06 July 2015, The Tablet

Nichols urges bishops to nurture culture’s ‘instinctive’ faith

Cardinal Vincent Nichols called on bishops to nurture the “small flame” of "instinctive faith" seen in public displays of grief such as the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Tunisia.

The cardinal-archbishop of Westminster told a congregation gathered for the ordination of the new Bishop of Nottingham, Patrick McKinney, at the city's St Barnabas' Cathedral on Thursday that having a bishop who opens the ways of God is more important than one who is popular or who has “a good press”.

Wise bishops, he said, should ensure that their actions and words fan the awareness of God who is at work in “the images of broken-hearted holiday makers on their knees in silence on the beach in Tunisia; the gathering of a family in church for a baptism, not at ease yet pleased to be there; and the seemingly endless procession of people who filed through Leicester Cathedral in recognition that, at long last, the body of Richard III lay where it should,” he added.

During the service the bishops of England and Wales present at the ordination led a minute’s silence for victims of terrorism.

In his homily Cardinal Nichols also paid tribute to the courage shown by families of the victims of the shooting in a predominantly black church in Charleston, Alabama, on 17 June. Their forgiveness of the shooter, he said, “shows up the darkness of ideologies of death and why they are to be rejected by all who believe in the mystery of God at the heart of life.”

The cardinal, who also ordained Bishop McKinney, revealed that for him, episcopal ordination had been more life-changing than ordination as a priest.

“As a bishop I have always missed the day to day ministry of parish life. As bishops we roam here and there, always wonderfully welcomed, always lovingly supported, but always on the move,” he said.

Bishop McKinney became the 10th Bishop of Nottingham. He succeeded Bishop Malcolm McMahon, who is now Archbishop of Liverpool.

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