Wed 22nd Oct 2014 | Last updated: Wed 22nd Oct 2014 at 18:57pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Latest News

Archbishop says he is shocked by riots

By on Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Buildings destroyed by fire in Croydon, Surrey (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

Buildings destroyed by fire in Croydon, Surrey (Gareth Fuller/PA Wire)

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has described the violent rioting over the last few days as “shocking” and called for a common effort to “bring out the best in our society and not the worst”.

“The criminal violence and theft that have been witnessed are to be condemned,” the archbishop said yesterday. “They are a callous disregard for the common good of our society and show how easily basic principles of respect and honesty are cast aside.

“I ask that Catholics pray especially for those directly affected by the violence, for those facing danger on the streets, for those whose livelihood has been ruined, for those whose lives are marked by fear, for those whose parents are worried about the behaviour of their youngsters and for those who, at this time, are being tempted into the ways of violence and theft.”

The archbishop continued: “In the face of these difficulties, a forthright common effort is needed to ensure that these times bring out the best in our society and not the worst. I am sure that, as Catholic citizens, we shall play our part with clear principles for living, both as individuals and as a society, with honesty, compassion and prayer.”

He concluded: “May God grant us courage and determination to shape our lives with dignity, self-respect and care for the common good.”

On Tuesday, the riots spread to Liverpool, where hundreds of youths torched cars and launched bottles, stones and fireworks at police.

Auxiliary Bishop Tom Williams said there was a danger the violence could leave “a lasting scar” on the city.

He said: “It goes without saying that we do not condone mindless violence and destruction of property. There is a danger that the events of recent hours will leave a lasting scar on our community and our city. We therefore pray that there will be a speedy return to peace.”

Meanwhile, two Catholic Sisters who live and work in Tottenham described the riot there which sparked the disturbances across Britain as “devastating” and “selfish”.

Sister Sylvia of the Sisters of Marie Auxiliatrice, which works with young and under-privileged people, said: “It was quite devastating. The people of Tottenham, everything had come together, they were doing everything they could to build up the area. It’s a pity that all this has happened.”

Sister Margarita said: “What has been done has deprived local people of their jobs. It’s selfish to go out breaking up everything because they’re angry.”

The church of St Francis de Sales is on Tottenham High Road, very near to the original riot. Fr Francesco Discboli, who is looking after the parish while the priest is away, said: “All the noise woke me up. When I saw the helicopters and the smoke I realised what was going on.”

  • ms catholic state

    A missed opportunity for constructive criticisim of the post-Christian secular society…..a call to repentance and a return to Christ and Christian morality.  That’s what Archbishops are supposed to do isn’t it?!

    And as someone said online….a lot of these looters will have been Catholic.  I don’t know how true this is…..but  they should have been reminded of the necessity of Confessions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Purdie/1162381995 Ken Purdie

    His predecessor allowed one of the principal causes of our current problems, Tony Blair into the Church without so much as a wimper.
     The same man who encouraged the destruction of the family, took us into an illegal war, destroyed discipline in schools, etc etc etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Purdie/1162381995 Ken Purdie

    His predecessor allowed one of the principal causes of our current problems, Tony Blair into the Church without so much as a wimper.
     The same man who encouraged the destruction of the family, took us into an illegal war, destroyed discipline in schools, etc etc etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Purdie/1162381995 Ken Purdie

    His predecessor allowed one of the principal causes of our current problems, Tony Blair into the Church without so much as a wimper.
     The same man who encouraged the destruction of the family, took us into an illegal war, destroyed discipline in schools, etc etc etc.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Purdie/1162381995 Ken Purdie

    His predecessor allowed one of the principal causes of our current problems, Tony Blair into the Church without so much as a wimper.
     The same man who encouraged the destruction of the family, took us into an illegal war, destroyed discipline in schools, etc etc etc.

  • Honeybadger

    With the greatest respect to you, Archbishop – is that the best you can come up with?

  • Honeybadger

    A lot of these looters will have been Catholic??? Where did they get THAT nugget from??? Are they mistaking gangsters (yes – gangsters) who sling and disrespect the Holy Rosary round their necks for Catholics?

    If they are, they are making two short planks look intelligent by making an incendiary and dangerous comment - another glaring example of anti-Catholic propaganda rearing its ugly head.

