Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal Gives Pause for Thought on Radio 2 on eve of Extraordinary Synod

This morning, Tuesday 30th September, Cardinal Vincent delivered the daily Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2 as part of the Chris Evans Breakfast Show.

On the eve of the Synod of the Family which begins later this week in Rome, the Cardinal spoke about taking possession of his titular Church in Rome and the famous icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour which is stored there. 

The full transcript can be read below: 

On Thursday I become a parish priest of a church in Rome! No, it's not a transfer and there's no salary attached. Rather it's an honour, and one that enables me to fulfil all the requirements of being a Cardinal and therefore a senior adviser to Pope Francis. Traditionally, papal advisors were senior parish priests in Rome. So here I go to the parish of Saint Alphonsus in Rome, to be introduced as its titular parish priest.

This church is special because it is the shrine of a precious Icon of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, whom we look to as a heavenly mother given to us all. Now Mary is much loved and, as happens in love, is given many special names. They correspond to how people experience her presence and her love. They're terms of special endearment.

In this icon, created in the fifteen century, Mary is called Our Lady of Unfailing Help. Lovely! We can turn to her anytime at all, in any mess we create, and be sure of her understanding and help. Another wonderful title she has been given is 'Mary, the Untier of Knots'. That's a favourite of Pope Francis, who certainly has plenty of knots to tackle. He introduced that devotion to Argentina. It's now widespread and very popular.

There's a whole long list of titles for Mary - Cause of our Joy, Mystical Rose, Star of the Sea, Refuge of Sinners - far too many to go into here. But they tell us just how special she is, and how close to us.

Perhaps a joke can serve the same purpose. It's about Jesus walking in heaven with St Peter. He looks around and sees a fair number of rather unsavoury people. So he turns to Peter, whose job is to keep watch at the gate and give approval for entry, and says: 'How do all these get in?'  'It’s not my doing', says Peter, 'I turn them away. But they're getting in through the back door.' 'The back door,' says Jesus. 'Who is on duty on the back door?' 'Oh,' says Peter, 'It's your Mother!'

So Mary is there to see us home and I, for one, am very glad.

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