scmo_banner_news.jpg


"Churches and politicians must work together" claims Cardinal O'Brien in  
homily to City of Edinburgh Council.  

Speaking at the "Kirking of the Council" at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh  
today (Sunday 9 May), Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien called on Churches and  
politicians to work together to alleviate the City's problems. At the same  
time he called on civic leaders to recognise the City's "longstanding  
Christian identity" pointing out that although falling church attendance  
posed challenges for Church leaders - even greater falls in election turnout  
posed huge challenges for politicians. Cardinal O'Brien noted;  

"Between 1998 and 2002 church attendance in the City of Edinburgh fell by  
10%. Meanwhile, between 1999 and 2003, turnout at local government  
elections in the City of Edinburgh fell by over 20%, more than double the  
fall in church attendance!"  

He added that while local elections attracted around 179,000 electors every  
four years, the City's Christian churches attracted 40,000 worshippers every  
week. Consequently he said, the City's Christian identity was "central to  
the life of our city and one which should be respected and reflected in  
civic life"  

Concluding, the Cardinal asked civic leaders to consider among other  
priorities; the plight of the homeless in a city with soaring house prices  
and strategies for dealing with teenage pregnancies where, he asked  
councillors to accept, "the reality that our present value-free approaches  
are not working and consider a return to lessons concerning abstinence and  
fidelity".  

ENDS  

Notes to editors:  

1.Cardinal O'Brien is Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and President  
of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland  

2. The full text of the Cardinal's homily is shown below  


KIRKING OF COUNCIL OF CITY OF EDINBURGH  
ST GILES, CATHEDRAL, EDINBURGH  
HOMILY PREACHED BY CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN  
SUNDAY 9 MAY 2004  

Introduction:  

We celebrate the Kirking of the Council this year as always during the  
season of Eastertide. Very beautiful readings have been presented for us but  
I simply remind you of one read in our churches shortly before Easter  
concerning the events on the night before Good Friday. We are simply told by  
St John in his Gospel:  

Jesus ¦ ¦got up from the table, removed his outer garment and, taking a  
towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and  
began to wash the Disciples feet and to wipe them with the towel he was  
wearing ¦ ¦.. If I, the Master and Lord, have washed your feet, you should  
wash each others feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what  
I have done to you .  


I think it is with our thoughts looking back to that episode in the Gospels  
that churchmen, as also those called to serve in the City Council of the  
City of Edinburgh, should be here today.  

Role of Church in politics:  

Perhaps I should begin these words by indicating that my own Church and I am  
sure every other Church supports the work of politicians. We are frequently  
in great admiration of the tremendous volume of work undertaken by those in  
political service “ often at great cost to themselves, their own private  
lives, and the lives of their families.  

While recognising the great apostolate of those in political service,  
however, we must recognise that, as the Bishops stated at the Second  
Vatican Council: The Church and the political establishment are separate .  
A division of Church and State when properly understood is indeed necessary.  

It is part of the role of the Church to propose principles for reflection;  
criteria for judgment; and guidelines for action “ but it does not propose  
˜Church solutions for Society at large. There is indeed a legitimate  
freedom in temporal affairs which the Church encourages. People of goodwill  
can disagree on particular policies and approaches in facing the challenges  
of society. But the Church asks that they always be in conformity with the  
moral law. Christians in particular need to apply their faith with integrity  
to their daily life and evangelise society from within.  

It is very important, especially where a pluralistic society prevails, that  
there be a correct notion of the relationship between the political  
community and the Church, and a clear distinction between the tasks which  
Christians undertake, individually or as a group, on their own  
responsibility as citizens guided by the dictates of a Christian conscience,  
and the activities which, in union with their pastors, they carry out in the  
name of the Church. The Church, by reason of her own role and competence, is  
not identified in many ways with the political community nor bound to any  
political system. One might say that the Church is at once a sign and a  
safeguard of the transcendent character of the human person.  

