In Which a Bishop is called “cheeky” – UPDATED

(Photo by Clare Kendall)

…but I mean no disrespect at all. In my book, he could be cheekier!

As the Year of Faith approaches, noteworthy ideas are beginning to make headlines, the most recent being the notion by Kieran Conry, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, who would like to see the faithful take a scheduled “moment for prayer” on the first Friday of every month.

Whatever you are doing, as your responsibilities allow, stop, perhaps close your eyes, bow your head and prayerfully and silently meditate on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross out of love for you and everyone. You might even want to set your mobile phone to ring at 2.55pm to remind you to pause for prayer.

This is a fairly assertive move by Conry, particularly coming, as it does, as the British government argues before the European Court of Human Rights that employers should be free to ban the wearing of symbols of faith in the workplace. Indeed, the bishop was cheeky enough (or, some might say, impolitic enough) to suggest that such a moment of prayer would constitute “quietly and confidently witnessing to your faith to those around you.”

As controversial as Conry’s idea might be, it suffers from an unwillingness to give offense by asking too much of anyone. Perhaps Conry thinks any start is a good start (and there is something to that; someone who has never taken a moment to pray before a friend might find doing so for the first time quite challenge enough) but there is something to be said for audacity, particularly when one is urging the cultivation of a good habit. “Begin as you mean to continue” is a stouthearted bit of tweedy British pip-pip applicable here. If the point is to build a relationship with Christ and give witness to one’s faith, can a scheduled moment of prayer, made twelve times a year, possibly foment a sturdy regularity of purpose?

I say we be even more audacious! You can read how, here.

UPDATE: The pope is talking up the Angelus, too!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Manny

    I like the idea. It may not always be possible “as my responsibilities may not allow.” But it’s worth trying. Why only first Fridays? That’s actually hard to remember. I would prefer every Friday.

  • Ellen

    I’ve got my phone to ring every Friday at 3:00 to remind me.