Patrick Ward writes…
Andrew Marr interviewed Archbishop Vincent Nichols on his BBC Sunday morning programme this week. Soon after watching this, I took myself off to Westminster Cathedral for Mass at 10.30am – for me, a rare treat – which was also celebrated by the Archbishop. Both during the television interview and in his sermon, the Archbishop used the same phrase in relation to the forthcoming Papal Visit, a phrase which resonated with me:
Faith is not a problem to be solved. It is a gift to be discovered.
Faith is not a problem to be solved. The Archbishop raised this as a response to the suggestion last week by Dr Stephen Hawking that the Universe created itself from nothing, that there was no divine force to create it, that there was, and is, no God. Problem solved…?
I love the simplicity of the Archbishop’s statement. I believe that he is advising us to be careful of getting caught up in the multitude of debates which are surrounding the visit. Yes, he acknowledges, it is deeply important to engage with culture and grow in understanding of our fellow human beings, but at the same time he warns us not to be blind to the deeper discovery that may be found in this unique and privileged time for our nation – the discovery of the gift of faith.
The Archbishop of Westminster needs our prayers at this time. The media naturally and instinctively gravitates towards him. He carries a great deal of responsibility and he faces physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual challenges. Let’s remember him in our prayers in the run up to the visit.