17 January 2019, The Tablet

I think the voice of the faithful is being set free in a way we have never witnessed before


I think the voice of the faithful is being set free in a way we have never witnessed before
 

Recently I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my priestly ordination. My silver jubilee! This gives cause for sober reflection on what has happened in the intervening years, gratitude for the many blessings, and resolve about what is to come.

When I was ordained Elizabeth II had been Queen of Australia for 41 years and Paul Keating was her prime minister. Bill Clinton was the president of the United States and John Major was prime minister of the UK. The war in Bosnia was raging. That year, Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Maastricht Treaty formally established the European Union. Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed a peace agreement on the White House lawn.

The IRA exploded a huge bomb in the heart of the City of London and Islamist fundamentalists attacked the World Trade Center. Two Los Angeles police officers were convicted of violently beating Rodney King. The WHO estimated that 14 million people were living with HIV. A human embryo was cloned for the first time in the USA. And probably most importantly of all, the World Wide Web was launched for free.

After 15 years in office, Pope John Paul II was in his prime, traversing the globe as the universal pastor. He issued what would become his last encyclical, Veritatis Splendor, on the Church’s moral teaching. He formally apologised for the Church’s role in the African slave trade and would soon publish Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, restating that the priesthood is for men alone and that no more discussion on the matter would be permitted. In 1994 he would be Time magazine’s “Man of the Year”.

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