Celibacy is not just a matter of not having sex. It is a way of admiring a person for their humanity, maybe even for their beauty.
Clearly a big challenge for Christianity is how to remain in contact with the millions of people who look for God but do not come to Church.
This evening I wish to suggest that we Christians should accompany people on their pilgrimages. Specifically we should travel with people as they search for the good, the true and the beautiful.
Any deep-rooted prejudice against others, such as homophobia or misogyny, would be grounds for rejecting a candidate for the priesthood, but not their sexual orientation.
Seeking the good is not primarily about rules and commandments.
We need the wisdom of women, and the experience of married people and parents, and the depth of the contemplative if we are to be formed as preachers.
Despite all the lunacy of the last century, all the absurdity of war and genocide, we believe that humans being are rational and are made to seek the truth.
At the centre of Christianity is community; we are gathered by the Lord around the altar.
I believe that his death and resurrection transformed humanity's relationship with God.
To be a preacher requires two apparently contradictory qualities: confidence and humility.
We can identify with Frodo and Sam, setting off not knowing quite where they are going and what they are to do.
The trouble is that after nine years as a Jack of all trades and Master of the Dominican Order, I have no expertise on anything except airports and exotic foods.
The unutterable violence of the Holocaust shook our confidence in the possibility of telling any story of faith at all.
Claiming that you have got the truth wrapped up does breed violence and intolerance.
The medieval Church believed that the resurrection of Christ marked a new time for all of humanity.
Most religions live from a narrative that shapes their relationship with the divine other, God or the gods, and with the human other, the stranger.
The next challenge for Christianity is to remind Europeans that we are called to seek the truth.
The key question for the future of Europe is whether these faiths will live together in peace or whether they will tear Europe apart.
Our society has lost confidence in the power of reason, except perhaps scientific reason.
One of our deepest needs is to be at home.
Christianity will only make a contribution to the future of Europe if it can prove that people like Sam Harris are wrong and that we can make peace.
Indeed if we Christians so tell our story that Judaism is silenced, then we have not spoken rightly of Christ.
I believe that my own Christian faith does indeed make universal claims.
What can the Church do? If she stands by her moral teaching, then she will be seen as standing in judgement over a vast percentage of Europeans.
To be frank, I suspect that today there is little respect for Christianity as source of moral teaching about goodness.
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