In his introduction, Cardinal Nichols praised priests for “your faithfulness, your steadfast generosity, your ministry of healing, your endurance, not least under the burden of the grievous damage done to innocent victims by just a very few of our brother priests.”
In his homily, he warned that priests may feel increasingly out of place in the modern world, including in hospitals or classrooms.
“The uncomfortable things we say need not be judgmental or harsh, but simply counter-cultural,” he continued.
“Indeed, at the time of Douai College itself, Cardinal Allen urged priests to be ‘gentle and balanced’, ‘subtle and supple’ in their approach to diffident or fearful Catholics, adding that ‘in most cases the way of mercy is safer than the rigour of justice’.
“Contemporary words indeed, which increasingly go against the tide of our times.”
Britain has seen a steady decline in the number of priests since 1965
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