Lessons from history of St. Patrick for fighting injustice today, says Derby Bishop
The Anglican Bishop of Derby Alastair Redfern urged churchgoers at St Mary’s in Derby to call on St Patrick as for inspiration in tackling the modern day social scourges of slavery and people trafficking.
St Patrick had himself been trafficked as a slave, he said. Before he got up to deliver his homily, Hail Glorious St. Patrick was played in the magnificent St Mary’s, designed by Augustus Pugin. Bishop Redfern said St. Patrick “one of the greatest saints” and reminded the congregation that “Patrick was trafficked as a slave”.
He quoted from a letter by St. Patrick to a contemporary, the warrior Coroticus, in which he warned him that “to take someone into slavery is to commit murder”.
The Bishop said: “Even though I took part in 2007 in the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade and the role played by William Wilberforce, yet the modern slavery of people is the second most profitable crime in the world … after drugs.”
He asked people to think about the maxim if it is too good or cheap to be true it may be because for example the five people who wash our cars for a few pounds may be working as part of modern day slavery.
He spoke of his personal experience where he invited some religious sisters along to a police raid on a brothel where people were being trafficked for sex and told the packed church “we needed carers for the victims”.
He asked people to join locally with the Christian and other campaigning groups, what he called “the rainbow of people” who are responding to the call of Pope Francis from his Lenten Message of 2015, that we need to fight the “globalisation of indifference”.