- Trying to square the circle
The opening days of the Synod on the Family have revealed distinct differences of opinion between the participants. How can their commitment to church teaching be matched with compassion for those who struggle with it?
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The Bishop of Portsmouth wants Catholics to put their faith into action by serving at food banks, on credit unions, befriending immigrants and “campaigning for justice”.
Bishop Philip Egan has announced a “Year of Faith in Action” to follow on from the recently concluded Year of Faith.
“I wish to encourage everyone to develop all sorts of new initiatives,” he said in a pastoral message. “Pope Francis has frequently called the Church to be a Church for the poor; he has said that we need to transcend our comfort zones in order to serve those on the margins.”
The bishop also urges people to visit the sick, support addicts, protect the unborn child, support young parents and their families, love the lonely, work with the Society of Vincent de Paul, help the elderly and uphold human dignity from conception to natural death.
He also announced the creation of a new diocesan agency “Caritas Portsmouth” to help develop charitable activities in the diocese.
Bishop Egan urged parishes to review the needs of their local communities to discern what action they should undertake. He said a sign of a parish’s vitality is its charitable activity although this should not simply become “mere philanthropy, ‘do goodery’, mindless activism or constant fundraising.”