Saturday, June 25, 2016

Referendum, part III

Having spent months in the seemingly miniscule 'Dithering' camp before making a decision about the E.U. referendum, I now don't know what to feel about the result: on the one hand the unexpected exhilaration that anyone might feel as a wave of history breaks over them, and on the other anxiety about the country's mood.  And exasperation that the ugly word-phrase-pun-thing 'Brexit' is going to have years of use and end up in the O.E.D.  Am I the only person in the land who sympathises with both the victors' 'We've done it!' Orb-and-Sceptre jubilation and the Remainers' lament of 'What have we done?', a nasty feeling that we have forgotten how much easier it is to tear down than to build and thrown something away without really considering its value?  I don't think we have been very prudent, but neither can I tell whether this is necessarily a bad thing.  Either way, there is a sensation that the twentieth century has just been given a heavy shunt into the past, and the European Union's construction project a similar shove into the future. 

I don't think sudden shocks are good for the health of nations and I don't like revolutions: this, though peaceful, seems to have been one.  A referendum like this sounds the country out, like a hammer striking a bell, unmuffled by the ambiguity of a general election.  The note struck by Thursday's vote has not rung entirely purely, and I fear there are some cracks in the bell that were not apparent before.  Mark Easton of the B.B.C. has written a good article here about the divisions that it has laid bare.

Some of these are old divisions that the dazzling modern world, distracting us from our history, seemed to have papered over, but here they are again: the traditionally rebellious east of England which snapped up the Book of Common Prayer so enthusiastically, the North of England holding its own politically against London as it did when the industries thrived, Scotland (alas) setting her face against England.  What has happened feels both very old and very new.  It is new because it is unprecedented: no nation has left its membership of the European Union before.  By 'old' I mean the resurgence of regional differences and rivalries and old-fashioned, even patriotic instincts.  I think the referendum proves that we have spirit if nothing else, and the idea that nations have spirits has of course been scoffed at for decades.  This is certainly not the result of a nation limply and entirely in thrall to plastic modernity, as I have been believing.

I am not sure whether this is a good or a bad thing either.  I wrote yesterday about being less worried about the actual result than the motivations behind it; now I am realising that there is a lot of anger in this vote.   One thing that I admitted to myself before making my own decision was that I hadn't actually altogether lost patience with the European Union.  A lot of people have, however.  There is anger in the other direction, too, among my generation and in the universities.  I have spoken to only two other people in their twenties who thought we should leave, though being students from overseas neither of them was eligible to vote.  I am a hopeless curmudgeon as far as social media is concerned, but am told that people on Facebook are furious about the referendum, and saying so.  (Can we vote to leave Facebook?).  In an informal reading group of graduates all under thirty yesterday, I was taken aback by how some of them seemed to be trying to outdo each other in their disgust (not merely disappointment) in the result, and by their scathing remarks about the voters and their supposed motives.

Yet I think most of the seventeen million voters to leave have thought quite carefully about their choice, even if I disagree with some aspects of their arguments and sentiments.  Many have certainly felt disenfranchised and many are even angry, but the scale of this result compared to others is evidence that they do not allow anger to cloud their judgement.  Discontentment has not led even a fraction of these people to support far-right parties with whose names I won't deface this blog, though the implication by some on the Remain side is that they might have done.  They were not even tempted to vote in such numbers for the (surely now defunct?) UKIP: even though it offered what they wanted, they sensed its air of tackiness and did not fall for Nigel Farage's salesmanship.  Only when offered the possibility of a plain vote without party or  brand did they vote to 'Rebel'.

I am not under the illusion that this is simply an inversion of the 1975 referendum.  There will be no return to the past and this result, for all that it is supposed to 'take back control', will not necessarily bring back the old, gentle Britain where my loyalties lie.  I'm not at all confident about our national culture in general.  Are there any great statesmen or stateswomen in Parliament?  Who are our great philanthropists?  Who is the greatest engineer, the greatest novelist, the greatest architect of our day?  I can't name any.  Where is our Vaughan Williams, where is our Tennyson and where is our Constable?  (While I am on the subject, if she is at all worth her salt, or rather her sherry, we should have some words from our Poet Laureate on this of all occasions).  And although the E.U. is no friend of the Church, I don't see much of a reversal of secularism after our departure.  If this is so, the referendum will be in vain, as Joanna Bogle points out here, for 'at heart, the problems of Europe and all of the West are spiritual ones. Only a great re-evangelisation, a new flowering of the Christian faith, can really offer hope — for Britain and for other lands that are currently sensing a loss of their sense of identity and heritage. It will be a tragedy if this is ignored and a misplaced nationalism, albeit with occasionally Christian overtones, takes centre-stage'.  Here is the real challenge that as many of us as possible need to take as seriously as we can.  Non-churchgoers are not exempt: they can do their bit to build up the spiritual life of the nation as well.

