Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"Moral vision should be at the heart of politics..."

It looks as though ++Rowan Williams has delivered a very important Wilberforce Lecture at Hull. The ACN coverage is here, and the full text of the lecture here; there was also an advance extract published in the Sunday Times, which you can read here.

The gist of the Archbishop's point is that, as he says, "Wilberforce and his circle believed that if a sinful system existed and its sinfulness implicated them as well as others, they were under an obligation to end it. There is no simple gulf between personal and public morality; and Christian morality is not about "keeping yourself unspotted from the world" in any sense that implies withdrawing or ignoring public wrongs. But if the state enacts or perpetuates in the corporate life of the nation what is directly contrary to the Christian understanding of God’s purpose, then Christian activism in respect of changing the law is justified, primarily when the state is responsible for - so to speak - compromising the morality of all its citizens."

As Franciscans we are inextricably involved in working for justice, peace and the integrity of creation. In an excellent note on all this at the website of the Province of St. John the Baptist of the Order of Friars Minor, Cincinnati, Sr Donna Donna Graham OSF says, "Francis had a profound respect for all of life. He experienced true solidarity with the poor and marginalized. As he embraced Lady Poverty, Francis was freed to live very simply, making peace in every encounter. It is these values that inspire our JPIC efforts. We work to bring about justice and peace in our world, to end violence and war, poverty and oppression and the destruction of our planet. Our efforts are often directed at the systems that cause this oppression and destruction. We work in collaboration with Franciscans and others around the world. We believe that these common efforts are gradually transforming our world."

I can't believe I am called to do anything less than pray continually about all this. I don't have any answers myself; but God knows what is on my heart (Romans 8:26-27) and through his Spirit he will take my pain and confusion, my sense of profound unease for our country, and for our allies, and will make something useful out of it.

1 comment:

  1. Everything matters if anything matters at all.

    The neat subdivisions we make, the lobotomies we perform upon our reason, and our conscience, and the excuses we make for "not getting involved", or "imposing our views on others" don't pass muster for either reason, or righteousness.

    This whole idea that you can mix & match, and live with "your own truths", and "your own morality", and that everything is private and personal and neither impinges on anyone else, nor affects anyone else, is B.S.

    This was one of the things that lead me out of protestantism and into the Anglican church for 10 years, and then eventually home to the Catholic church.