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WYD 2011: Bishop Mark Davies urges young to stand with the Pope

By on Thursday, 18 August 2011

Pilgrims from Britain attend a catechetical session at World Youth Day yesterday (Mazur/Catholicchurch.org.uk)

Pilgrims from Britain attend a catechetical session at World Youth Day yesterday (Mazur/Catholicchurch.org.uk)

The Bishop of Shrewsbury has encouraged young people to adhere to the teachings of the Pope if they want to make the right decisions on matters of faith and morals.

“Some of your behaviour on the streets of our cities alarmed the media, left public opinion shaken and brought an unexpected statement from the Prime Minister,” Bishop Mark Davies told groups of English pilgrims at World Youth Day in Madrid.

But rather than the recent riots he was speaking of when Pope Benedict visited Britain last year.
“Many people were struck by the quiet wisdom and obvious goodness of this elderly man who’d been so vilified in the months leading up to his visit,” he said. But what surprised many commentators was how many of the crowd were young people.

“How could this quietly spoken intellectual in his 80s speaking a demanding message hold such a place in the lives of young people from every background in 21st century Britain?” he asked.
Bishop Davies spoke of the first pope, the fisherman Simon whom Jesus renamed Peter, the rock on whom he would build his Church.

Whatever St Peter’s personal failings Jesus gave him the keys to his kingdom and made him the shepherd of his whole flock. The person who now holds those keys is Pope Benedict XVI, the successor of St Peter, the bishop said.

“When I was a lot younger than yourselves amid the turmoil and controversies of that time my parish priest gave me a simple piece of advice, a wise counsel I wish to pass on to you. ‘Stand with the Pope,’ he told me, ‘always stand with the Pope and you won’t go wrong.’

“And that’s what I want to say to you today, the understanding I want you to take home with you from the experience of standing here together with Pope Benedict in the heat of Madrid. Amid the turmoil and controversies as to what to you can surely believe, how you should truly live which will mark your lifetimes, stand with Peter, stand with the Pope.”

Whoever the Holy Father happens to be, Bishop Davies said, “if the faith is contested, if morals become confused, be sure you are always standing with the Pope just as you did in London, Birmingham and today in Madrid. For standing together with Peter you will never, as I was advised as a young teenager, go wrong in faith or the moral choices which shape our lives. In this you may shock media commentators, disturb public opinion and even take to the streets with prayer and generosity as you’re doing here in Madrid.”

  • Paul Waddington

    Bishop davies sounds like a good bishop.

  • Anonymous

    I remember one of my lecturers at Maryvale telling me shortly after Bishop Davies had been appointed to watch out for him. Since then I have not been disappointed. In orthodox publications he seems more prominent than the rest of the Bishops put together and always with seemingly wise counsel and for wise counsel at the moment, I’m not sure there is much better than this for a youth torn between the tides of liberal and orthodox Catholicism:

    “Amid the turmoil and controversies as to what to you can surely believe, how you should truly live which will mark your lifetimes, stand with Peter, stand with the Pope . . . if the faith is contested, if morals become confused, be sure you are always standing with the Pope . . . for standing together with Peter you will never go wrong in faith or the moral choices which shape our lives”

    I think I might pin this up and put it on my wall.

  • Honeybadger

    He is.

    He’s a breath of fresh air, an inspiration and what the Roman Catholic Church needs in England and Wales… and elsewhere, it has to be said!

  • Honeybadger

    He is.

    He’s a breath of fresh air, an inspiration and what the Roman Catholic Church needs in England and Wales… and elsewhere, it has to be said!

  • Honeybadger

    The quote should also be carved in granite, highlighted in pure gold, cemented deep into the walls of every presbytery,every bishop’s residence, every Catholic educational establishment, every seminary, every home.

    Pope Benedict XVI played a blinder when he chose Bishop Mark Davies for the Diocese of Shrewsbury.

  • Multum Incola

    Would this also be the case for Pope Borgia and the other (few) renegade scallywags that have soiled the chair of Peter?

  • Anonymous

    Whilst they may have behaved immorally, I’m not sure that they actually every preached immorally or attempted to pronounce on any matter of doctrine in a way that would be contrary to the faith.

  • Honeybadger

    There have been bad popes, bad kings, bad queens, bad presidents, bad prime ministers, bad vicars, bad rabbis, bad immams, bad priests, bad revolutionaries, bad emperors… since time immemorial.

    … so, why bring up that old nugget about the Borgias?

    Is that the best you can come up with, especially when another dire ‘drama’ about the Borgias is on Sky?

  • Anonymous

    ‘Stand with the Pope,’ he told me, ‘always stand with the Pope and you won’t go wrong.’

    Except when Popes are wrong. Evil Popes and hertical Popes have to be opposed Someone has already mentioned Alexander VI; no one is likely to suggest he should be canonised, but his critic Savonarola may yet be canonised. Honorius I was condemned as a heretic both by the Third Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, and by his own successors. Blessed Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, refused a command of Innocent IV that would have verged on simony; he came close to being excommunicated.

    The Popes are not faultless, nor are they always reliable teachers, nor are they always virtous, nor are their commands always moral, or even good  for the Church. They need to be prayed for, always: not to put on pedestals, let alone flattered.

    BTW – why is it acceptable for a Pope to live a scandalous life, but not acceptable for his teaching to be bad (as seems at times to be implied) ? Jesus was rather keen on right behaviour, if the gospels are any guide. Shouldn’t the Church have *His* priorities ?

    “For standing together with Peter you will never, as I was advised as a
    young teenager, go wrong in faith or the moral choices which shape our
    lives.” If only. Peter was horribly, woefully, wrong when he tried to persuade Jesus not to got to Jerusalem where He would be crucified; by addressing him as or discerning in his words the activity of Satan, Jesus destroyed in advance any idea that Peter or his sucessors could never go wrong.

  • Clare86

    Hearing this first hand in Madrid was amazing