Arinze in London
My Catholic faith gives unity and meaning to my life. Otherwise the various things I do, or bear, or receive or hope for in life would be like scattered mosaics without a unified meaning. My daily duties would be one monotonous and dull detail after another, without connected meaning. I would be facing heat, cold, traffic jam, insistent telephone calls and endless office meetings which make every new day saluted with lack of enthusiasm, if not with a sense of boredom, meaninglessness and growing tiredness.
On the contrary, my Catholic faith is a dynamic and bright lantern for my path in life. It shows me Jesus as the way, the truth and the life (cf. Jn 14:6). It harmonizes my duties as a citizen and as a Christian (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 43). It excludes all divorce between my Sunday Mass and my duties on Monday to Saturday. My plans and hopes, my achievements and failures, my pains and aches as one grows older, and my joys and celebrations of milestones in life are all given a vital synthesis and sense of direction. I do not live with a pessimistic melancholy outlook on life. I have no temptations to suicide because such are often based on seeing no meaning in life. With St Paul I can humbly say that I know in whom I have believed and I have every reason to put my trust in Christ Jesus (cf. II Tim 1:12).
The Cardinal went on to talk about the position of a Catholic in a pluralistic academic institution:
It is a risk to try to meet people of other religions if one does not have a clear idea of one’s Catholic identity and a calm insertion in it. A country does not send as its ambassador a citizen who cannot distinguish the flag of his country from two other flags, who has forgotten the name of the President or King/Queen of his country and of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and who cannot sing the National Anthem!
A Catholic who is not well inserted in our Catholic faith and community is threatened by many dangers in the academic community. There is the error of secularism which lives or wants to conduct society as if God did not exist, as if religion were a private property which must not be allowed to show its face in public. There is religious or theological relativism which denies objective truth in any religion, which assumes the attitude that one religion is as good as another, and which is practically saying that your religion is true for you and my religion is true for me, as if sincerity were the only virtue and were the objective criterion of truth! Every teacher knows that sincerity is not enough, otherwise all students would pass the mathematics examination. Practical materialism can become equivalent to implicit or practical atheism when only material things are taken seriously and the existence of God is denied or ignored. The error of liberalism, which can sometimes approach indifferentism, is that of people who regard themselves as superior to all considerations of adherence to a definite religion or set of beliefs and who look on all religions with indifferent and benign compassion.
The full text of the homily can be accessed here.