news-2


Battle against secularism is priority for Christians says Cardinal:  

Preaching at the annual Whithorn pilgrimage yesterday, Cardinal Keith O'Brien called on Scotland's Christians to fight;  

"a constant battle against secularism" which he described as "an almost rising tide in the world of today almost submerging us with its volume and its power."  

Cardinal O'Brien added;  

"It is surely the task of the Christian journeying along the way with and to Christ to say:  
Any standards just will not do! We must follow and maintain the standards of Jesus Christ and try to spread them in the Church and in the world of today ."  

The full text of Cardinal O'Brien's homily is shown below.  

ENDS  


Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org  





ANNUAL PILGRIMAGE TO ST NINIAN S CAVE, WHITHORN  

AND ST NINIAN S CHURCH, WHITHORN  
HOMILY PREACHED BY CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN  

SUNDAY 29 AUGUST 2004  

Introduction:  
It is indeed a privilege being gathered here at the mouth of St Ninian s Cave, Whithorn in the company of your retired Bishop, Bishop Maurice and your new Bishop, Bishop  

John. I know that in union with us gathered here at St Ninian s Cave there is a congregation of those less able to make the journey gathered in St Ninian s Church in Whithorn itself uniting in prayer with us at this Mass while Monsignor Boyd celebrates Mass with them in the Church.  



Here in this area we are brought back 1600 years ” to the roots of Christianity in Scotland. Just a few years before the great jubilee of the year 2000 in 1997 at the request of Pope John Paul II, the Christians of Scotland commemorated St Ninian s journey back to his native land bringing the Christian Faith.  

We have with us those two heirs to that long and proud Christian tradition in our country “ Bishop Maurice and Bishop John. They in the restored Hierarchy of Scotland are respectively the sixth and seventh Bishops of Galloway, following the long and proud tradition of bishops in this area. When preaching at Bishop John s Episcopal Ordination I remembered those words in stone in the crypt of the Scots ColIege Rome above the mosaic in honour of St Ninian: Sancte Ninianus Romae Episcopus Consecratus in Patriam mittitur. These words mean: St Ninian, having been consecrated Bishop at Rome, was sent to his native land .  



At this cave ” and along this Galloway coastline as indeed along the coastline of my own native land in County Antrim Northern Ireland there are constant reminders for us of  

Christian journey, constant reminders as we undertake the physical journey to this place. If there is any phrase which would be of practical application as we walk to the cave  

it would quite simply be take the rough with the smooth . There are those stretches of dry packed sand ” but there are also the rough stones and pebbles which remind you with a  

jolt that the journey is not all that easy.  



I use that parallel in my words with you today as we continue our Christian journey ” take the rough with the smooth ; as well as those easy patches along the way there are also  

those sharp reminders that we are indeed Christians on a Christian journey in union with Jesus Christ.  



The rough at this present time:  



Perhaps we could consider the rough at this present time “ just what it is and just how it affects us!  

We could sum up the rough under two principal headings ” headings which I have been considering since my own appointment as a Cardinal last year by Pope John Paul II.  
First of all there is that constant battle against secularism; an almost rising tide in the world of today almost submerging us with its volume and its power.  

So often the things of God don t seem to matter to those around us; the lowest common denominator with regard to behaviour will do; any course of action is regarded as being sufficient at this present time.  

It is surely the task of the Christian journeying along the way with and to Christ to say:  

Any standards just will not do! We must follow and maintain the standards of Jesus Christ and try to spread them in the Church and in the world of today .  

I have summed up my thoughts on this matter quite simply by saying that here in Scotland we do need a ˜re-Christianization ; we need to remind ourselves and others that we have heard the Christian message for the last 1600 years ” just 400 years after Jesus himself was on Earth. But the standards of society in general, and at times the standards of our  

fellow Christians, our fellow Catholics and our own standards, have fallen drastically. We must remind ourselves of these standards day by day. We must remind ourselves that we are indeed a Christian country in a Christian Europe ” while welcoming those of other faiths and of no faith in our midst.  