Of course very few of us know how exactly we are meant to proceed now.  Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith has written a very reassuring article here: the most important thing we need to remember is that 'it is the future that is important now, our common, shared future, and we need to put the divisions of the past behind us. Our European friends who live in Britain, and those abroad, need to know that friendships that have been important in the past are still important to us'.  This country has dealt with severer trials and blanker pages of history: let the 23rd June 2016 open a hopeful chapter in these islands' tale.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Referendum, part II

What a surprise I had, turning on the radio this morning, to hear a member of the 'Remain' campaign being asked why he was feeling 'dejected'.  For the result of yesterday's referendum — a result I had thought wouldn't actually happen — is that the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union.

It's an exciting result, but is it a good result?  That depends, as I said yesterday, on my countrymen's motivations and inward thoughts.  We have proved to ourselves that our democracy works, and that a cross on a ballot paper can actually do something, but have we remembered what our democracy is for? I hope it isn't simply a strop or 'a vote of no confidence by the British in what their country has become', as a Radio 4 commentator has just suggested; I hope the votes have been cast in favour of something good rather than against something bad.  This is bound to be the case in some quarters, but surely not (I have enough faith to believe) in 51% of quarters.  I hope it has been a principled vote.  Otherwise it is a hollow result indeed.

Of course, the result is not quite as simple as I said: in saying that the United Kingdom has voted to leave, some strain is placed on its 'United' aspect.  London, the deafening cauldron of mostly sound and fury, has proven itself to be almost its own country.  More seriously still, 63% of votes cast in Scotland have been to Remain.  I am saddened that this result, compared with last year's independence referendum, suggests a greater attachment in Scotland to the European Union than to 'our' Union (though the turnout there was much lower this time; I don't know how numbers of votes actually compare).  The Union is precious to me and I fear this result might endanger it.

Another interesting statistic is that 75% of 18-24 year-olds voted to Remain (compared to 39% of voters aged 65 and older).  If the referendum had been of people aged 56 and below, the outcome would have been the opposite.

Well, that is that, for now at least.  Mr. Cameron has announced his resignation: an honourable thing for which he deserves credit, I think.  Let us forge our untrodden path with wisdom and understanding, retaining friendly relations with our European neighbours (especially France and Germany, of which I am especially fond), strengthening the circle of friendship that we have in the Commonwealth and keeping our eye on the common good, not only for ourselves but for the whole world.

I just wish I knew what the Queen thinks about it all!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Referendum

A prayer today for our country, as we go to the polls and decide whether to remain a member of the European Union or to leave it, that all cast their votes with wisdom and understanding and for the sake of the common good.

I have come to my own decision, though the difficulty I have had in choosing a side throughout the campaign seems to leave me in a small minority.  All I have known is that I want a high turnout and a close result (and the banishing of complacency).

I have found the debate unedifying and the campaigns unrepresentative of my interests.  They have spoken only in simple terms about the economy, the question of migration and why the other side is wrong.   And the tone has been unpleasant, the fashionable 'Remain' camp worse than the rebellious 'Leave' brigade, though they would not like to think so.

Another problem is the question itself, of course.  There is no way of expressing reluctance or reservation.  How I wish there were some way to answer 'Remain, in spite of myself' or 'Leave, but not in a strop, keeping friendly relations with European countries'.  The question means what it means, even if I want it to mean something else.  It is not 'Is the E.U. a good thing?'.  In spite of its simplicity there is an inevitable tinge of bias, since the question as far as I am concerned ought really to be 'Now that we are a member of the E.U., shall we remain or shall we leave?'.  If we were still outside the European Union I would not vote to join it as it presently stands... but that is not an answer to the question on the ballot paper.