I think it is necessary that if the Church and the political establishment,  
though separate, are to work together each must understand the other and  
exactly where and what they are at this present time.  

Where are the Churches now?  

I think the Churches must be brutally honest with themselves as to just  
where they are at the present time. At a recent sermon in St Columba s by  
the Castle in late March marking the 5th anniversary of the Scottish  
Churches Parliamentary Office I spoke of the previous role of the Church of  
Scotland particularly the General Assembly. As we know in previous centuries  
the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland was the nearest thing there  
was in Scotland to a Scottish Parliament. It was at the General Assembly  
that the most important issues of the time were discussed “ and not only  
discussed but the proceedings of the General Assemblies over the years were  
avidly studied by those who took part in them as well as by politicians and  
people alike. As a young man in Scotland I remember following the debates  
on ˜Bishops in the Kirk , issues which interested so many young people like  
nuclear deterrents, and then of course the role of women in the Church and  
in Scotland itself. One might say that over those years the Church of  
Scotland had indeed a very powerful voice. I know that at this present time  
the Church of Scotland does ask itself whether or not that same voice is  
being heard at this present time “ or perhaps even more fundamentally is the  
voice strong enough to be heard at all.  


Speaking of my own Church I would say that there is indeed a certain reality  
about just where the Roman Catholic Church is in our community at this  
present time. Statistically we know that Scotland s Catholic population has  
dropped below one million to nearer three quarters of a million; Mass  
attendance is greatly reduced; and in common with other Churches there is a  
manpower crisis in the priesthood. But as with the Church of Scotland the  
Roman Catholic Church tries to be more fully aware of the reality of the  
present situation. I spoke about this in my own Cathedral prior to Easter  
when I said we must realise that we are now living in a ˜real Church rather  
than a ˜virtual Church, the Church in which we might like to be living at  
this present time. I stressed that there is no point in harking back to days  
of yore when there were a great number of priests, when priests had a  
considerable amount of time to spend on visitation of their parishioners in  
their own homes, and so much was done for the lay faithful by priests rather  
than by people themselves. Reality is what must strike us at this present  
time “ for many decades the Church has been teaching that all are important  
in the Church and that each person clerical or lay has a wonderful  
apostolate to build up the Church and our communities in our country. Pope  
John Paul II speaking to the laity wrote: You have a wonderful vocation and  
there are many and varied forms of mission open to you!  


I think that the same reality is striking the members of each and every  
other Church whether the Episcopal Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church  
or other different groups “ reality is part of our way of life!  


Where is politics now?  

Having spoken about the Church I would also ask politicians to have that  
same reality about politics “ whether at international or national level or  
indeed here at local level within the City of Edinburgh. While our Churches  
may face many challenges, so too do you as elected representatives. Between  
1998 and 2002 church attendance in the City of Edinburgh fell by 10%.  
Meanwhile, between 1999 and 2003, turnout at local government elections in  
the City of Edinburgh fell by over 20%, more than double the fall in church  
attendance! At last year s local government elections, 179,000 electors in  
Edinburgh turned out to vote, representing 51.8% of the electorate. On an  
average Sunday in our city over 40,000 Christians attend a church service “  
a fall on previous figures, but still a very substantial number week by  
week.  


I am sure that questions are being asked about just who our politicians  
represent. How many of our people will bother about voting in a Referendum  
of the European Union whenever it does take place. How many do vote in  
elections at this present time “ at European level at national level or at  
local level here in the City of Edinburgh. We are aware that our elected  
representatives only represent a very small proportion of our constituents.  
I would say it is incumbent upon politicians to ask themselves why is this  
taking place “ just as church members must ask why the small proportion of  
Christians giving support to the Churches into which they were baptized and  
of which they are members.  

I am sure many will question and are continuing to question the cost of our  
politicians. Just a few days ago the cost of the Scottish Parliament was  
being quoted as being one of the highest in the world. We are told that a  
major international study stated that the Scottish Parliament s 460 staff  
represents the highest number per head of population and per elected members  
of the Parliaments surveyed across the western world; and the size of the  
Scottish Parliament has also grown dramatically since the first plans were  
drawn up in 1998. I am sure many people must ask the same of the costs of  
our local and city councils and those at other levels of organisation in our  
country.  

