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The Process

The Themes

Leaders' Notes

Young People's 'Vision': Summary (pdf)

Young People's 'Vision': Questions (pdf)


realities that are our challenges and opportunities. It should not be too "parochial" or inward looking but neither should it prescind from the problems and dilemmas that face the diocese today. In seeking to present a vision, I would want to distinguish between the bigger picture and the smaller, more local picture. They are entirely connected and should feed into one another. I hope that what follows will be a help and a stimulus for our reflection.

A Global Perspective


For the broader picture, I would refer to two quotations from the Second Vatican Council which are very well known but would seem to me to sum up the self-understanding of the Catholic Church in the modern world. One is the beginning of Gaudium et Spes:
          "The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those
          who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the
          followers of Christ as well."
The Church is in the world and part of it. We do not live in a different world from that of all our fellow men and women. Since the Council the world has become a smaller place, a "global village" and the Church is at the heart of it. Hence my second quotation which is from the beginning of Lumen Gentium, which describes the Church as "in the nature of a sacrament - a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and unity among all people." Because of the presence of the Church in the world, we know in faith that there is the possibility of a personal and communal relationship with God for all people and, therefore, of the deepest bonds of communion between men and women.


I propose these quotations since they should be a source of pride, of confidence and of peace. They tell us who and what we are. They should be a stimulus to outreach: to mission, to dialogue, to charity and to justice.

The Lessons of Our History


Our vision must also be for this particular diocese which came into being with the reestablishment of the hierarchy in 1850. Yet, our Catholic history goes back much further than that. It was to the shores of our diocese that St Augustine came, a missionary sent here by Pope St Gregory the Great. St John Fisher, one of the greatest English saints and martyrs was a bishop in this diocese. It so


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