Cardinal Vincent Nichols has urged Catholics working in the legal profession to be “missionaries of mercy”.
Speaking yesterday at the annual Red Mass – a Mass celebrated for judges, lawyers, law school professors and students and government officials – the Archbishop of Westminster called on those present to “reflect on the place of mercy in every aspect of the administration of justice” and to be “missionaries of mercy” who “live out the relationship between mercy and justice that our faith reveals to us”.
He went on: “No one exists as a matter of justice. Rather, our very existence is an act of God’s mercy, made all the more clear by the fact that our existence has a real purpose, an eternal future in the joyful presence of God.”
He said that “the coming of the Holy Spirit manifests God’s justice. God, true to his Word, gives us this light by which we come to know our waywardness, our sins. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit we come to know our need for forgiveness.”
Cardinal Nichols invited the lawyers “to let the Holy Spirit fire your imaginations, so to discover and create ways in which you can rightly season justice with mercy, no matter your field of law.
“Mercy is not reserved just for those who commit crime. Mercy must also extend to their victims. And to every person.”
He urged them to “seek, too, the place of mercy in the way you treat everyone you meet in your courts, your chambers, your offices”.
The Mass was celebrated in Westminster Cathedral yesterday, the first day of the legal year. The principal celebrant was the papal nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Menini. The Red Mass is organised each year by the Thomas More Society, whose members are mainly Catholics in the legal profession.