News Headlines > Westminster priests urged to forget one-upmanship and individualism

15 April 2014 | by Abigail Frymann Rouch

Westminster priests urged to forget one-upmanship and individualism

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Westminster priests at 2014 Chrism MassThe Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster has warned his priests against individualism and competition, which he said were obstacles on the path to renewal.

Preaching at this morning’s Chrism Mass in Westminster cathedral, at which the oils for the sacraments are blessed, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: “The air we breathe tells us to 'do our own thing'. The culture which forms us tutors us to be in competition with each other, teaches us self-protective mechanisms designed to safeguard the spaces between us and the zones of privacy which, we are told, are so essential to our well-being.”

If such claims are allowed to become the dominant mindset, “we end up cultivating what Pope Francis calls ‘an inordinate concern for our personal freedom and relaxation’. Then we risk cutting ourselves off from the sources of the very joy and peace for which we long,” he said.

Quoting Pope Francis, the cardinal said the drift towards isolation and self-absorption could be countered with “what he calls three magic words”: please; thank you; sorry.”

The Pope on Valentine's Day told 25,000 engaged couples invited to St Peter’s Square that that saying thank you, sorry and please often summed up the “art, a patient, beautiful and fascinating journey” of lifelong marital commitment.

The cardinal reminded priests to turn to Christ when they felt burdened, adding that such an experience befalls “every parent, of every youngster and of every priest – not to mention every bishop!”

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