Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal Vincent calls for Religious Belief to be Respected as Vital Resource

Cardinal Vincent called for religious belief to 'be respected and seen as a vital resource’ in a sermon delivered on 22 July at the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London.  

The Cardinal said: ‘Whenever the state sees itself, or indeed is, under threat, the question of religious freedom surfaces.’ However, he noted that religious freedom is ‘fundamental to the raft of freedoms we so cherish’.

Cardinal Vincent said that religious freedom has a duty to ‘respect the human dignity of every person’ as flowing directly from the ‘duty of religion to the Creator’. Speaking of the Prime Minister’s recent mention of extremism as an ‘ideology which glorifies violence and subjugates people’, the Cardinal added: ‘We must see this for what it is and work hard to defeat it in all its expressions’.

He stated that religious belief, on the other hand, should be seen as a ‘vital resource’ to public life. Referring to ‘the remarkable achievements of this country’, he pointed to the foundation and nurturing of ‘British values’ as the ‘long effort to express in practice the treasures of our Judeo-Christian heritage’.

He said that similarly ‘the religions now present in this country will find their place when they sense that they have a real contribution to make to our public and shared life, a positive contribution which goes beyond demonstrating their support for “British values”’.

In this vein, Cardinal Vincent called for a conversation that ‘appreciates and explores positively the place of religious faith in true citizenship’, as the building of a stable foundation for society ‘needs the best from everyone’.

The sermon was delivered at Choral Evensong to mark the patronal feast day on 22 July 2015.

The full text of the sermon can be found here.

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