Our options are not quite even, either.  We are not choosing between two candidates or two parties: we are choosing between relative certainty (for better or worse) and great uncertainty (from which could emerge good or bad). We have some idea what a 'Remain' vote would produce, but 'Leave' could mean all kinds of things.  Remain is concrete; Leave is a labyrinth: this is unfair on the latter.

Perhaps I am less worried about the actual result than by the motives that will have lain behind the result.  May they not lead us 'to do the right thing for the wrong reason'; may they be the good and just motives of good and just hearts and minds.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

On Monarchy

In my post written to commemorate the Queen's ninetieth birthday I mentioned that I wanted to give a proper explanation of my monarchist sentiments.  The week of Elizabeth II's official birthday (why shouldn't she have two?) seems a good chance to do so.  This is a written version of a monologue with which I have bored many friends but which explains, as well as I can manage, why I believe this country owes its peace and freedom mainly to its monarchy, judging not simply by how things have turned out in practice, but also in principle.
Portrait to mark H.M. the Queen's  official ninetieth birthday and H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh's ninety-fifth birthday
The United Kingdom has a constitutional monarchy as its system of government.  Parliament and the head of Government receive their political power by democratic election, whereas the position of head of State can only be inherited, that is, held by a monarch.  Many nations, particularly during the last century, have abolished the hereditary elements of  their governments, but not this country, where the monarchy (I believe) remains of essential importance to the nation's health and freedom.  I have two reasons for saying this.  The first is pragmatic and a little unoptimistic about human nature; the second emotional and more hopeful.  Either by itself, in my view, would justify and reinforce the Crown's continued position at the summit of government.

It is easy for us who live in Great Britain, politically one of the safest and stablest places on earth, to forget the fragility of all civilisations and political entities.  Most of our borders have followed the same lines, mainly the coast, for centuries; no land invasion has been attempted on us since 1797; our throne comes down to us from the year 1066 and before.  The changes undergone by our nation have tended to take place glacially, even organically; the important exceptions are all the more notable by their rarity.  Yet few countries have enjoyed such clarity and tranquillity of national identity.  For instance, even Germany, made up as it is of states with strong regional identities, has only existed in its present form since 1990. Poland's territory suffered so much turmoil in the twentieth century that it appears to have moved westwards.  Other nations, even if they have kept their borders, have undergone change after change, not simply of governments but of forms of state: occupations to dictatorships to republics, and so on.  The British constitutional monarchy has not simply dawdled into the twenty-first century.  It has outlasted many forces which might have destroyed it, and its survival should not be taken for granted.

Why are nations so fragile?  It is because of the fluidity and volatility — even the intoxicating quality — of raw political power.  Those who win it may have just intentions but, if unimpeded, tend quite often to be seduced and then corrupted by it, using it not for the nation's sake but to prop up their own positions.  Power like this has an intoxicating quality; it is alcoholic.   This is the pessimistic part of my argument: that few people can be relied upon to handle it in quantity, however legitimately or democratically they may have obtained it.    History teaches us, with examples beyond number, of the danger posed by too much ready power in too few hands which, sooner or later, are bound to become the wrong hands.

If concentrated power is so hazardous, and so must be restricted, the obvious reaction might be to distribute it very widely and thinly so as to restrict the influence of any single person.  This results only in dilution, however: it makes competent government difficult and might lead to division, disintegration or even anarchy.  Somewhere there must be a single meaningful authority that is recognised by the whole nation and which keeps it whole.  This tension between the concentration and the distribution of power requires a fine and carefully-observed balance.  Any country is only as stable as this equilibrium: every nation has to find its own way to achieve it.

The trick of the constitutional monarchy is to control the readiness of political power without watering it down.  It may repose all the power and authority of government in a single person, the Queen, whose position is made unassailable by heredity, but the power is safe with her because she cannot wield it directly: it is not 'live'.  She can only delegate her power to others, which what happens at a General Election.  First Her Majesty's subjects elect members to the House of Commons to represent them in Parliament.  Seeing the result, she will ask one of these members to form a government as Prime Minister.  In doing so, she delegates to the Members of Parliament the responsibilities of state, the authority to bring Acts before her for assent, the power to take the country in a particular direction (notwithstanding the House of Lords, unelected though no longer entirely hereditary).  Yet it remains always Her Majesty's Government, which in theory she can  dissolve at any moment if she thinks it unfit to govern her subjects.  It is rather as if the Queen were teetotal, but possessed the only key to a wine-cellar.  She can bring out bottles and pour out glasses for others of any size she likes, she can refuse a drink if people have ideas above their stations, and she can even close the bar altogether, but she cannot herself take a single sip.  By this mechanism of Parliament and Crown power may be balanced and counterbalanced without being weakened or diluted.

