scmo_banner_news.jpg


Cardinal O'Brien's Christmas Message  

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland has this week released his Christmas message. The full text (832 words) is shown below, together with an abridged version of the text (444 words). An audio version of the message MP3 (3m) is also available on request from the Catholic Media Office.  

CARDINAL O BRIEN S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2007 (832 words)  


When we compare the seemingly peaceful and tranquil scene of the first Christmas in Bethlehem to what we are experiencing at this present time, we can easily become pessimistic about the state of our world. There are, of course, very many reasons for a certain pessimism. Among them, the reality of searing poverty in much of our world, the threat of the renewal and proliferation of nuclear weapons and the ongoing disregard for marriage together with the undermining of family life and its value to society in our own country and across Europe. Not to mention the widespread de-Christianisation of our society, never more evident than at this time of year. In a recent debate in Parliament a Christian MP suggested that taking Christ out of Christmas was like serving turkey without any stuffing. I disagree. Christmas without Christ is like serving stuffing without any turkey! A gesture that is both empty and void without context or meaning.  


Rather than becoming despondent and pessimistic however Christians must live in hope. The message of hope has in recent weeks been the subject of an encyclical letter by Pope Benedict XVI and that same message was echoed by nine of our Scottish Christian leaders who worked together to prepare a shared Christmas message. An endeavour, which in itself is a sign of hope. Above all else the Christmas season is a time of hope - hope for all of the earth “ that we will see love and joy and goodness and beauty, the signs of God s presence on earth and renew our hope that there will be peace and goodwill among all peoples.  

As we look to the New Year ahead we must be ready to translate these hopes into action. We must continue to pressurise our political leaders to ensure that they are more and more aware of our international obligations to do more to alleviate the needs of the suffering throughout the world. Many promises have been broken or at best have remained unfulfilled at this present time. We must ensure that these unfulfilled promises are indeed fulfilled to alleviate the needs of the poor.  

With regards to marriage and family life we must be prepared to stand up and be counted in the face of negative legislation ensuring that the Laws of God are being observed by our legislators. So much legislation is quite simply against the Laws of God in the Ten Commandments. Was it not from the words of God that we realise that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for the procreation of human beings; is it not listed in the Ten Commandments that thou shalt not kill “ that command being fulfilled in the preservation of life from the first moments of conception until natural death?  


And with regard to the future of our world surely we must constantly be seeking the ways of peace and as the Old Testament prophet tells us to continue to beat our swords into ploughshares. How can we reconcile the countless millions being spent and being promised to maintain nuclear arsenals in the face of so much abject and dire poverty throughout the world.  

While acknowledging the situation in which we find ourselves Pope Benedict, in his encyclical letter asks us to look forward rather than to look back; to look to that future which Christ came to bring on earth while still being aware of our past failures.  

In the message from Scotland s Christian leaders which I was pleased to sign we are reminded that: Christmas is a time for looking beyond the evils of this present time to see goodness and beauty in those around us, to look at tragedy and see the stories of kindness and compassion that carry with them the hope of life beyond the darkness; and to look at violence and see the efforts made to change these patterns and see in them signals of hope for a safer world.  


While we relax at home with our families at this time and enjoy something of the comforts for which we have legitimately worked, we may consider the evils that exist around us and across the world. We should however look on these as a means of hope and an opportunity for ourselves to engage ever more positively as members of our Church, as members of our society, as people with a conscience, to act and to challenge others to act in the face of those many peoples who do not have nor do not use their own consciences.  


Christ came on earth to bring us that message of peace and goodwill. While we enjoy that peace and goodwill in our own homes and in our own country at this present time may we make every endeavour to spread that peace and goodwill within our country and to the rest of the world and all its peoples whom Christ came on earth to save.  



CARDINAL O BRIEN S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2007 (444) words  


When we compare the seemingly peaceful and tranquil scene of the first Christmas in Bethlehem to what we are experiencing at this present time, we can easily become pessimistic about the state of our world. There are many reasons for a certain pessimism. The reality of searing poverty in much of our world, the threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the ongoing disregard for marriage and family life. Not to mention the widespread de-Christianisation of our society, never more evident than at this time of year. Recently a Christian MP suggested that taking Christ out of Christmas was like serving turkey without any stuffing. I disagree. Christmas without Christ is like serving stuffing without any turkey! A gesture that is both empty and void without context or meaning.  


Rather than becoming despondent and pessimistic however Christians must live in hope. The message of hope has in recent weeks been echoed by nine of our Scottish Christian leaders who worked together to prepare a shared Christmas message, stressing that above all else the Christmas season is a time of hope - hope for all of the earth “ that we will see love and joy and goodness and beauty, the signs of God s presence on earth and renew our hope that there will be peace and goodwill among all peoples.  

As we look to the New Year ahead we must be ready to translate these hopes into action. We must pressurise our political leaders to ensure that they are more and more aware of our international obligations to help the suffering throughout the world.  

We must be prepared to stand up and oppose negative legislation on marriage and family life ensuring that our legislators are observing the Laws of God.  


We must constantly seek the ways of peace and beat our swords into ploughshares. How can we reconcile the countless millions being spent and being promised to maintain nuclear arsenals in the face of so much abject and dire poverty throughout the world?  

Christmas is a time for looking beyond the evils of this present time to see goodness and beauty in those around us, to look at tragedy and see the stories of kindness and compassion that carry with them the hope of life beyond the darkness.  


Christ came on earth to bring us that message of peace and goodwill. While we enjoy that peace and goodwill in our own homes and in our own country at this present time may we make every endeavour to spread it to the rest of the world and all the people whom Christ came on earth to save.  


ENDS  

Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168  
07968 122291  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org  
Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 133 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

| 5 days ago | 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  ...