21 December 2018, The Tablet

Bishop condemns 'false claims' of political salvation

The Bishop of Shrewsbury: 'May we never be deceived by false claims of political salvation.'

Bishop condemns 'false claims' of political salvation

Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury preaching at annual marriage Mass in Romiley, Stockport, in February 2018
Shrewsbury Diocese

A Catholic bishop will use his Christmas homily to condemn "misplaced confidence" in secular, messianic political claims.

"At this Christmas of 2018, marked by so much soul-searching and uncertainty about the future, we pause in this national holiday to return to the peaceful light which Christ’s glorious Nativity has long shed on our path," he will say.

“In the light of Christmas, may we never lose this perspective on the passing crises of time nor be deceived by false claims of political salvation," Bishop of Shrewsbury Mark Davies is expected to say at Midnight Mass.

Bishop Davies will go on to call Christians to remember their true identity.

"Should we ever forget what we owe to Christmas and to our Christian inheritance, then in confused times we might become like someone who loses their memory and are in danger of assuming a false identity," he will say. "We have no need to search for a national identity – grace and history have given us this identity.

"May we be true to the very Christian calling which formed our nation especially when we are faced with difficult choices and reconciling contradictory visions of what our future might be.”

Bishop Davies will remind his congregation that in previous generations the Christian faith has guarded the British people from the seductions of destructive ideologies and from the “messianic claims” of political salvation that, in the 20th century alone, cost the lives of tens of millions of people.

He will say the country does not need to search for a new identity because it has a rich Christian identity formed by “grace and history”.

Catholics in particular, the Bishop will say, must be “true to the very Christian calling which formed our nation especially when we are faced with difficult choices and reconciling contradictory visions of what our future might be”.

He will urge the Catholics of the Diocese of Shrewsbury to strive to live the Christian life fully and never “give way to the shadows of cynicism”.

“May the bright light of this national holiday lead us to pray for our political leaders and all who have responsibility in our public life,” Bishop Davies will say. “May we find our way together by being true to that Light which first shone in Bethlehem and has continued to guide all generations.”

In an earlier Christmas message, Bishop of Salford John Arnold says: "It is right to celebrate Christmas and enjoy the festivities and all the activities that surround this holiday time. But we need to remember why we celebrate this Feast. For Christians, it is a reminder of the love God has for each one of us in sending His Son to live among us and to teach us by his example.

"For all of us it is a season of goodwill. Christmas needs to be a reminder of the hope that we have that we can make our world a better place. And while we should enjoy our Christmas celebrations, we should also remind ourselves of those who will not have a reason for celebration because they live in poverty or are alone or are enduring conflict and even persecution. Christmas reminds us of the on-going challenge to all of us to ensure that all our brothers and sisters have their dignity, and their freedom. May God bless you all in this season of hope and goodwill."


Read our story on Christmas messages in this week's magazine: The Bishops of England and Wales used their Christmas messages this year to contrast the darkness of political turmoil with the light of the Incarnation, calling for Christians to show unity and solidarity with the poor.


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