By SCMO in News Releases, Blogging | 18th March 2020
Wednesday 18th March
In an unprecedented move, Scotland’s Catholic bishops have announced that with effect from Thursday 19th March, no public Masses will be celebrated in Scotland. In a statement released today (Wednesday 18 March) the bishops announced, that priests would continue to celebrate Holy Mass in private, praying for those suffering from Covid-19 and those who care for them. Churches will remain open for personal prayer and parish priests are asked to welcome individuals who seek consolation and encouragement from the Lord and to be available for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion as and when they are needed especially for the sick and housebound. For the celebration of baptisms, funeral Masses and weddings the bishops ask that only close family are invited.
The bishops’ statement encourages Catholics where possible to access the live streaming of Holy Mass from local parishes which have that facility. The bishops advise that Holy Week liturgies may be curtailed but ask Catholics to remain together in spirit and in prayer and to join with all Scotland’s Churches in a National Day of Prayer this Sunday 22nd March, Mothering Sunday, to pray for our country and our world in this time of need.
Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 firstname.lastname@example.org www.scmo.org
Note to Editors:
The full text of the Pastoral Letter is shown below:
National Pastoral Letter and Statement from the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
18th March 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In this time of trial, we, the Bishops of Scotland, wish to send you a word of reassurance and encouragement. We are all facing much uncertainty, anxiety and an unpredictable future. This situation touches on every aspect of our lives, individually and collectively. Sacred Scripture calls us repeatedly not to fear...
By SCMO in News Releases, Blogging | 17th March 2020
17 March 2020
In a strongly worded response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on its Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, Scotland’s eight Catholic Bishops have unanimously opposed the proposed legislation. Following a meeting of the Bishops’ Conference, they released the following statement:
“Together with a growing number of voices in society, the Church believes that sex or gender cannot be reduced to a mere construct of society that is fluid and changeable. Denying the biological reality of sexual difference and redefining something as fundamental as male and female is not within the purview of government or parliamentarians. Like marriage, it is part of the natural law: an unchanging principle of human existence.”
“Sex is constituted by biological organisation and reproductive functioning, and is recognised at birth, not assigned, government should not proceed with radical legal reforms or expose children to radical treatments. Caution and sensitivity is required.”
The bishops also point out that;
“Gender dysphoria is a condition that can cause significant distress and anxiety. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, of the American Psychiatric Association continues to recognise gender dysphoria as a genuine, troubling medical condition. By de-medicalising legal transition and moving to a self-declaratory model, as proposed in the consultation, society may fail to provide the necessary support for those affected by gender dysphoria in the form of contact with health professionals. De-medicalisation removes a vital protection and safeguard for vulnerable individuals, exacerbated by the proposal to reduce the time a person is required to live in their acquired gender from two years to just three months. By supporting these changes, the Scottish Government risks failing vulnerable people. “
The church’s consultation response points out that since the Scottish Prison Service issued...
By SCMO in News Releases, Blogging | 30th January 2020
Thursday 30th January 2020
An independent audit of safeguarding processes in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh and the Diocese of Galloway published today (Thursday 30 January 2020) has been welcomed by both dioceses.
The audit was commissioned by the Independent Review Group (IRG) established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland in 2017. Its role is to help ensure the implementation of recommendations made in a comprehensive report into safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Scotland by the McLellan Commission in 2015. The IRG is an autonomous body that works separately from the Catholic Church and is chaired by Baroness Helen Liddell.
Two of Scotland’s eight dioceses are chosen randomly and audited each year, so that all of them are audited over a four-year period. The audits are designed to support the ongoing commitment to safeguarding improvements within the Catholic church.
Commenting on the publication, Bishop Joseph Toal, President of the Commission for Pastoral and Social Care said;
“On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, I welcome the publication of the IRG report and thank the IRG for their work. I know the audits have been both thorough and rigorous and that they will be studied carefully by both dioceses.”
“Safeguarding is at the heart of the church’s mission and the maintenance of high standards is only possible through independent scrutiny and a commitment to implement any recommendations proposed.”
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh said:
“We very much welcome the work of the Independent Review Group for Safeguarding and the external review that SCIE has completed for our Archdiocese. We found the process helpful and constructive.”
“We are reassured and encouraged that the safeguarding improvements we have implemented over the last six years have been recognised and validated and we look forward to developing these proces...
By SCMO in News Releases, Blogging | 30th January 2020
In January 2019, the Independent Review Group established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to ensure the full implementation of the McLellan Commission on the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in the Church announced that professional audits of two randomly chosen dioceses would be carried out by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Children in Scotland (CiS). This process would be repeated each year until all 8 Dioceses had undergone rigorous investigation. The purpose of these audits is to monitor progress on the McLellan Commission recommendations as well as seeking to ensure a robust system of safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults in the Church that can be measured against the best international standards.
No exercise such as this has been carried out by any other organisation in Scotland although 42 have been carried out in the Church of England and SCIE also audited the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham. A proven methodology, the “Learning Together” approach, has been used in this process. The different legal, social care and safeguarding systems between Scotland and England slowed the process, but now that the methodology has been adapted, two further dioceses will be audited in 2020, these will be the Diocese of Motherwell and the Diocese of Aberdeen.
The final audit conclusions for each diocese, unamended, are attached to this release. There is also an appendix detailing the skills and background of the members of the Independent Review Group.
Helen Liddell, Chair of the IRG said:
“It takes courage to expose yourself to the kind of rigorous audit published today, and to be the first is even more difficult, so I am grateful for the cooperation of the Dioceses and the support of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland (BCOS). This is a learning exercise, and, although we can never take away the pain of those who have suffered abuse, hopefully survivors of abuse will be reass...