Westminster Auxiliary Bishop Bernard Longley, who is a member of the Catholic Bishops' Conference Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, has expressed his support for 'Faithful Cities: A call for celebration, vision and justice', the report of an ecumenical and interfaith Commission initiated by the Church of England and presented to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York yesterday. Together with Catherine Howarth, Lead Organiser of London Citizens, Bishop Longley was one of two Roman Catholic members of the Commission. The Commission brought together church leaders, clergy, academics, activists and practitioners from a variety of Christian denominations and other faiths. On the initiative of the Church of England's Urban Bishops' Panel, it was asked to examine and evaluate progress made by both Church and Nation in improving the life of those living in urban areas and to offer a vision of urban society, and the church's presence and witness in it, at the beginning of the 21st century. Bishop Longley said: "It has been a tremendous privilege to have been part of the ecumenical and interfaith Commission on Urban Life and Faith, initiated by the Church of England, and which has now published its report 'Faithful Cities.' The report examines how urban regeneration projects have failed to improve the lives of many people who live in British cities. For example, although the rebuilding of cities has brought new opportunities and prosperity, it has also resulted in fear, racial tension and the tendency to treat neighbours as strangers. "Faithful Cities' shows that faith communities are tremendously important to our cities and highlights the major contribution they make to urban life by building social and 'faithful' capital. This helps to build cohesiveness and shines the light of God on the vulnerable and marginalised. "In the Diocese of Westminster, deep seated inequalities and the extremes of poverty and wealth which' Faithful Cities' highlights are apparent to all. Recent initiatives by the Dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood, including a Mass for Migrant Workers, our support for a Living Wage and the commissioning of a report into how better we can pastor to the needs of migrant workers, demonstrate our determination to live by the principles of social justice which are fundamental to the teaching of the Catholic faith. "The Commission on Urban Life and Faith has brought together colleagues from the Church of England, the Catholic Church, the United Reformed Church and the Methodist Church together with representatives of the Jewish and Muslim faiths. This demonstration of unity is, I believe, a real sign that faith communities can work together to transform our cities into ones where human beings are treated with justice and dignity." Source: Archbishop's House
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