The Society of St Augustine of Canterbury held its now regular autumn reception in the Throne Room of Archbishop’s House on Tuesday 21st October as guests of Cardinal Vincent who had just returned from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome. His Eminence spoke of the humbling experience of being part of this gathering which focused on the pastoral challenges facing the family today. He recommended everyone read Pope Francis’ speech at the conclusion of the Synod which offers a clear and concise reflection on the journey and temptations we face, and the need to find concrete solutions to the many difficult challenges faced by families today.
For the first time we also had a guest speaker from among our members. Although Sir Neil Butterfield QC has recently retired as a High Court judge, he maintains a significant role in public life as Vice-Chairman of the Parole Board and as a member of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. He provided an informed, enlightening and lively speech in which he questioned why the judicial system in this country resulted in such a high prison population compared with most other European nations, and whether it was time to consider a radical review of the law relating to drug supply and use. As an illustration he described how a drug user might resort to petty theft to finance his habit and, on third conviction, be automatically committed to prison for nine months at huge cost to the taxpayer, only to find himself in a place where drugs were plentiful and he was surrounded by serious criminals ready to inculcate him with tendencies far more injurious to our society. Food for thought!
Below are a selection of photographs taken at the Reception.