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Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Archbishop of Birmingham calls on students to demonstrate their faith 7 November 2005
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 KEELE - 7 November 2005 - 511 words
Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham has challenged students at Keele University, in Staffordshire, to demonstrate their Catholic faith in their daily lives. Speaking at a special Mass on Saturday to mark the 40th anniversary of the opening of the university chapel, he said: "The chapel is still central to this campus. In our busy secularised world there is the constant temptation to reduce everything to do with God to private opinion.

"Not only is this chapel to act as a witness to the enduring reality of God, but we are, too, each one of us in our own sphere, in our own departments, friendships and families. Ours is the task of demonstrating that when we trust ourselves to Christ then we lose nothing, absolutely nothing, of all that makes life good, wholesome, happy. Indeed our witness is to the truth that life lived in the presence of a loving and forgiving God is the best life possible, the life for which we have been made."

The Archbishop of Birmingham emphasised: "Ours is the task of demonstrating that when we trust ourselves to Christ then we lose nothing, absolutely nothing, of all that makes life good, wholesome, happy. Indeed our witness is to the truth that life lived in the presence of a loving and forgiving God is the best life possible, the life for which we have been made."

He continued: "Our common endeavour to find and express the unity of his disciples for which Christ prayed is best pursued by respecting deeply the specific characteristics of the ways of discipleship to be found amongst us. I am convinced that the strength of religious belief, of faith, lies in the specific demands that it makes, the particular disciplines that make up its tradition, the daily diet of prayer and observance that shape faithful living."

The Archbishop stressed: "Faith, any faith and certainly Christian faith, is weakened when it is reduced to common denominators. So we, each of us, in seeking to work and come together, have to build on our strengths and offer them to each other. This, I believe, is an important part of our way forward."

"The challenge of unity obviously reaches beyond us, too. The unity of our society, the resilience of our social fabric is vitally important and under pressure. The incidents in the Handsworth cemetery in Birmingham yesterday (when Muslim graves were descrated) make that only too clear. But what is equally clear, though politically less popular, is that we must, increasingly, find ways of incorporating the faith experience of people into our shared life."

Archbishop Nichols concluded: "Insisting that social harmony will be constructed only in secular terms is, I believe, exactly the wrong path to take. The exclusion of deeply held religious belief not only creates opportunities for extremists but also ignores the deepest sources of positive motivation that so many people hold dear. Good citizenship is called forth when the society obviously acknowledges and respects the convictions of faith, and does not minimise or ridicule them."

Source: Archdiocese of Birmingham
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