2014-02-12 14:17:59

UK flooding: Statement from Bishop of Clifton

(Vatican Radio) The bishop of Clifton diocese in the south of England, Declan Lang, has issued a statement about the flooding that continues to disrupt lives and take its toll on property in his diocese and in many parts of the United Kingdom.

In the statement, Bishop Lang praises the spirit of solidarity and acts of service that have characterized his community’s response to the crisis. He also calls on the faithful to reflect on the need for a recovery of a more simple lifestyle in harmony with the created world, of which we are stewards.

Below, please find the full text of the statement:


My thoughts and prayers are with all those people who are suffering from the present floods, especially those in the Somerset Levels and Gloucestershire. People are having their lives endangered and seeing their homes and livelihoods ruined. It is a tragic situation.

But we have also seen people coming to the help of one another and working tirelessly to save whatever is possible, especially the farmers helping one another to save their livestock. My admiration is with the people of the Somerset Levels and Gloucestershire who have shown the spirit of what it is to be a good neighbour in the face of disaster.

In the short term, we must ask what can be done to help people with the loss of their homes and livelihoods. In the longer term, we need to ask what we have learnt from our experiences. In Somerset, one lesson would seem to be the need to dredge the Levels on a regular basis. Other long-term lessons can be summed up by the need to adopt a simple lifestyle; be prepared to make sacrifices and live sustainably.

Simplicity is not constant austerity or living with a miserable face, but times of restraint interspersed with feasts and festivals. Sacrifice, an unpopular and unfashionable word means giving up one’s own needs for the common good of others. Sustainable living is working with the earth not against it.

Local communities have come together in the face of flooding. Once the floods have receded that spirit of community should continue with us all recognising our need to care for one another and the environment of which we are part.


The Media and Communications Officer for the Clifton Diocese, Phil Gibbons, says he has seen the encouraging public-spiritedness on display. Listen: RealAudioMP3

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