From the Archbishop's desk: July

By Archbishop Malcolm McMahon

The precarious political situation in our country and perhaps even in the world has been ascribed to the lack of leadership at this time. It is hard for us to see who are the strong leaders in the world. Without leaders we are like "sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9: 36). Of course, others would say that strong leadership is not always the answer and the way forward lies in policies and ideas. That is an old debate about how our society develops.

However, in these uncertain times, Christians should not be afraid to bring their brand of leadership to the fore. Jesus was emphatic when he taught his disciples: the kings of the gentiles lord it over their subjects, but not so you (Matthew 20: 25–28). Leadership must always be based on service to each other and not on power and the accumulation of wealth. A Christian leader is one who reaches out to others and offers the hand of friendship, who seeks to help and support, and in so doing builds and discovers a true sense of community based on our common humanity.

These two principles – subsidiarity and solidarity – are at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching. Now is not the time for Christians to step back from leadership in public life but rather it is the moment for us to share our wisdom with those who do not know the Lord or his teaching.

The victims of terrorism in Manchester and London, and those who died in or survived the horror of the Grenfell Tower fire, are uppermost in my mind. My prayer is that we will discover a sense of community out of these tragedies that will promise a better future based not on blame but on loving service of our neighbours.