    If the tiny minority are Catholic… then, they are Catholic in name only… unless they get an attack of conscience and remorse and shop themselves to the cops or their parents/guardians to do the frogmarching.

    What are the chances of that happening?

  • Bob Hayes

    One of the tenets of our Catholic faith is that humans are sentient beings – capable of individual choice. Archbishop Nichols rightly urges us all to follow a righteous path. Those who seem to expect him to issue firm injunctions about behaviour may well be missing the point: we all have to choose – of our own free will – between Christian teaching and sin. Learning to ‘behave’ by rote is a matter for the secular state.

  • Bob Hayes

    One of the tenets of our Catholic faith is that humans are sentient beings – capable of individual choice. Archbishop Nichols rightly urges us all to follow a righteous path. Those who seem to expect him to issue firm injunctions about behaviour may well be missing the point: we all have to choose – of our own free will – between Christian teaching and sin. Learning to ‘behave’ by rote is a matter for the secular state.

  • Anonymous

    encouraged the destruction of the family? You mean not wanting teenage girls to get pregnant underage, and allowing gay men and women to have a partnership recognized by the law?
    Ken why speak in false euphemisms? No one has ever wanted, or campaigned for the ‘destruction of the family’ – that is absurd. 

    Thank Tony Blair for fixing a broken NHS with poor conditions and waiting lists, for fixing are children’s schools that had been left to decay, for reducing child poverty to its lowest level ever.

  • Anonymous

    get a grip please, and don’t make assumptions yourself without being in possession of the facts. 
    Many people are baptized Catholic – it does not mean they always act in Christian ways – if at all. I would expect the proportion of Catholics to be similar to the population in general.

  • ms catholic state

    Governments have systematically undermined families…..by following the immoral ‘progressive’ agenda.  They declare that single parent families are as good as 2 parent ones……contrary to all evidece.  Adults want a divorce as they’ve met a new fancier ‘partner’….no problem says our governments.  Governments facilitate fornication by handing out contraceptives…..which only leads to more fornication and a greater number of out of wedlock vulnerable children. Added to which is the fact that most abortions are carried out on children conceived out of marriage. 

    Yes…..all our secular governments are guilty of undermining the family in a myriad of ways.  Well society is just about to pay for all this.  Time for the Church to assert itself…..as Christ alone knows the Way.  Not our incompetent secular governments….surprise surprise.

  • Anonymous

    It is time the archbishops and church leaders led the nations, especially as we see these riots. We have been under communist teachings through the media since 1920, through the radio, and since the introduction of television  in the 1950s, and we pay through the television licence for this communist indoctrination. Again we pay for abortion and we would fund euthanasia through our taxes. All these are communist  ways, together with the none teaching of GOD in our schools, or the incorrect teaching of GOD to our children. Three generations have suffered this communist  agenda. Now we have this same  agenda  propogated through our governments from the European Union. As we know communism  has the agenda to eradicate GOD. News for all who follow this agenda,especially those who spoil our children, GOD does exist, and you will come face to face with HIM.  Your communist regime WILL fail.

  • ms catholic state

    It is the Bishop’s job to lead…..not to stand by the side hand wringing.  Otherwise what are bishops for?! 

    It is then up to us to choose whether to follow or not.  Bishops don’t have the choice as to whether they should lead or not.  They MUST….that is their job!

  • Anonymous

    Surely learning to behave by rote is what churches encourage? Remember the Ten Commandments! Remember what Jesus did in this or that situation! Never mind singular circumstances – constrain yourself to the Good Book! These teachings do not necessarily result in the common good. As a rule of thumb, the edict not to kill (for example) is generally consistent with the common good, but is not always so. (Consider the assassination of a tyrant.)

    One could do worse than use the common good as a basis for moral behaviour, but the way to do this would be to weigh the relevant factors with the common good in mind by the application of reasoning.

    The promotion of irrational notions (such as the supernatural, religious faith, etc.) requires the suppression of reasoning. Even those who do not succumb to religious indoctrination are victims in being denied an early introduction to rational thinking. Why is it that English schools are required by law to facilitate collective worship, and yet the National Curriculum does not specifically mandate the teaching of basic logic? Why is there so much Christian opposition in Australia to teaching ethics instead of religion? I suspect the reasons are the same.

    Just what effect do you think the glorifcation of irrationality has in the modern world?

