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Quotes of the week

23 February 2024


Once upon a time, the key unit in society was the family. Today it is the individual. The only principle we can agree matters is choice, though with the death of religion and philosophy, the range of choices that we can imagine has narrowed drastically, as culture and faith have been replaced by holiday photos and video games

Tim Stanley, The Daily Telegraph, 19 February


I rather pretentiously thought it would be good to have an identifiably church person taking part in mainstream conversations. I don’t think it made any difference to anybody at all in fact

Richard Coles, interview, The Times, 20 February


They are two big institutions that demand a lot, and which you make the mistake of loving. Institutions don’t love you back

ibid. on the BBC and the Church of England


Last week, I was visiting a Church of England infant school in Pocklington . . . a boy of probably only six or seven, put up his hand and asked me something that no one in school had ever asked me before. “Who cares for you?” he said. It was a beautifully kind question. I could’ve hugged him. Because my job, like many jobs, can sometimes be tough and sometimes be lonely and is always challenging. Even him asking the question felt like being cared for

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, Pause for Thought, Radio 2, 20 February

If I do get to heaven, I’ve often wondered what job I’d get. I’d like to be a defence lawyer for borderline cases: people with a good heart who’ve made a few poor decisions. We used to call it forgiveness and it used to be quite popular, but the world isn’t so keen on it these days. Maybe it’s time to bring it back

Frank Skinner, comedian, interview, The Times, 14 February


There is something final about ash. It marks the presence of what used to be, but has been destroyed, burnt, obliterated. Something solid has turned to dust. In my recent visit to Ukraine, I saw ash settle upon a world of rubble and destruction. Ash reminds us of the forces of death that harm the lives of women, men, children and all creation

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, X/Twitter, 14 February


There are around 17,500 acres of churchyards in England — that’s around twice the size of a city like Oxford. . . I want them to be places for the living as well as the dead

Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, on the C of E’s biodiversity agenda, BBC News online, 14 February


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