Thursday, October 13, 2005

Building Community

Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster (London, UK), seems to have a wonderful understanding of what a problem pluralism is and its solution.

Part of his homily from October 7:

Where there is no vision, the people perish. We find that easier to believe of the Middle Ages, in a Christian society where everyone believed in divine wisdom, and where everybody agreed about where such wisdom might be found; but what about a society in which there is not just one vision, but many, and where those visions often seem to contradict and cancel out each other?

Ours is [a] more complicated and pluralist world than Edward the Confessor's. These days one in four Londoners is born abroad, and into diverse faiths. Ours is a social melting-pot where people of different races, different cultures, different religions and people of no religion at all must build a common life together. Has the vision represented by the tomb of Edward anything to say to such a world?

You cannot solve the difficulties created by the existence of a multitude of visions for society by trying to create a society emptied of vision altogether. An utterly secular society, which turns its back on transcendent value, and governs itself by sheer pragmatism and the lowest common denominator, can never be a home for human beings worthy of that name.

Wisdom is not private; morality is not private; the holiness of life is not private. We have to find ways to make the public fabric of our society, our laws, our civic institutions, the texture and quality of the life we live together, reflect more than just the values of the global market. They must reflect wisdom and love and justice. They must defend the God-given dignity of all. They must look out, above all, for the poorest and most vulnerable, lest the strong be left to walk on them. These are not pragmatic matters.

The city of man or the City of God. Which shall we choose?

(Text of the homily here and here.)

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