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Loschert lecture: Christian Responsibility in Public Life – the 21st Century Challenges

Wednesday 26 March 2014 - Lord Daniel Brennan delivers third Loschert lecture

The third in the series of Loschert lectures was given by Lord Daniel Brennan QC on the theme of  “Christian Responsibility in Public Life - the 21st Century Challenges” at Heythrop College on Wednesday 26th March.

In his wide-ranging and personal view of the challenges facing Christians in the 21st century, Lord Brennan drew on the Evangelii Gaudium, the Apostolic Exhortation published by the Vatican in November 2013 which is essentially Pope Francis’s ‘mission statement’ about where he wants the Catholic Church to be going and what kind of church he wants it to be.

Lord Brennan outlined his belief that the 21st century’s prevailing morality was driven by the ‘ethics of convenience’, which focused on the absolute right of the individual and which led to people becoming materialistic and self-obsessed.

He added: “I am ‘talking tough’ here to challenge my audience but this is a view that Pope Francis has outlined in the Evangelii Gaudium, where he writes:  “In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional”.

Lord Brennan, who is President of the Catholic Union, a specialist in commercial and international law, and a former Chairman of the Bar, issued a challenge for Catholics to communicate more effectively their Christian beliefs, to speak out using ‘friendly persuasion’ and to attempt to influence those who set the public agenda, such as the media.

He quoted the Aparecida Document affirmed by Benedict XV1 in 2007 which states that the Church…’cannot retreat in response to those who see only confusion, dangers and threats…What is required is confirming, renewing and revitalising the newness of the Gospel…’.

In conclusion, Lord Brennan encouraged his audience by quoting again from the Evangelii Gaudium: “Challenges exist to be overcome. Let us be realists but without losing our joy, our boldness and our hope filled commitment. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of our missionary vigour”.

The Loschert Lecture series is made possible thanks to the generous support of Mr William Loschert, the chairman of the Trustees of the London Centre of Fordham University with which Heythrop College collaborates closely.