The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have published a statement and a number of resolutions following their spring meeting at the Royal English College of St Alban’s in Valladolid, Spain.
At the end of our meeting in Valladolid, we thank Baroness Sheila Hollins and her team for their leadership of our days of safeguarding training.
We thank especially the people who spoke to us of their experiences as victims and survivors of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.
We have been strengthened greatly by the prayers of so many, including seven Carmelite Monasteries, and we thank them too.
These have been days which have touched every bishop very deeply. We have listened to the deep and lasting confusion, pain and despair inflicted by the people who abused them.
We have listened with horror to the ways in which precious gifts of our faith have been used to groom and dominate both children and vulnerable adults in crimes of abuse. We humbly ask forgiveness of all who carry this pain, for our slowness and defensiveness and for our neglect of both preventative and restorative actions.
For us bishops, these days are a watershed. Now we accept with renewed vigour the challenges that lie ahead. We welcome warmly the Motu Proprio, Vos Estis Lux Mundi, issued by Pope Francis on the last day of our conference and its new provisions and requirements.
1. The Stewardship of God’s Creation
In the light of Pope Francis’ teaching in Laudato Si’ and reaffirming our commitment to the principles outlined in our 2002 document The Call of Creation, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales recognises that humanity is in an unprecedented ecological crisis. There is a moral duty to act with urgency and enable the faithful to make informed decisions that care for creation and will assist in repairing the damage.
We therefore urge the Church at all levels to continue to develop initiatives that care for our common home, and to identify individuals and groups to be advocates for this journey. To this end, a position paper has been prepared and further development in its themes is now being undertaken with a view to its approval by summer 2019.
2. Christus Vivit!
The conference resolves to place the Holy Father’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit (Christ is Alive), at the heart of its ministry with and to young people. The conference will build on the work undertaken by the National Office for Vocation and the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation (CYMFed), Synod Fruits and others. Through its newly formed youth committee, the Department of Evangelisation and Catechesis encourages dioceses to use Christus Vivit to give new energy and focus to initiatives with young people in their local situations, so that:
There is a fresh invitation to young people to encounter Jesus as their “best friend”, the one who gives meaning and purpose to our individual lives
Young people can live the core kerygma of our faith, which the Holy Father identifies – “God loves you”, “Jesus is Saviour”, “He is Alive and at your side through the Holy Spirit”
Young people believe more fully that they are protagonists in the mission of the Church and they have the confidence to go outside of themselves in the service of others
We build a culture of vocation in which the call to discipleship has a central place, so that each person can discover the path of holiness that Jesus desires them to walk.
3. Liturgical Celebration for Blessed John Henry Newman
The conference agrees to the raising of Blessed John Henry Newman to the rank of Feast on October 9, subsequent to his canonisation, in the National Calendar for England and the National Calendar for Wales. It requests the optional memorials of St Denis and Companions and St John Leonardi be transferred to October 10.
4. Adoremus Legacy
The conference thanks all who worked for the successful Adoremus Eucharistic Congress and Pilgrimage. It asks the Bishops’ Working Group to continue meeting diocesan representatives to foster increased adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the communities of England and Wales and further supports the ongoing efforts of the Bishops’ Working Group of Adoremus towards the promotion of future Eucharistic Congresses.