People at this present time are indeed looking for value for money “ and  
they have a right to expect it! Perhaps as there is a need of ˜reality  
churches there is also a need for ˜reality politics ! Our politicians must  
show that they really do care for their people; that they have been called  
upon to serve not simply to rule from on high. They must show that decisions  
are not made in the backrooms of meetings of political groupings “ but  
rather that decisions are open and transparent and come with the backing of  
the peoples who have elected the various representatives.  


A reality must be brought home to our people that their vote does matter;  
that they can and do have an influence; that they matter to politicians just  
as politicians say they matter to them and not just immediately prior to  
elections.  


Ongoing work together:  

I did say that members of the Church and politicians must indeed work  
together and I re-emphasise that at this present time.  


In the reality politics which I am encouraging we must surely be aware of  
the following:  


· Despite the soaring prices of houses in Edinburgh and people  
apparently flocking to buy them, we must be aware of the reality that there  
are still many ˜homeless people and the Churches are often asked to help in  
every way possible;  


· Despite the fact that we are told that our standard of living is  
better than ever before, is the reality not the case that there are more  
women and men lying around our streets begging for money from ourselves and  
from visitors to our City than took place in previous generations;  

· We must acknowledge that despite the fact that various projects have  
been attempted to reduce teenage pregnancies here in our own city, there is  
a tremendous number of pregnant teenagers and increasing numbers asking for  
abortions; perhaps we need to face the reality that our present value-free  
approaches are not working and consider a return to lessons concerning  
abstinence and fidelity, which we were taught in our own youth and should  
surely be repeated today;  

· Despite the love and care lavished upon our parents and grandparents,  
is there still that same love and care being lavished upon our elderly at  
this present time “ or is the reality that many are suffering and being  
abused for no real cause;  

· The figure I quoted earlier of over 40,000 Edinburgh residents  
attending Christian churches every week, represents only part of the 75% of  
our population, who describe themselves as Christians. Our longstanding  
Christian identity represented in this great place of worship, where we  
gather today, is not only part of the landscape of our cities, but for most  
of us part of the landscape of our hearts and souls too. It is an identity  
central to the life of our city and one which should be respected and  
reflected in civic life.  

Conclusion:  

We must face the reality of our situation at this present time. As  
politicians and as church people facing that reality, we must try to improve  
society, we must try to help our people have better lives in whatever ways  
we possibly can.  

To serve is a noble vocation! To serve in politics and to serve in the  
Church “ these are both noble vocations of service.  


May God inspire us at this time of prayer and worship together and help us  
all to fulfil our roles ever more effectively, not only for our own good,  
but for the common good of the peoples of Scotland and throughout the  
world.

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 118 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

New Scalan altar honours persecuted Scots

| 13th August 2019 | Blogging

13 August 2019   A new altar has been installed at Carfin Grotto in Motherwell to honour the Scots forced to practise their Catholic faith clandestinely through two and a half centuries of persecution, from 1560 onwards.   The altar is named after the secret seminary in the Braes of Glenlivet which operated from 1716 to 1799 in contravention of the Penal Laws against Catholicism. The laws forbade the celebration of Mass in Scotland; priests were prohibited from being in Scotland at all.   Fr Michael Briody, President of the Scalan Association said:   “There are several shrines at Carfin Grotto honouring the Irish, Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian immigrants who brought their own contribution and strength to the Catholic Community in Scotland. The Scalan altar pays tribute to those native-born Scots who kept the Faith through centuries of persecution, especially in The Enzie of Banffshire, Lochaber, Strathglass, “Blessed Morar”, the Southern Hebrides and Galloway. The Scalan altar is a worthy representative of them all.”   Bishop Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell said:   “The new Scalan altar recognises the courage of the men and women who gave witness to their Faith in the darkest and most testing of times. It reminds us that we must never take for granted the freedom we have to practise our faith in public and in private, and our responsibility to stand up for our fellow Christians around the world who face severe hardship, discrimination and persecution for professing belief in one God and his holy religion.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org Note to editors: Images of the new Scalan altar at Carfin are available at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmG5WAFt For more information about the Scalan Association visit: https://www.scalan.net...

