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Saturday, December 10, 2016
Political and religious leaders to speak at Westminster Cathedral
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¬†What is faith to Europe ≠ and what is Europe to faith? The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, has invited six leading men and women in religion and politics to explore these questions in Wednesday evening lectures in April and May. Three of the lectures will be given by major figures in modern European public life: the Irish President, Mary McAleese of Ireland, the singer and activist Sir Bob Geldof, and Christopher Lord Patten of Barnes, the chancellor of Oxford University. The others will be given by three outstanding figures in the Catholic Church: Jean Vanier, the founder of the L'Arche and Faith and Light communities; Fr Timothy Radcliffe, the former master-general of the Dominicans; and Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor had the idea for the series after he read Pope John Paul II's exhortation on Europe, Ecclesia in Europa. The 2003 document contained the conclusions of a meeting in 1999 in Rome of Catholic bishops from across the continent. The Pope writes of the precious unity underpinning European nations, the loss of Europe's Christian memory, the break-up of society and the weakening of solidarity. "Be yourself," he exhorted Europeans in Ecclesia in Europa. "Rediscover your origins. Relive your roots." The six talks at Westminster Cathedral aim to do just that. They will explore themes such as hope, solidarity, and faith; how human relationships can best flourish; and how Europe can serve the wider interests of the world. Jean Vanier, founder of prophetic communities throughout Europe in which people with and without disabilities live together, will ask how Europe can become a place of human flourishing. Mary McAleese, the President of Ireland, will ask if Europeans have "grown up" enough as citizens to meet the expectations of the next generation. The former Master General of the Dominicans, Fr Timothy Radcliffe, will show how the European project has been shaped by the Christian vision of humanity. Sir Bob Geldof, who serves on the Government's Commission for Africa, will ask if Europe has become a club which exists for the satisfaction of its members rather than one fulfilling its vocation to solidarity with the world's poorest. Lord Patten of Barnes, the former European Commissioner for External affairs, will address Europe's international role. Can Europe help to build peace and security outside its borders - especially in the Middle East and Africa? The series will end with Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's vision of the changing shape of the Church in Europe, and what the future holds. The lectures promise to be uplifting as well as challenging. Some will be published in newspapers and magazines. They will later be published as a book by Darton, Longman & Todd. The lectures are on Wednesdays at 7pm in Westminster Cathedral as follows: 13 April - Jean Vanier (Founder of L'Arche), "Hope in Europe" 20 April - Mary McAleese (President of Ireland), "Growing up in Europe" 27 April ≠ Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP (former Master-General of the Dominicans), "The Christian contribution to Europe", 4 May - Sir Bob Geldof (former rock star and activist), "Europe in Solidarity" 18 May - Lord Patten of Barnes (Chancellor of Oxford University),"Europe in the wider world". 25 May - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor (Archbishop of Westminster),"The Church in Europe" Admission is free but by ticket only. For tickets email lectures2005@rcdow.org.uk or telephone Celia Blackden at the Faith in Europe? Office on 020 7798 9180.
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