The Second Vatican Council in Rome in its decree on communications (Inter Mirifica) said that "the Church believes that its task involves employing the means of social communication to announce the good news of salvation.” This blog is part of that process by the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton to communicate that same good news about Jesus Christ.
Bishop Richard Moth, the Lead Bishop for Prisons, has
recently commissioned a report – A Journey of Hope - to explore how
sentencing policy in England and Wales can be reformed, in order to create a
safe, decent, and rehabilitative prison estate. The report, which will be
launched on Thursday 18 October, calls for victims to be placed at the heart of
criminal justice system, whilst also setting out a case for reducing the prison
Across England and Wales, prisons are struggling to cope;
high levels of violence, substance misuse and a shortage of officers are
creating undignified, un-rehabilitative conditions for prisoners. Overcrowding
is also a major concern and is driving the problems currently facing the prison
service. Decisive action is needed if this ongoing going crisis is to be
This new document, which draws on input from a wide range
of experts, including senior politicians, legal professionals, charities,
Church groups and people with experience of working in prison system, serves
both to challenge public attitudes towards prisoners and the use of custody, as
well as making a number of clear policy recommendations to the Government.
One charity, that works with ex-offenders, and has been
part of the discussion group for the document has said, “A Journey of
Hope: A Catholic Approach to Sentencing Reform” will challenge leaders to
establish a criminal justice system that is genuinely rehabilitative, without being
a soft approach.”
Bishop Richard Moth, lead Bishop for prisons states that
he hopes that this report will “serve to widen and inform the debate around
sentencing in this country, and contribute to finding the solutions we
A Journey of Hope: A Catholic Approach to
Sentencing Reform will be launched at the Institute of Economic
Affairs on Thursday 18 October 2018.
end our visit, 'ad limina Apostolorum', we offer these reflections on our days together
Friday 28 September, we were immensely privileged to share conversation with
Pope Francis for over two hours. It was a most remarkable and intimate
asked the Holy Father for a message which we could bring back to our dioceses,
to our priests and people. His message was simple:we are to live the gift of our faith with
joy. Joy was his great emphasis. He explained that this joy is rooted firmly in
our relationship with Jesus. It is a joy of knowing that he is with us; of
knowing the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives, drawing and
guiding us towards the will of God; a joy of knowing our Heavenly Father is
waiting for us, longing to hold us in his embrace of loving mercy. This is the
joy of the faith by which we are to live. He added that this joy is the source
of lasting peace in our hearts and lives, no matter our circumstances.
spoke with Pope Francis we realised, more and more, that he simply radiates
this joy and peace. He is indeed gifted with a unique grace of the Holy Spirit
in this time of turmoil, the Holy Father is so clearly rooted in God and
blessed by God. His peace is secure. His life is serene. We know, because he
showed us his heart.It is the heart of
a loving father.
our turn, we affirmed our deep communion with him and promised him our love,
support and prayers. We expressed confidently these sentiments on behalf of all
the faithful Catholics of England and Wales.
spoke with the Holy Father about the difficulties of fulfilling our role as
bishops. In turn he reflected on the
importance of prayer and preaching in our lives, and of paternal closeness to
our priests and people, with care and with firm justice. He spoke of the
encouragement he wishes to give to priests today, who. can sometimes feel
vulnerable in the face of difficult circumstances, in a critical environment.
He spoke, movingly, of the wounds inflicted by abuse and neglect, wounds that
wreak such harm in the lives of its victims and in the life of the Church. Wherever
they are found, these are wounds in the Body of Christ and are painful to
touch. He encouraged us, in our pastoral work, never to neglect even the tiny
flames of faith that exist in so many communities and people.
been given a warm welcome in our visits to all the departments of the Roman
Curia. We were asked to speak freely about our endeavours and problems. In the
officials of the Holy See we have found a spirit of true cooperation.
Everywhere we have been encouraged and given helpful advice. We have seen clear
evidence that the life of the Catholic communities of England and Wales is
generally well respected and even admired here in Rome. Our reports of the
Eucharistic Congress ‘Adoremus' have been well received, as has the strength of
our compassionate outreach to those in need. Indeed, the leaders of our
Diocesan charitable works were present in Rome at this same time, at the
instigation of the Catholic Social Action Network (CSAN) and we were able to
spent time and pray together. In encouraging this work of outreach, Pope
Francis urged us always to walk with those engaged in its projects so as to
draw them nearer to the Lord who is the source of compassion and mercy. We know
so well that it is from our prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament,
that the mission of each of the baptised truly springs.
number of our visits we have been accompanied by two bishops of the Church of
England, Bishop Martin Warner and Bishop Christopher Foster. On one occasion we
were joined by Sister Frances Orchard CJ of the Conference of Religious in
England and Wales. We also visited the Pontifical Commission for Communication,
whose Prefect, Dr Paolo Ruffini,is a
layman. These are all 'firsts,' examples of openness and change.
'ad limina’ visit is now completed. We have celebrated Mass together in the
four great Roman basilicas, at the tomb of St Peter and the tomb of St Paul. We
have been embraced by the Successor of Peter, Pope Francis. Our pilgrimage has
been richly blessed and we are glad to share this sense of the deep
encouragement and powerful grace we have received.
Francis commended us to our Blessed Lady, Mary our Mother, reflecting
beautifully on her role as the 'untier of knots', a deep devotion in his own life.
May she always be at our side.
pray that God bless and strengthen our Holy Father, Pope Francis. May God guide
us in all our ways that we may share the joy of our faith and the ways of