Week 8: Hero – Church Leaders

by Jackie_South on February 23, 2014

Church_heroOur regular Hero of the Week award goes to this nation’s church leaders, for going where Her Majesty’s Opposition have feared to tread

Yesterday was a momentous day for Britain’s most senior Catholic, Vincent Nichols. The Pope created him one of the Catholic church’s 218 cardinals, and one of 122 that will get to choose the next Pope if the post falls vacant in the next twelve years. But it was his statements earlier this week that have merited this award.

On Tuesday, Nichols declared the government’s welfare policy was ‘punitive‘ and the effect of benefit sanctions a ‘disgrace‘ to a nation as rich as the United Kingdom. He also attacked its attitude to immigrants as spinning a discourse “based on fear“.

But it has not just been Nichols that has been outspoken. On Thursday 25 English Bishops, 2 Welsh Bishops, 14 Methodist district chairs and 2 senior Quakers put their names to a letter to the Daily Mirror stating “We must, as a society, face up to the fact that over half of people using food banks have been put in that situation by cutbacks to and failures in the benefit system, whether it be payment delays or punitive sanctions.”

We are not believers here at All That’s Left. But we welcome the church’s reinvigorated defence of the poor since Pope Francis was inaugurated and Justin Welby became Archbishop of Canterbury. The tragedy is that the Labour Party is not following suit, too scared of the right-wing backlash that would follow.

We may not like Francis’ continued opposition to contraception or the continuing conservatism of the Church of England on female bishops and same-sex marriage, but we are greatly encouraged that Britain’s church leaders are standing up for those that need it most.  They are our deserved heroes of the week.

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