One of the most important legacies which was given to the Church in England by the Martyrs was the capacity to stand up for Christ and the truth on our own two feet, and until recent decades, Catholics knew how to do that. We used to know how to defend truth, how to stand out from the crowd and speak for Christ and the Church. And even though the Second Vatican Council sought to confirm that very mission we have lost much of our confidence to do so.
Cardinal Pell's recent discourse at Oxford has addressed that very thing. It is very fitting that Oxford, which was at the time of the Reformation such a centre of Catholicism, should have been the setting for this address. He called Catholics "to recover their genius for showing that there are better ways to live and to build a good society ... [and] ... to recover their self-confidence and courage."
He also put his finger squarely upon the centre of today's secularist attack which, he said, wants "to undermine the witness that [the Church gives] to the reality of Christian Revelation."
Regaining our self-confidence will be a great work of grace; indeed, it is something for us to pray for - that we will be open to God building us up to be unself-conscious ambassadors for Christ. We thank Cardinal Pell for taking the trouble to come to Oxford and to speak so clearly to us as a father and as a pastor.