The Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, took the opportunity during his Christmas Day sermon in Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork to express his thanks to everyone – in both the Diocese and in society in general – for their generous, charitable support in response to the needs of our time in 2022.
Bishop Colton was preaching on the words in the Christmas story ‘there was no room for them in the inn’ and he thanked people who, today, are generously and wholeheartedly making room.
Referring to the complexity of many of the seemingly intractable issues facing society, he said:
Complexity, of course, doesn’t let us off the hook. The Christmas Gospel prompts us, each of us, to do what is in our own power and capacity to do, and to engage practically, reflectively and thoughtfully about these challenges. That is why I am so thankful for the track record in this tiny Diocese of ours of the engagement of our charities, for many centuries now, in healthcare, older person and dementia care, addressing the needs of orphans and widows, addressing poverty and economic necessity, our own housing charities – Kingston Charity, the Clergy Widows and Orphans and LappsCharity , by parishes engaging with asylum seekers seeking international protection, and now this year, in response also to the war in Ukraine. Today gives me the opportunity to thank everyone who has helped.
In addition to these practical ways of ‘making room’, Bishop Colton said there are other ways also of ‘making room’:
Those are all practical things. But there are other ways in which these words from the Christmas story also challenge our minds, our hearts and souls: conceptually and in terms of our outlook – our worldview – how we think about others – the exclusion that comes from marginalising by speech, stereotyping and caricature, fear, suspicion, othering, misinformation, hatred, demonising others simply because we ourselves do not understand or have got the wrong end of the stick. … And there’s an uncomfortable challenge for churches too. Who, sometimes, even purportedly in God’s name, do we leave outside and exclude still?