The first schism in the Church occurred before the eyes of Jesus: two disciples against ten and ten against two (Mk 10:35-41). The reason for the dispute: not a theological discussion or the rejection of some dogma, but the eagerness for power, the competition for the first places. It was the beginning of a painful history of ecclesial divisions and conflicts, always determined by petty rivalries.
The prime minister presides over a government with no identifiable ideology, which implements policies with inherent contradictions and which is derided by its own natural allies. Yet there is no credible opposition in sight. What is to explain the failure of Labour to cut into the Conservatives’ lead in the public opinion polls? And that despite the earlier Labour conference having also resulted in a positive outcome for the party leadership?
As a child, I was taught that I had a guardian angel, a real angel given me by God to accompany me everywhere and protect me from danger. I remember a pious holy card given to me by my mother, showing a young boy playing dangerously close to the edge of a cliff and an angel protecting him there.
It is one of the most iconic vistas in the world and was unveiled nearly a century ago – on 12 October, 1931. Brazil's statue of Christ the Redeemer sits on top of the 700-metre (2,300ft) Corcovado mountain overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. Standing 30 metres (98ft) high, with arms stretching 28m (92ft) wide, the world-famous statue has become a cultural icon and was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The scandal of abusive priests has devastated thousands of lives and exposed a crisis of faith. Addressing an international conference on the issue in Warsaw last month, one of Europe’s leading Catholic intellectuals argued that only profound reform can save the institutional Church. In a spirit of humility and with a sorrowful heart – in spiritu humilitatis et in animo contrito – I want to touch on one of the most painful wounds of the Church.