Some might object that this is mere formality, pointing out that the Queen is unlikely to reject the result of a general election or to refuse to give royal assent to an Act of Parliament.  It is certainly likely that, like a bee-sting, the threat to pull the plug on a government could be carried out only once and at the cost of the whole institution.  This might be so, but I think even formalities carry far more weight than is often thought, not least with regard to language, for instance.  Mr. Cameron might be tempted to speak of 'his government', but he is not allowed to: it is Her Majesty's Government which he runs on her behalf.  (see for instance John Major, calling the 1997 election here, who has to be careful to say that he has 'sought Her Majesty's permission to dissolve Parliament').  Similarly, politicians are elected to 'office', not to 'power'.  These rules about language are important checks on politicians' habits of thought, and if they are broken can produce important warning signs for the rest of us.


The system of constitutional monarchy also has other, happier effects, doing us a lot of good as well as sparing us harm.  By reposing national authority in a person who is always above ordinary politics and so untainted by them, the monarchy gives us a head of State to whom we can be loyal without even thinking about, still less embracing, any political cause.  Everyone, of any political persuasion or indeed none, can gladly allow the Queen to represent our country and us, her people, and cheer her without anything sticking in the throat.  Compared to the United States or France, where as much as half the electorate must accept  a president whom they voted against as a symbolic as well as an administrative leader, I think there is little contest (though there are many admirable aspects to both these countries' political traditions).  Where Americans have to resort to pledging allegiance to a flag and the French to principles (la République and les valeurs républicaines; what are they exactly when all's said and done?), we have a Crown and the real and living person who wears it, robed in majesty and lifted up with ceremony that we can enjoy wholeheartedly and without cynicism.  We can be the Queen's loyal subjects without being overly inquisitive about her personality, treating her as a celebrity (it is precisely because of my loyalty to her that I despise any journalistic poking and prying into the Royal Family's privacy) and certainly without worshipping her.  The important thing is that she is on the throne, occupying a supreme position and receiving loyalty and affection that (significantly) many a politician probably envies.  Indeed, the monarch makes it very easy for us to disapprove of the members of the House of Commons without ever calling the institution into question.  The government does not get in the way of our relationship with the State.  We uphold the Queen's majesty because, in a certain way, this majesty is ours to share in, and is an expression not of the Queen's might only, but also of our own pride in our country.

The Queen's ninetieth birthday and her recent surpassing of the length of Victoria's reign has also reminded many people of the continuity brought by monarchs to our sense of national history.  Presidents are limited by terms, so history marches on in time to the political clock.  This is far less the case with monarchs, who tend to reign for a generation at a time.  It is true that our Queen's sixty-three years on the throne have made this continuity a particularly notable aspect of her reign — not least since sometimes very little else seems to link us with the vanished Britain of 1953 — but even the passage of the crown down the generations is a story told not in multiples of five years but at the slower, more natural pace of most families' histories.

Monarchs can certainly be good or bad and wise or unwise (in which respect I have already explained, here and here, why I think in our present Queen Elizabeth we have been given the blessing of a personal example that this country hardly deserves but sorely needs).  The important point is that the same applies to elected presidents and chancellors.  All nations need ways — the simpler and less heavy-handed the better —  to appoint a source of just but not overbearing authority to which all are willing to pledge loyalty, and to guard against malevolent political designs without stifling the government.  The constitutional monarchy may not seem at first to be the most obvious solution, still less a sleek, rational, twenty-first century solution, but I think it remains the best and fairest, if not for all countries, certainly for the United Kingdom, in which case the results arguably speak for themselves.


