It is wonderful that the Catholic Faith is coming out of Lancashire again - Lancashire, which has always been a home to the Faith.
One of the highpoints of my break in the UK over Christmastime was being given a copy of Bishop O'Donoghue's document "Fit for Mission? Church" which I had not previously seen. I was amazed when I discovered this CTS publication and the vision it contains. First, let me point out that I took above photo while out for a drive with my mother; it shows the River Ribble, one mid-morning in January, just by the village of Sawley whose great Abbey was destroyed in 1537 (one of the three great Abbeys of Lancashire before the "Reformation").
You open "Fit for Mission? Church" and you find that you are being addressed by a Bishop as a Pastor; he is writing to his own Diocese, but he is also addressing the whole Church in England and Wales. Bishop O'Donoghue is here presenting the Church in England and Wales with a vision for her life and mission. I have to say that I dont know when this was last done by a Bishop in England and Wales - I think that we would have to go back long before Cardinal Heenan to find such a vision. In fact, this document has stunned me somewhat - after all these long years of having lost sight of a real vision for the Church in England, suddenly and unexpectedly, Bishop Donoghue throws clear light upon the Church in England. What he has done is wonderful; this docuemnt is a great grace!
Essentially Bishop O'Donoghue begins by looking again at the four principal documents of the Second Vatican Council; he reflects upon what they actually say, he comments upon how they have been erroneously interpreted, and he teaches, in a structured and practical way, how Catholics need to respond today in order for us to truly embrace our identity and mission. Indeed, this is no heavy text - it is a working document. Bishop O'Donoghue is speaking to Bishops, to priests, to families, to groups and individuals, to whole parishes. It is a blueprint for the New Evangelisation in England and Wales.
This is a document that every family and every parish needs to internalise and work through. Thank you Bishop Patrick for the great leadership you have shown.