Britain must rediscover its Christian inheritance, the Bishop of Shrewsbury will say this Christmas.

The Rt Rev Mark Davies, leader of Cheshire’s Catholic faithful, believes the country needs to ‘rediscover and celebrate its Christian inheritance’ if it is to withstand threats posed by ‘deadly and destructive ideologies’.

In his Christmas homily the bishop will say Britain can be glimpsed at its best in the national celebration of Christmas when the bonds of family and community are renewed and shared humanity is recognised in the light of Christ’s Nativity.

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It is this legacy of Christian faith, hope and charity rather than an arbitrarily-determined set of ‘British values’ which best guarantees social cohesion and has inspired in successive generations a ‘greatness of heart’ the Bishop feels.

In his sermon at midnight mass in Shrewsbury Cathedral, Bishop Davies will also challenge a report published earlier this month by the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life because, he will say, it effectively recommends ‘for the first time in our history the side-lining of Christianity’.

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The bishop will describe the conclusions of the report as ‘incomprehensible’ given the gathering threats and challenges to society.

Bishop Davies will stress that ‘nothing is more guaranteed to renew our relationships and even our social fabric’ than the Christian inheritance ‘which has shaped so much that is good in our culture and laws and is the source of the virtues which express the best of us’.