We do have a Christian heritage and a Christian teaching. I have indicated apparently small ways in which we can remind ourselves and others of our Christian heritage: Christmas stamps and nativity scenes: public stations of the cross and Easter plays or tableaux at Eastertide; ensuring that the Christian message is broadcast on our media. There are many apparently minor ways ” which all mount up into a public display. And following on reminders of Christianity we ourselves must ensure that Christianity is lived in our own homes, in our own communities.  



The other emphasis on which I have placed a great deal of hope at this present time is with regard to marriage and family life.  
You are as aware as I am of the ways in which standards with regard to marriage and family life have fallen drastically over the last few decades. I think back to some 40 years when I was ordained a priest ” it was the norm for young couples to enter into the Sacrament of Matrimony and to have a family; it was most unusual for anyone to declare publicly that they were living a lifestyle different from that norm; when not all Catholic marriages were  

successful there was no public display as to how the Church was wrong and ˜they were right. How different it is in Scotland at this present time!  

I do appeal for better preparation for marriage; I appeal for young people to consider calling Christ into their union in the Sacrament rather than simply living together; I ask that children be welcomed into our families as a gift from Almighty God; and I urge every possible help and care be given by both Church and State to ensure that marriages do thrive at this present time, surviving those rough times which fall in the paths of everyone.  

A reminder of the smooth:  

It would be wrong on this occasion if I did not remind you also of the ˜smooth given us by Christ to help us along the way.  

Christ is indeed with us ” in prayer and sacraments ” as he was here in this place with St Ninian some 1600 years ago. It is indeed very moving to realise that in this very spot perhaps Christian prayer was offered in Scotland for the first time. Here we can imagine St Ninian repeating the words of the Our Father from Sacred Scripture and handing those words on to those who would listen to him; as a priest and as a bishop it is reasonable to assume that St Ninian offered the Sacrifice of the Mass in this place; and can we not also assume that he spoke and taught of the standards of Jesus Christ, of the necessity of living true to these Christian standards, and of the basic Christian values of marriage and family life as taught by Jesus Christ himself.  

Perhaps we can consider another great ˜smooth on our pathway through life ” our union with the whole Catholic Church throughout the world.  

Perhaps we do not think of this often enough ” and of the constant call to prayer from our Church and the means of prayer offered to us. Just recently we have celebrated the Year of the Rosary and in a few weeks time we will begin our celebration of the Year of the Eucharist. Perhaps the title of that last ˜year will remind us of the strength of the Church and that the Church is indeed formed from the Eucharist.  

We have the teaching of Christ Sunday by Sunday at Mass and in our Catechism; we realise the value of the lay faithful in our Church at this present time as they grow stronger not just in their faith but in their commitment to service; we realise as never before in Scotland the tremendous and vitally important role of the lay faithful in the Church and in society.  

Conclusion:  
Here on this rocky shore as I remind you to take the rough with the smooth, I ask you to remember that the smooth will help us over those rough patches.  

Go forward confidently remembering those wonderful words of Pope John Paul II at the beginning of the new millennium: Launch out into the deep!  

As Ninian and those early apostles of the faith in our land were not frightened to launch out into the deep neither must we be frightened.  

We are not on any sort of ˜losing side ! We sing: Christ is for us who can be against! .  

We are with Christ and heirs to a long and proud Christian tradition. The world is waiting to hear again that Christian message ” and we must be among those who spread it in our own land and further afield.  

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 127 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

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

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

Recent Posts

Bishops welcome Review Group’s Annual report

| 26th June 2020 | Blogging

Bishops welcome Review Group’s Annual report Friday 26 June 2020   The Second Annual Report of the Independent Review Group (IRG) monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the McLellan Commission by the Catholic Church in Scotland has been welcomed by the Bishops’ Conference. The report, published on 26 June is available at: https://www.bcos.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/IRG%20Report%20June%202020.pdf   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 thank the IRG for their work and welcome the publication of their second annual report, which will be given careful consideration.”   Bishop Toal added;   “Safeguarding remains at the heart of the church’s mission and the maintenance of high standards is only possible through independent scrutiny of an autonomous body like the IRG that works separately from the Catholic Church.”   ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org      ...

