The second part of the report back of our faith and politics evening the other Friday. The third speaker was Christopher Lamb who is the assistant editor of the Tablet. It was very interesting listening to him talk about lessons learnt from the medias representation and misrepresentation of the Gay Marriage debate. Perhaps more interesting was the interest that is being shown in political circles about Catholic Social teaching. With John Crudass who is incharge of the Labour Party Police Review passionate about CST, and Ed Milliband, although an atheist, very interested. There is a feeling in ‘high places’ that CST could even reinvigorate politics.
Our final speaker was the retired MP John Battle. His enthusiasm and Passion for a politically engaged faith was infectious. Moving seamlessly from anecdotes about constituency surgerys to quoting Papal encyclicals – he made a deep impression on all the students present. When we addressed the importance of contemplation balancing activism, he had a beautiful description of contemplations as being ‘ a long loving look at the world’ (St Augustine ?) . He made a particularly important warning about how social media has created a climate of ‘opinionitis’ – where opinion and commentary starts to dominate media reporting not fact or truth.
All in all an invigorating evening, topped off by a group of students who put their faith into practice by holding a sleep-out to raise money for Shelter, and to highlight the needs of rough-sleepers. Our SVP group have already responded by starting a Monday Night soup run. Interestingly the sleep-out students also told me about a man who climbed over the gates about 3am and walked around the side of the Holy Name Church….. it got me thinking… who needs CCTV or guard dogs when you have so many students around!