of human experience, understanding and judgement and the cloud of burgeoning possibilities for human deciding, undreamt of by those who've gone before.
Indeed, even as we speak, Curiosity is roving among the sand-dunes of Mars, in anticipation of a manned space-voyage to the Red Planet. With all these exhilarating developments, the Catholic Tradition must engage, the old with the new, in a mutually-enriching critical-conversation.
Yet the ordination of a Bishop, as Successor of the Apostles, in communion of mind, will and heart with the Pope, as the chief Shepherd, Teacher and High Priest of the diocese entrusted to him, who, like the Master, must lay down his life for his flock, reminds us that human needs ever remain essentially the same: the need to love and to be loved, the need for a purpose and vocation in life, the need to belong to family and community, the need for mercy and forgiveness, for peace and justice, for freedom and happiness, and most profoundly, the need for immortality and for the Divine.
All these fundamental desires, hard-wired into the human heart: theology expresses in the word 'salvation,' and we profess that every child, woman and man on this planet can find that salvation. There is a Way - and it's the Truth! It's the true Way that leads to Life, real life, life to the full, a life that never ends. There is a Way, and it's not a strategy, a philosophy or a package-deal. This Way has a Name, because it's a Person, the only Person in human history who really did rise from the dead, a Person alive here and now: Jesus of Nazareth, God the Son Incarnate. He alone can save us. He alone can give us the salvation our spirits crave. He alone can reveal to us the Truth about God and about life, about happiness and humanism, about sexuality and family values, about how to bring to the world order, justice, reconciliation and peace.

This message of Good News, and the civilisation of love it occasions, we Catholics must now communicate imaginatively, with confidence and clarity, together with our fellow Christians, and all people of faith and good will, to the people of England, this wonderful land, Mary's Dowry. We must offer this salvific message to a people, sorely in need of new hope and direction, disenfranchised by the desert of modern British politics, wearied by the cycle of work, shopping, entertainment, and betrayed by educational, legal, medical and social policy-makers who, in the relativistic world they're creating, however well-intentioned, are sowing the seeds of a strangling counterculture of death.
My brothers and sisters, today, the Feast of Our Lady of Ransom, of England's Nazareth, let's go forth from this Mass with joyful vigour, resolved in the Holy Spirit, to help bring about the conversions needed - intellectual, moral and spiritual - for everyone-we-meet to receive Jesus Christ, the Gospel of Life.... Please pray for me to the Lord Jesus, whose Heart yearns for us in the Blessed Sacrament, that I might be a humble and holy, orthodox, creative and courageous, Bishop of Portsmouth, one fashioned after the Lord's own.'


Lynda said…
We are crying out for a true Bishop such as this in Ireland! We have none to defend us against the attacks on life, faith, marriage, family, the true interests of our children, etc. I am happy for the people of Portsmouth and England. Dear Lord, protect him from the enemies of the Church and of truth and justice.
Savonarola said…
You and the bishop should try going and living in North Korea or Afghanistan or the DR Congo - then you could talk about a culture of death. To smear in this way Western democracy which certainly faces many problems but is still more caring of people's health, education, social advancement than any other human society has ever been is shameful nonsense. Catholics badly need to get real.
Veritas said…
I suspect that David Alton has visited more the trouble spots in the world than most people.

And he has taken practical and effective steps to ameliorate the situations in these areas. (Check out Jubilee Campaign

Jubilee Campaign works on behalf of children at risk worldwide, as well as for individuals of any faith who are persecuted for their beliefs or humanitarian actions.

But he also speaks out with great courage about the killing of unborn children in the Western world.

And (need I add?) the Catholic Church provides more medical facilities, educational establishments and personel in the poorer parts of the world than any other organisation.
Savanarola - please enlighten us all as to how we get real?
Trisagion said…
Savonarola, Since 1967 we have allowed Nearly 8 million babies to be killed in the womb. Our NHS has adopted a widespread use of the Liverpool Care Pathway and DNR mandates, whilst removing ANHR for those in so-called vegetative states. We have created so deep a contraceptive mentality that more than a third of women have so come to see children as such an inconvenience that they will never be mothers. Counterculture of death sounds pretty accurate to me.
Savonarola said…
Parate Viam Domini, get real means be aware of the reality of things. Nobody would deny that Western societies face huge problems of many kinds, not least the terrible continual increase in numbers of abortions. But it is unreal not to acknowledge that such societies in their care of people and their lives are on the whole much better than many others and previous ages, especially ages when the Christian religion was part of the ruling establishment and dominant ideology (the 18th century say or the Victorian era), when most of the social problems we face today were much worse, when poverty, malnutrition, deprivation of all the good things of life, lack of education and health care were the norm for all but the rich few and when the churches upheld this status quo. Protecting life is not just about the unborn or elderly terminally ill. If Catholics are serious about building the kingdom, rather than just keeping their own souls pure, they need to engage with the world as it is, recognise what is good and get alongside people in the needs and the dilemmas of their lives. A great deal is done by the churches in this way, of course, but silly rhetoric about a culture of death does not help, as if the Church has got everything right and can be a model of moral rectitude to the world (try telling that to the victims of abusing priests). A stiff dose of reality and humility about itself is what is needed.
Veritas said…
Some time ago, it was proposed that when anyone compared his/her political or ideological opponents to Adolf Hitler they had automatically lost the argument.

I think the same applies to anyone wishing to argue against the teachings of the Catholic Church - but with a difference.

You can automatically tell when someone has run out of rational arguments, they raise the spectre of "abusing priests" - as if this is some sort of knockdown argument.

I'm sure it is - but only for pub bores.