Bishops appoint new Vice Rector for Scots College

| 12th June 2020 | Blogging

Bishops appoint new Vice Rector for Scots College 12 June 2020   A new Vice Rector has been announced for the Pontifical Scots College in Rome. Fr Nick Welsh (36) was chosen for the post by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and is expected to begin the role in September.   He is currently parish priest at Our Lady and St Andrew, covering Galashiels, Melrose and Selkirk, and Vicar Episcopal for Education for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.   Commenting on the appointment, Archbishop Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh said: “The Bishops thank Fr Nick for accepting this role and acknowledge the big change in having to leave his parish to move to Rome. “I am confident he will do an excellent job in forming our seminarians. It’s both challenging and rewarding and, when he returns, our diocese will greatly benefit from his experience.”   Fr Nick attended the college as a seminarian between 2007-14 and has a licence in Theology.   Reacting to his appointment, Fr Nick said: “To go back to Rome is certainly an exciting thing for me. I love being a priest and it is life-giving to be around people who want to be priests. I look forward to contributing to the formation of the seminarians and helping them become good priests. But I will also leave the Borders with a heavy heart and wish to thank all parishioners there.”   College rector Fr Daniel Fitzpatrick said: “We look forward to welcoming Fr Nick who will have a key role in the day-to-day running of the seminary and accompanying students as part of their formation. He succeeds Fr Stuart Parkes who gave us three years of service and enjoyed contributing to the life of the college. We wish him all the best on his return to the diocese of Motherwell.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   An image of Fr. Nick Welsh is available to download here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/albums/72157714673928877  ...

Catholic Bishops say Immigration Bill will “drastically alter opportunities” for migrants

| 09th June 2020 | Blogging

Catholic Bishops say Immigration Bill will “drastically alter opportunities” for migrants. Tuesday 9 June 2020   In a strongly worded joint statement sent to opposition party leaders at Westminster, Catholic Bishops from Scotland and England & Wales have encouraged the UK Government to consider amendments to the Immigration Bill currently before parliament.   The Bishops’ call for; a time limit on detention, together with “a significant permanent reduction in the use of detention will allow us to properly protect people’s health and human dignity”, they also propose, that the minimum income threshold for family visas should be reduced and for repeal of the offence of illegal working, since “fear of prosecution currently deters people from escaping abusive employment practices or presenting themselves to the police”.   The statement also calls for changes to the clergy visa system. Scotland’s lead Bishop for migrants and refugees, Bishop William Nolan, said; “Most Catholic dioceses previously used Tier 5 Religious Worker visas for priests to come here on essential supply placements, allowing Catholics to continue attending Mass, the new Tier 2 visas have more than doubled the costs incurred by parishes arranging supply cover.” “Furthermore, seminaries that conduct formation in English are not necessarily recognised by the Home Office as meeting the English language requirement under the Tier 2 route, meaning that many priests who have been educated to post-graduate level in English are nevertheless required to take a language test with extra logistical and cost implications.” Bishop Nolan concluded; “We strongly urge the Government to accept amendments addressing these important issues and hope that MPs from all parties will take this opportunity to help create a more just and humane immigration system.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to Editors:   The full text of the statement is shown below: Catholic Church statement on amendments to the Immigration Bill The Immigration Bill currently before parliament will drastically alter people’s opportunities to build their lives here and contribute to our society. The UK’s Catholic population is made up of people from across the world including a significant number of European citizens. Around 60% of Europeans living in the UK are Catholics. We therefore recognise the profound impact that ending free movement will have on so many families and communities. While we do not agree with the principle of making European citizens apply for their existing rights in the UK, the Church is working to raise awareness of the Settlement Scheme and help those who are at risk of losing their status. However, no scheme will reach all European citizens in the UK. Even if a small proportion do not make an application by the June 2021 deadline, this could leave thousands of people without legal status. We encourage amendments to the bill that will create a meaningful safety-net including options to extend the deadline. At the same time this bill and the development of new rules present a chance to make several positive changes to our immigration system: Introducing a time limit on immigration detention The UK remains the only European country without a time limit on detention. This has devastating consequences for the wellbeing of vulnerable individuals who find themselves detained including some victims of torture, survivors of trafficking and people fleeing religious persecution in their home countries. It also has a significant impact on families who are separated with no indication of when they might be reunited. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted serious health risks in crowded detention centres. While we are grateful for the emergency steps that were taken to reduce infection and save lives, only a significant permanent reduction in t...