Thursday, June 09, 2016

The New Evangelisation: ten thoughts

How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?  The question asks itself now not in ancient Babylon but in our own country and our own day, and with growing urgency.  The Church's answer is the New Evangelisation —  a great call to re-evangelise Christian cultures that have forgotten the faith — but it can be hard to see how we are to fit into it, or where to begin.  I am not a convert, still less an expert, but I thought it might be worth putting up this list of reflections, even if most of them might seem obvious.
  1. Apathetic agnosticism is a greater, a subtler and a more widespread challenge than aggressive secularism.  Our country is awash with spiritual apathy (or acedia): a number of people are openly opposed to Christianity, but far more in modern Britain seem almost to sleepwalk through life, hurled by busy lives from distraction to distraction, not seeing what weighs them down.  There is a lot of unwise, stupid and wrong behaviour as well, but we should never confuse this, the result of sin to which believers are hardly immune, with the actual intelligence and goodness of non-churchgoers.   Easy though it might be to forget in a culture opposed to the Church in so many ways, people really do examine the human heart carefully without any particular grudge against Christianity.  We should remember that our faith does not make us, in ourselves, superior to them — see Galatians 6:14.  Another point is that people have different reasons for not going to church, and these cannot necessarily be bashed aside with a copy of the Catechism.  For instance, many young people, having been brought up without regular church attendance, might feel that to start practising would be a slight to their parents and their values; it would be wrong for us to ride rough-shod over that loyalty.  Many people stay away from church without resenting churchgoers; many pray without practising; many believe in God but lack faith in the visible institution of the Church; many people are of good will but spiritually unadventurous. There are also more people with misgivings about modern values than the media suggest: I know a number of (young!) people who reverence marriage, dislike bad language, seek beauty in poetry, and so on.  To be evangelised is to discover something that is not completely unfamiliar.
  2. We should announce the Gospel by asking people questions.  This is an age, in thrall as it is to the doctrines of self-determination and relativism, in which people dislike being lectured to, and in any case, it is better to invite people to discover the faith for themselves and in their own time.   Proclamations, however resonant, can be taken as slogans and brushed off quite easily.  Even quietly-posed questions are less easy to ignore.  They are more likely to percolate unobtrusively through the mind, reappearing every so often, never really going away, gently nudging and pestering for an answer.  We could learn from our Evangelical brethren here:  the talks and discussions they organise often have a question as the title, such as 'Is there more to life than this?', 'What if the Resurrection really happened?', and so on.  Even rhetorical questions demand unspoken answers.  Do you believe that you have an absolute and irreducible dignity as a human being?  Would you prefer to be excused for your wrongs, or to be forgiven?  Do you remember that we believed because it is true?
  3. We must evangelise the arts and culture.  We must have the courage to answer the cults of sarcasm and ugliness with works of art, literature and music that uphold human dignity and strive for beauty.  The right artistic intention is, I think, to be prized even more than accomplishment or execution.  A  sincere true utterance with some rough edges is better than a thousand polished works calculated to trample goodness and truth gratuitously (I think works of art or literature can be evil, as well as simply bad).  The ideals by which all art was once made have been so neglected that they now represent a niche in the market, and it is up to us to fill it.  We need writers, composers and architects whose subjects are not necessarily explicitly religious but whose faith can be seen to leaven their work.  We need audibly beautiful, even musical poetry.  Popular music must be prized out of the hands of the industry that has dragged it down into sordidness, and the airwaves filled with simple, unaffected, authentic and uplifting tunes.  Films, too, could explore the world and the soul far more deeply, and without sermonising (Inside Out, which I have already praised, is a case in point).  These things matter because art is not inanimate: it always acts upon us for better or worse.  If beauty is a reflection of God, and God is love and truth, beautiful art will lead us towards deeper understanding and purer love of each other and of God.  Such love is several orders of magnitude above a love of music or poetry, but both have the same essence and the same divine origin.
  4. Our position should not be a merely anti-modern or reactionary one, even though we are right to mourn to much of what the past has taken with it.  Although we should cherish tradition, resist our culture's chronological snobbery with energy and revive certain aspects of the old world, our aim is not simply to return to the past.  Likewise,  given that much of what we say and believe might be called 'conservative', we should remember that we are so confident in its truth because it is Christian orthodoxy, not because it is conservative.  We should look for opportunities in the modern world; we should embrace new technology.  This is, for instance, the age of the image, and ours is the religion of the image: the modern 'explosion of imagery', Fr. Robert Barron has said, even makes this a 'Catholic moment'.  Why should the Church not encourage the building of beautiful websites or beautiful graphic design?  I am probably guiltier than most of yearning for the past and raging against the present, but we should make the effort to receive the 'sacrament of the present moment' gratefully.
