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Quotes of the week

08 October 2021


We have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert to our children

Faith leaders’ climate statement, Rome, 4 October


If the Church must tremble, well, let it tremble

Sister Veronique Margron, president of the Conference of Religious Orders in France, responding to the Sauvé report on the extent of sexual abuse by French Roman Catholic priests, 5 October


He could not get any fuel. . . He met three men who were leaving their church after evening service. “The men who helped me were amazing. We all filled our mouths with diesel multiple times [trying] to siphon it. How many people are willing to drink diesel and get dirty to help someone they don’t know?”

Rachel Obordo/Jedidajah Otte, The Guardian, 29 September


It is an extraordinary fact of this saga that every time Christ Church presents its allegations against the Dean for hearing by an independent judge, tribunal, police force or regulatory body, the college loses. In numerical terms of charges or submissions or allegations won or lost, the results to date are Dean 41, Dons 0

Jonathan Aitken, The Critic, 27 September


Small rural churches often seem rather marginalised, treated in diocesan league tables like “failed” urban churches

Emma Thompson, freelance writer and member of Save the Parish, The Times, 25 September


In newspaper jargon a particularly outrageous story is known as “a marmalade dropper”. . . I had thought such a fate lay a good few years in my future. Yet the article about a beer festival in a churchyard in Stockton-on-Tees, Co Durham, accompanied by photographs of drinkers sitting on gravestones and using burial slabs as convenient tables, left me slack-jawed. Speechless. Genuinely amazed. Then angry. . . Lowering your voice, not stepping on actual graves, maybe clasping your hands behind your back if so moved while respectfully reading the inscriptions and commenting on the shocking rate of infant mortality in Victorian times — we all know the drill. Except apparently we don’t. Not all of us

Robert Crampton, The Times, 28 September


To be alive when we might have never lived — is not this the greatest mystery and the most confounding gift? To co-opt the line of one of my favourite hymns: “It is a thing most wonderful, Almost too wonderful to be!”

Matthew Syed, The Sunday Times, 26 September


My father was a born-again Christian, and when I recalled his life at his funeral in the spring, my most vivid memory was his constant amazement at what he called “the gift of life”. This sense of gratitude didn’t necessarily alter his life choices or values; rather, it altered their qualitative experience. As Wittgenstein put it: “It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists”



We have all, believers and non-believers alike, grown up understanding that our deepest trust must be in scepticism. We should test every thought. What we should test every thought against isn’t quite so self-evident

Jessica Martin, Bampton Lecture, May


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