Mercy Bus Takes To The Road Again

| 26th July 2019 | Blogging

Friday 26 July 2019 - Call Notice   The Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland (FODMS) are taking the Mercy Bus back out on the road for the third year this summer thanks to an overwhelming response in the past two years.   To date they have touched over 2,000 people on the streets of Scotland, over 400 people have boarded the Mercy Bus and over 2,000 Miraculous Medals and Divine Mercy Chaplets and many rosaries were given to the people the team met on the streets of Scotland.   This year, the bus will visit Johnstone, Coatbridge, Greenock, Cumbernauld, Glasgow and Paisley. Mass will be celebrated by Bishop John Keenan, of Paisley on board the bus at on Saturday 3 August 2018 at 2 p.m. in Paisley town centre.   Organiser Helen Border said:   “Pope Francis has urged the church to ‘leave her four walls behind and to go out in search of those who are distant, those essentially on the outskirts of life.’ We are taking up Pope Francis’s invitation in taking the Church to the people. Everyone is welcome to come along and visit our ‘Church on wheels!”    “Taking the church to the people shows them that the Lord loves, cares and wants them to return to him. People think that they cannot be forgiven for what they have done. No sin is too great for the Lord to forgive as long as there is repentance from the sinner. Stepping on board the bus could be the first step in changing their lives for the better and leaving the guilt on the bus. There will be priests hearing confessions on the top deck of the ‘Mercy Bus’ and the FODMS team will be welcoming visitors with tea, coffee and home baking.”   Commenting on the initiative, Bishop John Keenan said:    “Up and down the UK the Mercy Bus has been a great initiative of the New Evangelisation Pope John Paul II hoped for.  Its presence in the heart of town centres is welcomed by shoppers and workers of all faiths and none, as a joyful and hopeful presence of God in their midst. They see the Church coming to be among them with the Good News of God’s mercy very close at hand, so they can reach out and touch it, or simply rejoice in its nearness.    Bishop Keenan added;   “The Mercy Bus works because so many lay men and women reach out to shoppers in the environment of the Bus and invite them to go in to chat with the priests inside or receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  So, the Mercy Bus is a sign of the essence of the Church where lay faithful go out to their peers to welcome into the pastoral care of priests who teach and heal.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org   Notes to Editors:   - For further information please contact Helen Border on 07786097147   - You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/camera crew to Houston Square, Johnstone at 11.a.m. on Monday 29 July 2019 when the bus will be blessed by Fr Joe Burke and begin its journey.   - The bus is a Stagecoach Dennis Alexander Trident, fleet number 18334, of Kilmarnock depot and is 55 registered. Sir Brian Souter has donated it for a week’s use with a driver. It’s been branded with the Mercy logo.   - Image of the bus can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmFttpro   DATES, TIMES AND VENUES   - Monday 29 July 2019 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Houston Square, Johnstone, Renfrewshire - Tuesday 30 July 2019 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Quadrant Shopping Centre, 126 Main Street, Coatbridge - Wednesday 31 July 2019 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Cathcart Square, Greenock town centre, Greenock - Thursday 01 August 2019 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Antonine Centre, Tryst Road, Cumbernauld - Friday 02 August 2019 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Argyle Street, Glasgow - Saturday 03 August 2019 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Paisley High Street, Paisley where Fr Joe Burke will be celebrating Holy Mass at 2 p.m.    ...