  5. We must never tire of striving and praying for Christian unity.  Christians have inherited a difficult and a painful tangle and our divisions, though less raw than they once were, remain scandals and obstacles to faith.  We should make a greater effort to collaborate with Evangelical Christians who, like us, hold to Christian faith in the teeth of fashion, their concern for what is 'Biblical' corresponding to ours for what is 'orthodox'.  We should make an effort to understand the Eastern Orthodox faith: last February's meeting between Pope Francis and the Russian Patriarch Kirill, and good relations with the Patriarch of Constantinople, are valuable and significant.  (I have heard a priest say that fifty years might suffice for full communion to be restored between East and West.)  Even within the Catholic Church, we should overcome our differences by trying to keep them in perspective, avoiding airing them in public if possible, and also by keeping our minds and hearts fixed on Jesus Christ (see point 10). 
  6. Marriage, the family and childhood matter.  It is on this front that the modern world has  declared war most explicitly on the Church.  We need courage to defend it.  A preoccupation with the welfare of adults, though not unjustified, has contributed to the social and cultural neglect of children and the elderly, who in their own ways have become almost second-class citizens.  Children in particular are segregated from the world of adults: because the adult world believes itself entitled to violent and sordid entertainment, children must be given their own isolated culture.  This, among other things, means that the passage from childhood to adulthood is no longer a steady growth or slow mellowing but a series of disillusioning shocks and blows, the worst of which fall between the ages of eleven and fourteen.  Surely most of us have seen this happen: the descent of the grey veil of cynicism; the deliberate self-vandalism of the soul; the hideously thorough revolt against childhood.  The New Evangelisation reminds us of the importance of the family, in which all people have their place and by which all understand their own lives.  Somewhere (I wish I could remember where!) I have heard and heartily agreed with the statement that 'all men are called to be fatherly and all women to be motherly'.  I think it would also be good rule to behave at all times as if children might overhear.  Unfashionably, I also believe that men can and should cultivate chivalry towards women and that women should demand excellent manners of men.  Both men and women, if they are called to do so, should steel themselves joyfully for the mission of marriage and parenthood.
  7. There is a good deal of health in the Church's youth.  I can report this from belonging to it!  In university chaplaincies, in diocesan ministries, in parishes, however small in number, there is plenty of energy, intelligence and good humour to be harnessed.  The Church has great strength in its youth, as World Youth Day has proved again and again, and will surely do again this coming July
  8. A sense of vocation is the antidote to the myth of self-determination.  There is more strength to be gained from the feeling of being called to do something than from simply wanting to do something.  The current idea that we may do as we please as long as we think it harms nobody else will, I think, pall, since it leaves nobody but oneself to blame for plans going wrong or indeed for suffering.  As people tire of endless fruitless avenues, the Church should be there to propose a robuster way of life, something requiring service and devotion and even vows, which nevertheless brings far greater happiness than the path of self-absorption and quick gratification.  I never tire of quoting Cardinal Newman's meditation about service and vocation, from which this blog's name is taken: 'God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission — I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next... I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.  Therefore I will trust Him'. One way of telling whether something is a real vocation, it has occurred to me, is to feel a strong desire to do something good, to be terrified of doing it, and to be determined, almost in spite of oneself, to do it all the same.
  9. We are sharing a revealed faith, not advocating a philosophy or policy.  Our faith is not an idea that we came up with one afternoon in the pub and are rather pleased with.  It is not a theory to be evaluated, nor a strategy to be risk-assessed.  It is not our idea but God's.  If we invite people to understand the Church, we do so because we believe they will be happier for knowing it, and we want happiness for them out of love: it is something that we can hardly help telling other people about, like the urge to share music or discuss favourite books. 
  10. Who do we say that He is?  Our first task is to evangelise ourselves.  In a lecture that is well worth listening to, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth says (here to be precise) that in the modern world we are to concentrate above all on the person of Jesus Christ.  Where, before the Council, the emphasis might have been too often on 'The Church of the Lord', we are invited now to found our lives more clearly upon 'The Lord of the Church'.  The New Evangelisation may be a great task, but it begins here, and is a futile exercise without it.  It may also be a great task, but it is to be gone about in small, even unseen ways.  Whatever happens, we should not worry: we have already been told that it will all come right in the end.
Do readers have thoughts about these?  I would be interested to read any comments.

Do you not remember? We believed because what was told was true.