    If you teach that one must behave in such and such a manner because God commanded it, then what are you teaching when the notion of deities becomes ever more unsupportable?

    Free choice is only an illusion. Choices depend on the particular configuration of the brain and on a particular set of memories and current inputs. It is clear that not all parents make a praiseworthy contribution to their children’s memories. For the sake of the children (and for the sake of all those whom those children may later affect – i.e. for the common good), the state should intervene, but using reasoning rather than rote to guide behaviour.

  • ms catholic state

    The 10 Commandments are the most basic blocks of a civilised society.  Take any one away…..and the edifice collpases….as we can see all around us in failed confused unravelling secular society.

    In fact…..the notion of Human Rights on which our society is now based…..is completely unable to render justice or respond to individual cases.  It is pseudo justice by inflexible rote.  Human rights doctrine pits people against each other…..pigeon holes them according to some arbitrary characeteristic ie sexual orientation (??!)…..and then the Human Rights of the strongest and most politically advantageous prevails over the Human Rights of the weakest.  Justice hardly gets a look in.  Ridiculous.

  • Anonymous

    Quite!

  • Anonymous

    @Pauksays, Thank Tony Blair for nothing.False to the core.
    He all those destructive things and a lot more.

  • Bob Hayes

    It is easy to demand ‘leadership’ from Archbishop Nichols, but what ‘leadership’ would satisfy you?

  • Anonymous

    @Paulsays,
     “Thank Tony Blair”. You are having a laugh. The man is false to the core. He introduced many anti- Christian, anti- society laws into this country.

  • ms catholic state

    As I said above…..a call to repentance conversion and a return to Jesus Christ…..and to the practise of Catholicism.  That’s what Catholic Archbishops are for. 

    Whether people respond to the call or not…..is not then in the hands of the Archbishop…..but he must make the case for Jesus Christ and Catholicism for the good of individual souls and society.

  • Adam Thomson

    ‘Free choice is only an illusion. Choices depend on the particular configuration of the brain and on a particular set of memories and current inputs.’

    Yes, absolutely! You have no choice in what you believe. You only reject the Christian Faith  as the result of the particular configuration of your brain and a particular set of memories and current inputs. Your rejection of it has no relation to whether or not it is true. You had no choice whether to post your comments. You are not responsible for writing them.

    Likewise, I am only writing what I have been pre-programmed to write. Neither your opinion nor mine have any relation to truth.

    And the rioters? Why, they have only chosen their destructive actions because of a particular configuration of their brains. So they have no moral accountability for their actions either. There should be no question of punishing them, any more than we should praise those who do good. Both good and bad alike are simply the product of irrational forces over which they have no control.

    I suggest, Sir, that you get a grip and face reality! It is YOU who are glorifying irrationality! And I think you may find, when you face God in the Day of Judgment, that none of your  nonsense will cut any ice with Him at all. 

  • Anonymous

    “Neither your opinion nor mine have any relation to truth.”

    Why?

    “There should be no question of punishing them, any more than we should praise those who do good.”

    The threat of punishment is one of the ways that decisions are influenced. It may seem unfair, but for the greater good those punishments must be seen to be carried out or else there is no threat.

    Similarly, praise influences decisions. A person might feel that much more inclined to make further sacrifices for the good as a result.

  • Adam Thomson

    I wrote, ‘Neither your opinion nor mine have any relation to truth’, and you asked, ‘Why?’

    Because, according to your theory, our decisions ‘depend on the particular configuration of the brain and on a particular set of memories and current inputs.’ If that is so, then our decisions are determined for us. We make them on the basis of our brain chemistry, and brain chemistry has nothing to do with truth.

  • Anonymous

    You might just as well say that printers’ ink and display screen pixels have nothing to do with truth, no matter how true the observed sentences are!

    The conscious brain is constantly trying to discern truth. Based on the memory of what water looks like, it might think that it sees water in the desert. When that turns out to be a mirage, this new memory helps the brain to map the truth more accurately in the future (though not perfectly). It is a basic mechanism for survival. What does it matter that the mechanism is based on chemistry and physics?

  • Enough

    I reckon reformatory schools run by pedophile priests is the solution

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Purdie/1162381995 Ken Purdie

    Dear oh dear Paulsays. Can I have some of what you are on. Seems to block out reality totally.

  • Honeybadger

    Yes, yes, I know that! Thank you, The Department of Stating the Pigging Obvious!

