A message of consolation that still endures

The Christian faith faces many challenges – but that is what it is for.

Easter is a unique expression of hope, of regeneration and of the triumph of life over death. It is not necessary to be an active Christian to gain some measure of inspiration and reassurance from this great festival that, for two millennia, has annually brought a sense of renewal to our society. There is no time at which Christianity – reduced, marginalised and beleaguered as it may nowadays appear – so subtly influences humanity as at Easter. That influence is benevolent and welcome, emphasising as it does the duties of respect and service to others. Yet, in recent years, a small but vocal secularist lobby has sought to represent Christianity as somehow undesirable, even threatening, and to exclude it from the public square.

That is why the senior Catholic churchman in Britain, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, is calling upon Christians to “wear proudly a symbol of the cross of Christ”, in response to attempts to ban the cross in the workplace. Why should the symbol that, from the spires of cathedrals to modest village churches, has dominated our landscape for so many centuries now be proscribed? It is the defining symbol of our culture; no other emblem so comprehensively expresses the historical identity of Britain and Europe. The bemusement of Christians was understandable when David Cameron, at his Easter reception for churchmen in Downing Street, welcomed a Christian “fightback”, while his own Government is pursuing a case at the European Court to enforce the ban on the cross at work. Yet the fact that the Prime Minister felt it incumbent on him as leader of the nation to deliver an Easter message highlights the enduring presence of the Christian faith at the heart of our shared national psyche.  Continue reading


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