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Catholic Police Guild Centenary

Cardinal Vincent celebrated a Mass at Westminster Cathedral on 6 September 2014 on the occasion of the centenary of the foundation of the Catholic Police Guild.

The Mass was attended by members of the Guild and their families, representing different parts of the country. Among those in attendance was Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police.

In his homily, Cardinal Vincent recognised the members for applying Christian principles to their work. Quoting the words of St John Paul II in describing the calling of the Guild members, he said it was to ‘enthusiastically serve the cause of civic harmony and well-being, with sensitivity and Christian hope’.

The Cardinal went on to speak about the British values of tolerance and democracy, and about their roots in Christian values. ‘Tolerance is the fruit of acknowledging the intrinsic value of every other person,’ he said. ‘And it grows best, to its fullness, in the good soil of our Catholic faith.’

Recalling Pope Benedict’s words on his visit to the UK in 2010, about the real underpinnings of democracy, Cardinal Vincent continued: ‘He went on to propose that within the teaching of the Church, particularly about what makes for civic harmony, lays a valuable store of wisdom and truth, accessible to reason and lit up by faith. Our Catholic Social Teaching, then, is a crucial part of our faith today and one with which I hope you are increasingly familiar and ready to share.’

Returning to the teaching of St John Paul II, the Cardinal spoke about the importance of Christian hope which ‘speaks to the heart of each person in a way that is so telling and, often, so transforming.’

He went on to differentiate it from secular optimism: ‘Secular hope looks to an unknown future from a fairly secure present. Christian hope looks at an uncertain present from the perspective of a secure future.’

At the end of Mass, assisted by CPG Chairman Andrew Nattrass and Secretary Chris Sloan, the Cardinal presented medals to the Fellows of the Guild. Fellows are members who had provided extensive and dedicated service to the Guild. The Catholic Police Guild Emblem on the medal consists of a Cross within which the words Catholic Police Guild encircle the ancient Christian symbol of a fish, with the word for fish spelt out in Greek (IXOUS) underneath the emblem.

Fr Barry Lomax, National Chaplain to the Guild, also presented Cardinal Vincent with one of three medallions especially cast for the centenary year.  One of the medallions had been presented to Pope Francis during the Guild’s centenary pilgrimage in May.

The Catholic Police Guild, the oldest vocational guild, was founded in 1914 as the Metropolitan City Police Guild in Westminster to cater for the spiritual needs of police men and women. In 1974, the Guild became a national association with membership open in the rest of England and Wales. More recently, membership has been extended to staff and community support officers. 

The full text of the homily can be found here.