    No other religion has been highlighted.

    Why?

  • Anonymous

    sorry stick wrong end oops!

  • Anonymous

    Its called the truth, feel free to try some!

  • Adam Thomson

     I’m not disputing the relevance of memories and inputs. But when you say that our decisions ‘depend upon the particular configuration of the brain’ and that ‘free choice is only an illusion’ you seem to be speaking of a determinism which destroys all moral accountability.

  • Anonymous

    What a lot of tosh! Get your facts correct; traditional discipline in schools was banned in the early 80′s, well before Tony Blair was even on the scene. Much has to be blamed on the human rights movement operating through the EU. Perhaps you could clarify how he, Blair, encouraged the “destruction of the family.”? I seem to remember the government led by Tony Blair being instrumental in taking vast numbers of children out of poverty. Start addressing some of the real causes: the decline in the teaching of religious morality (the Ten Commandements) in our schools, the blossoming of the see-must-have mentality in the western world, the escalating growth of cynism towards Christianity, essentially by the media and, most of all, GREED.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Purdie/1162381995 Ken Purdie

    @ swynnertonian You are right about greed and lack of morality, most of which is based on faith.
     But Tony Blair et all, no matter what you say attacked the family, as the core of our society in a variety of ways.
             A) He consistantly voted for abortion.
              B) In troduced a law saying  homosexual partnerships are equal and as valuable as traditional family ones.
              C) All but destroyed Catholic adoption agencies.
              D ) Traditional discipline in schools may well have been banned sometime ago, but the “human rights bill of which he was so fond, gives pupils right, with no responsibilities. Leading to zero respect for anything or anybody.
                 According to Dr  Barnardos there are 3.9 Million Children in povery in the uk. Considerably up on the 3.4 million when New Labour came to power in 1997.
     Need I go on?

  • Marypettifor

    It would be wonderful if parishioners across England could pledge to pray daily for England, under the auspices of Our Lady of Walsingham.
    There are beautiful prayer cards with the prayer for England – or I’m sure the prayer can be found online.
    Ask your parish priest if he would promote this.
    Public prayer under a picture of Our Lady of Walsingham, particularly in yhose areas which were most effected would be powerful.

  • Anonymous

    Your comment reminds me of the end of the song Don’t Tell I, Tell He, where the vicar has accused the singer of drunkenness and the singer replies
    “Now Parson you’ll agree
    the Lord created me
    an’ I’m afraid
    ’tis how I’m made
    so don’t tell I, tell He”.

    (If the singer drank because he liked to get drunk, what difference would it make whether he had free will or not? In what way would free will change the outcome?)

    To me, the question of moral accountability seems rather academic where free will is concerned. For civilised society to function, a person is not absolved from the consequences of his/her actions purely on the grounds that nobody has free will. Ideally, all mitigating circumstances are taken into account, but absence of ‘free will’ cannot alone be considered a mitigating circumstance.

    There is no reason why the absence of free will should hinder attempts to teach ethics. Effective arguments can translate into good behaviour deterministically, even in the absence of accountability.

  • Recusant

    Paul, you are talking rot. The Labour government was completely antipathetic towards the family, as typified by Hariett Harman’s views :

    “Families come in all shapes and sizes. We don’t favour one way of family life over another… We don’t dictate one family model as the right sort of model.”

    The corollary to this is that there is so little special about the family that any configuration, however temporary, is as good as any other. This is the same relativism that believes that no morality is better than any other, which is the root cause of the riots we saw.

    And if you still don’t believe that the Labour government encouraged the destruction of the family, so a little research into what has been happening in our family courts over the last ten years : the number of children removed from their families and entrusted to the state by an army of liberal social workers is chilling.

  • Anonymous

    With no proper spiritual leadership from the church hierachy over many years,including in the schools, and deliberately through the governments agenda of ruining our children morally ,past and present governments,we are seeing the results of this with these riots. What can we expect if the church hierachy will neither teach the true Faith ,or keep the Faith.The moral decline of 3 generations lie at your door archbishop Nichols, and the predecessors, and past and present governments.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t agree with him on the Iraq war, I did not think the relationship with the US has been healthy for Britain.

    Otherwise he was very successful.

  • Parasum
  • Argo

    “most of which is based on faith.”

    Which faith, exactly? Greed and lack of morality are the exact opposite of what Christianity teaches us.