Catholic Union welcomes Bishop Robert Barron to Westminster

The Catholic Union welcomed Bishop Robert Barron to the Houses of Parliament this week as part of a visit to the UK being organised by Catholic Voices.

Bishop Barron, who is Catholic Bishop of Winona-Rochester (USA) and Founder of Word on Fire Ministries, delivered a keynote speech in Parliament on Monday 6th February.

Ahead of the speech, Bishop Barron was greeted and introduced by Mike Kane MP, Convenor of the Catholics Legislators’ Network and Vice President of the Catholic Union.

Over 100 civic and religious leaders gathered in the Terrace Pavilion in Parliament overlooking the River Thames for the event, including Catholic Union President Sir Edward Leigh MP and Catholic Voices Patron, Lord Brennan of Bibury.

Bishop Barron, who has over 3 million followers on Facebook, spoke on the theme of what Christianity brings to the public conversation. Using the beatitudes as a framework for his remarks, he said that Christian virtues were greatly needed in public life. Turning the other cheek, he said, was not a message for Christians to be passive but to stand their ground, including in the public sphere.

The speech was part of a week long programme of events being organised by Catholic Voices, culminating in a major conference in London on Saturday 11 February. Over 1,300 people are expected to attend the event on “Sharing the Church’s Story” in the QEII centre, which has sold out.

As part of his visit, Bishop Barron also had a meeting in No 10 Downing Street and celebrated Mass in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in Parliament.

Mike Kane MP, Catholic Union Vice President, comments: “After many years in the planning, I’m delighted that Bishop Barron was finally able to be with us in Parliament. It was great to see Christians come together from different parties and parts of the country for his talk. We’re called to do many things as MPs, and the Bishop’s talk was a great reminder of what Christianity has to offer the public conversation and the duty to work towards a more peaceful and virtuous society.”

James Somerville-Meikle, Deputy Director of the Catholic Union, comments: “This was a truly inspiring occasion. In a place where there is usually so much noise and busyness, you could have heard a pin drop at times during the Bishop’s remarks. All of us who were there will remember the occasion for a very long time. I know many of our Catholic parliamentarians greatly appreciated the chance to hear from Bishop Barron and speak to him afterwards. Being a Christian in public life can be tough, but as the Bishop reminded us, we have so much to contribute. We will take his words to heart as we continue to strive for the common good.”

Brenden Thompson, CEO of Catholic Voices, comments: “The theme for this week has been sharing the Church’s story. As well as in our daily lives and in our local communities, the Church has so much to offer the public conversation – in fact as Christians we are called to give witness to our faith in public. I’m really proud that we were able to put on this event, bringing together civic and faith leaders to hear from Bishop Barron directly. I can’t wait for the conference on Saturday to continue the conversation and hopefully inspire even more people.”