Category: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Cardinal Vincent on the Synod’s National Synthesis

Cardinal Vincent Nichols took part in a press conference to discuss the National Synthesis and the Bishops’ reflection statement alongside Canon Christopher Thomas, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference and Sarah Adams, Clifton Diocese’s Director for the Department of Adult Education and Evangelisation.
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Spring Plenary 2022 Resolution

In his 2014 message for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees Pope Francis wrote: “We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees… are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved.”

  1. This plea of Pope Francis is as urgent as ever. Given the events of recent weeks it is of particular relevance for the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Our appeal for refugees and asylum seekers to be welcomed and respected is based on the fundamental principle of the dignity of every person, created in the image and likeness of God. Every nation should recognise this dignity and the rights which flow from it.
  2. We appreciate the complexity and magnitude of the challenges being faced in the ongoing migration crisis. With over 80 million people across the world displaced by war, poverty, persecution and the effects of global warming, this challenge requires collaborative international action. Although resources are limited and there are many competing demands, wealthy countries, including the UK should give leadership in this endeavour.
  3. The value we attach to each person and the compassion which the afflicted deserve demands that we welcome asylum seekers, treating them justly and honouring their dignity as human persons.
  4. The Nationality and Borders Act fails to do this. Those seeking refuge in the UK should be provided with safe routes for travelling, have the opportunity to tell their story, be listened to and have their cases assessed justly. We keep in mind that there is no illegal asylum seeker; to claim asylum is a human right.
  5. People smugglers and modern-day human traffickers profit from the desperation and misery of refugees. We fully support their prosecution. It is imperative however to make a clear distinction between victims and those who exploit them. Crime is defeated by confronting the perpetrators not by punishing the victims.
  6. Many British people have given witness to justice through hospitality, providing a compassionate welcome and campaigning on behalf of refugees. We applaud their efforts and kindness. Our Christian faith demands that we respond generously to asylum seekers whose dignity must be protected and upheld. Jesus taught us, “I was a stranger and you made me welcome.” (Matt 25:35) so we will continue to advocate their cause.

Approved by the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference
Friday 6 May 2022

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Spring Plenary 2022 Resolution

An invitation from the Bishops of England and Wales

This is the bread come down from heaven (John 6:58)

A beautiful hallmark of the Catholic faith is the profound desire to participate in the Holy Mass and share in the Eucharist. We do so with deep gratitude and joy. The Eucharist gives the Church her identity – “The Eucharist makes the Church, and the Church makes the Eucharist.” It enables us to worship Almighty God, to support each other on our journey of faith, and to be a visible sign of faith in the world. This hallmark is supported and strengthened by the precept that our fundamental Christian duty is to worship God by participating in the celebration of Mass. Attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is the greatest of all privileges, sometimes referred to as “the Sunday Obligation.”

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, until the present time, we have shared with you our judgment that the situation of the last two years has meant that the Sunday Obligation has been impeded and has needed to be fulfilled in other ways. We thank God that this situation has now changed. The pressing challenges of the pandemic have lessened significantly. Most people have resumed the wide range of normal activities, no longer restricted by the previous Covid measures. We therefore believe that the reasons which have prevented Catholics from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation no longer apply.

We understand there will still be some members of our congregations who, for reasons of health, do not feel safe enough to return to Mass. It has always been the understanding of the Church that when the freedom of any Catholic to attend Mass in person is impeded for a serious reason, because of situations such as ill health, care for the sick or legitimate fear, this is not a breach of the Sunday Obligation.

Our Catholic people and parishes have benefitted during these difficult times from the online streaming of Mass and other services. “Virtual viewing” of Mass online does not fulfil the Sunday Obligation. It may, however, be a source of continual spiritual comfort to those who cannot attend Mass in person, for example those who are elderly and sick, for whom the obligation does not apply. In this context, we recognise gratefully the ministry of those who administer Holy Communion to the elderly, sick and housebound.

We are grateful to our clergy, religious and lay faithful who have served our parishes, schools and communities with dedication and distinction throughout this pandemic. Now we look forward with renewed faith and confidence.

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord Jesus entrusted to us the precious gift of Himself. With humility, we glory in being a Eucharistic people for whom attendance at Mass is essential. Looking forward to the forthcoming feast of Pentecost, we now invite all Catholics who have not yet done so to return to attending Mass in person.

As the Church needs the witness of the presence of each person, so too each believer needs to journey in faith and worship with their fellow disciples. Nourished by our encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus, fed with His Word and His Body and Blood in Holy Communion, and supported by the presence of each other, we receive strength week by week, to serve the Lord and glorify Him with our lives.

Approved by the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference
Friday 6 May 2022

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Synodal Pathway Links

The Synod can be confusing. What is it? What am I expected to do?

Our wonderful Synodal Team have collated some links that can help navigate parishioners.

Two articles can start you off, one in the tone of heart-to-heart between parishioners, the other a news piece on Pope Francis’s take on the synod:

Our Mission Technique by Mark Schlingerman – Madonna House Apostolate

This lovely cartoon animation is a light but useful tool

Our Dioceses and the Holy See have plenty of resources. The links are listed below.

Finally, this message from Cardinal Mario provides a more in-depth take on the Synodal process.

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For a Synodal Parish: Communion, Participation, Mission

A message from Dan and the Synodal Team:

Our journey together as a Church depends upon our accompanying one another in our parish, trusting that the Spirit guides us as we act together.  The joy of the Gospel remains hidden in our hearts until we come together, to offer it to one another for the healing of our parish and our world.
Two open parish-wide meetings are scheduled for us to listen and speak again as we did during the Advent listening events and written responses.  The contents of our parish synthesis statement sent to the Diocese will be presented as well as the synthesis from the Diocese sent to the bishops’ conferences and the Vatican.
The ears of the Spirit are open:  What remains to be said to one another?  To the Diocese?  To the Vatican/global Church?The hands of the Spirit are ours:  What lies before us as we discern our journey together?
Meetings in the Saint Hilda Room: 

Wednesday evening, 8 June at 7.30 pm                                                         

Saturday morning, 11 June at 11.00 am

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Westminster Diocese Bishops’ Synod Report

This report is based on the responses to the diocesan synodal pathway. It has been submitted to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to contribute to a national report finalised in June and sent to the Synod Office in the Vatican in July. The reports from this global exercise will then form the basis of preparatory documents for the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.

Westminster Diocese Bishops’ Synod Report – Diocese of Westminster (

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