President of Scotland’s Catholic Bishops asks First Minister to protect freedom of conscience

| 18th July 2019 | Blogging

18 July 2019     The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert has written to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to express his concerns at the attacks launched against the SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron, following her vote against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland.     In his letter on behalf of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Bishop Gilbert calls on the SNP leader, on behalf of all those “who cherish freedom of conscience within the public square” to provide an urgent reassurance that freedom of conscience will be protected within the SNP and valued in Scottish public life, at every level.     The full text of the letter is shown below.     ENDS     Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Letter to the First Minister     Dear First Minister,     I write following recent public comments made by Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP Member of Parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow.     On Tuesday 9 July, Dr Cameron voted against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland. It is a long-standing parliamentary convention that votes on such ethical issues are considered matters of conscience and, thus, are not subject to the party whip. Indeed, this was confirmed in writing to Dr Cameron prior to the 9 July vote by the SNP Chief Whip, Patrick Grady MP.     In the days following the vote, however, Dr Cameron has been subject to a significant degree of hostility from many quarters, including ordinary members and officer bearers of the Scottish National Party, some of which she describes as being “nothing less than vitriolic” in nature.  She adds that according to local officials it may “now be incompatible to hold pro-life views and be a SNP MP, candidate, to pass vetting or be elected in any capacity”. She further notes that, despite prompting, she has presently received no public re-assurance from the leadership of the SNP that this is not, in fact, the case. I therefore am writing to you as Leader of the Scottish National Party to seek such a public re-assurance.     I believe I write on behalf of all who cherish freedom of conscience within the public square and hold in high regard those in public life who remain true to their conscience, even at the expense of personal popularity or political advantage.      “Moral courage is readiness to expose oneself to suffering or inconvenience which does not affect the body,” wrote the co-founder of the Scottish National Party, Sir Compton Mackenzie, in 1962, “It arises from firmness of moral principle and is independent of the physical constitution.”     Thank you for taking the time to read this letter First Minister.     I await your reply with anticipation. In the meantime, please be assured of my continued prayers and good wishes.     I am, Yours Sincerely,     Bishop Hugh Gilbert     President Bishops’ Conference of Scotland              ...

Catholic Church in Scotland welcomes five ordinations to the priesthood in July

| 02nd July 2019 | Blogging

Tuesday 2 July 2019   The Catholic Church in Scotland will welcome five more candidates into the priesthood in July.   Deacons Mark O’Donnell, Kevin Lawrie and Kieran Hamilton will be ordained for the Diocese of Motherwell; Deacon William McQuillan will be ordained for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh; and Deacon Ronald Campbell will be ordained for the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles.   Six of Scotland’s eight dioceses will receive men into the priesthood in 2019, bringing the total number of ordinations this year to ten.   Commenting on the news, Bishop John Keenan, President of Priests for Scotland said:   “I am delighted that the Catholic Church in Scotland is welcoming five men into the priesthood in July.”   “In recent years, there has been a steady and sustained interest from men of various ages and backgrounds, who have answered God’s call and approached our vocations directors to apply for seminary.”   “I am particularly grateful to the lay faithful for their prayers and support in encouraging our young men and women to enter religious life. We hope that the joy of several ordinations throughout 2019 will bring our people closer to the Church, to Christ and the teachings of the Faith.”   Bishop Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell said:   “It is a great blessing for the Diocese of Motherwell to have 5 men being ordained priests this summer. We thank God for the gift of their Vocations and look forward to their ministry among us. We are grateful also to all who accompanied them on their journey to priestly ordination - in their families, parishes and seminaries.”   Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles said:   “I am very much looking forward to ordaining Deacon Ronald Campbell to the priesthood in his home parish of St Mary’s, Benbecula this July. It will be a great occasion for Ronald, his family, his island and all the diocese.”   Other dioceses to receive men into the priesthood this year include the Archdiocese of Glasgow – Br Antony Connelly; the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh – Patrick Harrigan; the Diocese of Dunkeld - Jude Mukoro; the Diocese of Motherwell - Charles Coyle; and the Diocese of Aberdeen - Dominic Nwaigwe.   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org   Note to editors:   Images will be available from SCMO at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmEFdU8c  ...