Scotland’s Bishops Publish Parish Reopening Guidance

| 06th June 2020 | Blogging

Scotland’s Bishops Publish Parish Reopening Guidance 6 June 2020   In a Pastoral Letter sent to Scotland’s 600 Catholic Priests, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland have issued a series of guidance documents, which will govern moves “towards the reopening of churches and the resumption of public worship”. In a Pastoral Letter which accompanies the guidance, the bishops explain that their aim “is to act in harmony with the guidance of the Government and the health authorities, with whom we are in conversation, and to return to our normal liturgical and devotional practice in a safe and phased way.”   The letter signed by all eight of Scotland’s Catholic bishops, stresses that “it is important that we act together as the Catholic Church in Scotland, in step with one another, and clear about what is legitimate and prudent at each stage of the process.”   The bishops conclude with encouragement to the Catholic community, “to remain united in faith, hope and love and to keep responding to our current circumstances with confidence and creativity, assured by the promise of the risen Christ, “I am with you always to the end of the world” (Mt 28:20).”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Notes to Editors: The full text of the letter is shown below.   Together with the letter, the church has also published seven guidance documents which can be downloaded here: https://www.bcos.org.uk/COVID19/tabid/127/Default.aspx       COVID-19 Infection Control for Churches Advice on COVID-19 and Infection control protocol for parishes Preparing for re-opening of churches Guidance on how clergy and parishioners can prepare for a phased re-opening of churches Embracing Hope - a route map for pastoral ministry a route map for pastoral ministry in parishes during the COVIOD-19 pandemic How ready is your church to re-open? This is not a document but a simple on-line assessment tool which parishes can use to assess their readiness for re-opening. Safeguarding guidance for recruiting volunteers Guidance for parishes on Safeguarding requirements when recruiting volunteers as stewards Volunteer Application Form A Form to be completed by current volunteers who will act as stewards Volunteer Application Form B Form to be completed by new volunteers who will act as stewards                 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Peace be with you! For several weeks now, we have all been living through something we did not expect and for which we had no time to prepare ourselves, no real precedents to guide us, no previous experience to reassure us. A microscopic virus has thrown the whole world into disarray, including our normal Catholic life. In these circumstances we, the Bishops of Scotland, want to address you as we are reminded that Jesus alone is our great Hope. First of all, we want to express our closeness to those of you who have lost friends or family to Covid-19 and have not been able to grieve for them in our accustomed ways. We think, too, of those who have been unwell or have felt the pain of isolation in recent weeks, of their loved ones who have not been able to tend to them because of restrictions and also those whose treatment for other conditions has been delayed. We are mindful especially of those of you who are alone, or in care homes, or in hospitals. We hope you have found comfort and consolation. Though public worship has been suspended, the sacrifice of the Mass has still been offered, and Jesus our High Priest “is always living to make intercession” for us (Heb 7:25). God does not abandon his people. So, even in the midst of all this, we can thank the Lord and you for so many good things. We think of the clergy and religious who have been so assiduous and innovative in keepi...