Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

CSAN highlights burden of loneliness

At this year’s annual parliamentary reception on 25th October, CSAN, the Catholic Social Action Network, chose to focus the spotlight on loneliness in all its forms.
Addressing the gathering, Cardinal Vincent spoke of the paradox of loneliness in an age of ‘so many amazing means of communication, means of staying in touch’.
He expressed his surprise that loneliness was a greater concern among 18-34 year olds than for the over 55s, wondering whether ‘perhaps they have been mastered’ by social media and ‘are captive to their limitation’.
‘This experience and burden of loneliness has a particular dimension, and challenge, for all who believe in God and for us who seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ,’ he added. ‘We believe that God, who brings us into existence, is always present to us, and we to God.’
‘Our Christian faith is intensely realistic,’ he said, embracing ‘human brokenness’ and transforming it.
‘So we see the reality of radical loneliness, and its emptiness, enter the very soul of Jesus as he faces death on the cross. And we know, and rejoice in, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit which filled that emptiness with glorious communion and new life. That, we believe, is the destiny for every person: allowing themselves to be embraced by God. That is the true hope by which we live.’
The Cardinal also expressed approval at the ‘serious consideration to changing aspects of the Universal Credit system of social security payments that have been leaving people with an intense sense of being abandoned’.
Speaking on the anniversary of the demolition of the ‘jungle’ camp in Calais, he said: ‘Way beyond Calais, right across Europe, I think of the unaccompanied children and young people – tens of thousands – who remain alone and vulnerable. Can we not work hard to accommodate more unaccompanied child refugees and work with our European partners to protect them from the many forms of desperate exploitation that lie in wait to enslave them?’
‘Loneliness takes many forms,’ he concluded as he thanked CSAN and who work to alleviate it ‘in the name of Christ and the compassion that flows from his heart’.