Richard is Co-ordinator of London Mining Network, author of ‘Bright Wings’ and a member of the Community of the Passion.

What is one word that you would use to describe yourself?


What one memory do you most treasure?

Other people expressing love for me – thankfully that is not only one memory, but it is one kind of memory.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t worry so much – it’ll give you grey hairs.

Which person (living or dead) would you most like to meet and why?

Pope Francis, because he brings me delight and inspiration and reaffirms my faith that God is present in the Church. (Before March 2013 I was beginning to think God had given up and moved elsewhere.)

Brown sauce or red sauce?

Red: it’s a choice between communism and bourgeois democracy.

When did ‘God’ become more than a word to you?

When I was a toddler and experienced something ‘more’ in everything around me.

How does your faith shape your work?

My faith compels me to work for justice and the protection of the Earth, and to do it in a way which is respectful of other people, even those whom I oppose. It means I have to try to do everything in a loving way, being kind and forgiving. Of course, the strain of attempting that is a total wind-up and leads to sleepless nights, bouts of melancholy and explosions of ill-temper when people try my patience, but then I fall back on the joy of mutual forgiveness.

(It’s not as difficult as the year I spent trying to follow the advice of the wonderful Buddhist mystic Thich Nath Hahn, who advised maintaining the half-smile of beatific serenity at all times. Every time I lost my cool, it was twice as bad, because I was not only angry anyway, but was also thinking, “Oh £!&*@#! Now I’ve failed to maintain the half-smile of beatific £!&*@#!ing serenity!”

If you were about to be castaway on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

Apart from the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare (which I assume are provided) I would take a solar-powered short-wave radio, the complete works of Thomas Merton, and a good friend (but I assume that’s not allowed).