The following is the Declaration front the National Pastoral Congress of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, delivered by Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool on May 6, 1980.
JESUS CHRIST is the Risen Lord. He is for all of us the way to salvation, the truth that never fails and the life that lasts for eternity. We reaffirm our belief that we belong to His Church and are united to Him through baptism, the sacraments and in our life of prayer. In Him we are at one with all redeemed humanity.
During the past few days we have tried to represent faithfully our Church in England and Wales at this National Pastoral Congress in Liverpool. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit we have shared freely with each other our hopes and our anxieties and we have together sought the will of God.
As we prepare now to return to our diodese and parishes, we give thanks to God that He has helped us to reflect more deeply on our commitment to Jesus Christ and on the practical implications of that commitment in every aspect of our life in society today.
And so we, the National Pastoral Congress, conscious of our unirSTWitrfhe Vicar °I-Christ.. Pope John Paul II, with the entire Catholic Church throughout the world, and in the presence of Jesus Christ, hereby declare our agreed determination to follow His way more faithfully, to grasp His truth more purposefully and to live His life rnore consciously.
We believe that each human being is of infinite value in the eyes of God: eacl individual created and redeemed; each individual with an eternal destiny. Wc profess together in Congress that all mankind, loved by God without limit, must be loved and served by us who glory in the name of Christian.
We accept and give thanks for the wealth of gifts lavished upon us by the Holy Spirit, We recognise that each of us has a personal calling from God and that together we share in Christ's redeeming mission to the world. And so we commit ourselves to finding ways whereby we can each play our full and distinctive part within the Church's life, worship and action..
We recognise our families as the Church in miniature, the home of faith and love. We recognise the difficulties they face in the world we live in, but we recognise too the great potential their members have to bring Christ to each other and to others as well.
In our young people we see both a source of vitality and hope and a challenge to the adult Church to make our witness meaningful and purposeful.
In the handicapped, the deprived and the rejected, we see the image of Christ crucified, a focus for our love and care, whose needs we must recognise and meet. and from whom we receive a living witness of Christ's passion. We profess our growing conviction of the need for more profound unity with our fellow Christians and we will continue to search for more effective ways of achieving that unity. We commit ourselves to continuing dialogue with those of other faiths and none, respecting each and inviting all to listen with us to the voice of Jesus Christ. Our hearts go out to those who for whatever reason have fallen away from the active practice of their religion. We long to welcome them back into the family of the Church.
We pledge our deep commitment to Christ's legacy of peace. We affirm that commitment to justice lies at the heart of Christian witness: that God's justice demands respect and reverence for all human life; that the first concern of Christians must be for the poor of the world, at home and abroad: that Christians must be stewards of creation and not slaves of material possessions; that all human beings, of every class and colour, whether at work or unemployed, in jobs which demean or which fulfil, are individuals of equal worth tc God.
We recognise the complexity of these issues and appreciate that there are no easy answers. But we believe that, in and through prayer, we can find that personal conversion of life which leads to the courageous action which is needed.
In our Congress we have acknowledged the debt we owe ot Catholics in the past who shaped our rich tradition in the work of education. We recognise our responsibility as a Church to continue that work and we commit ourselves to even greater efforts to provide a life-long education in the faith.
In our schools and colleges, in our homes and parishes, we as the Church will try to bring to fulfilment the potential that lies in each person.
We accept God's call to bring the Gospel to our world. We accept the need to proclaim that message more intelligibly and with greater relevance. Wc recognise that we must proclaim the truth consistently in word and in way of life. We pledge ourselves to try to deepen our understanding of the real needs of those who are oppressed and suffering in the Third World. We desire to share in whatever way is open to us with our sisters and brothers in these lands.
We were greatly heartened at the start of our Congress by Pope John Paul's words of encourage ment, approval, and guidance. We reaffirm our unshakeable devotion to his ministry in the Church and to his person.
We await eagerly the next stage of this great enterprise in shared responsibility and spiritual renewal. We intend to follow in our local situations the signposts set up by this Congress.
I .ater this summer our bishops will provide us with their response to our recom mendations and their guidance for future pastoral action. It will be for them to discern the way forward. In the meantime we will prepare the way by trying to spread the hope and Christian joy which we have found together here in Liverpool.
Now we offer all our work and endeavours to Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, With Mary's prayers let us, as God's people on pilgrimage, go in peace to love and serve the Lord.