2008 Christmas Message from Cardinal Keith O'Brien
"At this time of year we focus on that familiar scene of the stable in
Bethlehem, on the hope and promise that new life offers to the world
and the centrality of the human family in God s plan of salvation. We
are all members of a family. Our immediate family, the family of
society, and the international community or family of nations.
This year began with concerns for the international family as violence
erupted in Kenya. The world was shocked by news of attacks on women
and children who had huddled together seeking refuge in a church. As
we yearn for peace at Christmas, we remember those not at peace around
At home increasingly sexualised messages bombard young people in
Scottish families. Children are almost egged on to experiment as they
are assailed by ˜safe sex messages. The inevitable result is unwanted
pregnancies, abortions and heartache. There is no doubt that a stable
family is the key to so many benefits for spouses and children.
Not without reason has the church taught repeatedly that the family is
the basic cell of society. If we damage that unit, it will be to the
detriment of us all. Perhaps we should turn again to that nativity scene, where
Mary and Joseph, are united in love and adoration of God s gift of a
child. The example of the ˜Holy Family should fill us all with a
renewed respect for ˜the family in society and across the world in
the year ahead."
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SCMO | 20th January 2016 | Christianity
Pope Francis has been officially invited to visit the Pontifical Scots College in Rome to help mark this year’s 400th anniversary of its founding as a seminary. “The Pontifical Scots College has a truly remarkable history and, so, it would be wonderful if Pope Francis could join us as we celebrate that past with pride while looking to the future with great confidence and trust in the Lord,” said Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh 20 January. The Pontifical Scots College in Rome was founded in 1600 by Pope Clement VIII to provide an education for young Scottish Catholic men who, due to the laws against Catholics, could not receive a Catholic education at home. Inspired by the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie, the sixteen students studying at the College vowed on 10 March 1616 to return to Scotland as priests, just one year after the saint’s execution at Glasgow Cross. “It would be a great honour for the College and for all the young men studying with us if the Pope Francis is able to join us to mark 400 years of priestly formation,” said Fr Daniel Fitzpatrick, Rector of the Pontifical Scots College. “I am sure the Holy Father’s presence would be a great blessing to the College, a source of encouragement for our seminarians and an inspiration to other young men to join them here in Rome to continue the long tradition of the Pontifical Scots College.” Archbishop Cushley issued the invitation on behalf of the Bishops Conference of Scotland and the Pontifical Scots College during a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace 18 January during which the two men discussed a wide range of issues. “It’s now over two years since the Holy Father sent me to Scotland to bring the joy of Christ’s gospel to all those who live within the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh – so I wanted to brief him on how our Archdiocese is progressing with that important mission he has entrusted to me.” During their 40-minute discussion, Archbishop Cushley gifted the Pope a copy of the 2015 pastoral letter “We Have Found the Messiah” in which the Archbishop sets out a vision of how the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh can better evangelise the communities within its bounds. “Pope Francis has such a warm, kindly and supportive personality and he was clearly very informed and interested in how the Catholic Church in our part of Scotland is fairing as we attempt to preach the Gospel to our contemporary society.” “In short, Pope Francis was Peter – the rock – such that during our discussion he continually confirmed my faith of by his words and by his example.” ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 1168 07968 122291 firstname.lastname@example.org www.scmo.org NOTE TO EDITORS: 1. For more information contact David Kerr, Director of Communications at the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, on 0131 623 8900 or David.Kerr@staned.org.uk 2. Photographs of Archbishop Cushley meeting Pope Francis on Monday 18 January are available from David Kerr, Director of Communications at the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, on 0131 623 8900 or David.Kerr@staned.org.uk 3. Archbishop Cushley was visiting Rome en route to a meeting of the Bishops Conference of Scotland at the Royal Scots College in Salamanca, Spain. 4. Archbishop Cushley was Head of the English Language Section at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State from 2009 to 2013 where he worked for both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. 5. Archbishop Cushley also attended the Pontifical Scots College from 1979 to 1987....
SCMO | 28th December 2015 | Christianity
Pope Francis has today appointed Monsignor Brian McGee as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. The diocese has been vacant since April 2014 when Bishop Joseph Toal became the Bishop of Motherwell. Mgr. McGee is currently Vicar General of the Diocese of Paisley and Parish Priest of Holy Family Parish, Port Glasgow. Reacting to his appointment, Bishop-Elect McGee said: “It was very humbling, and indeed frightening, to be informed by the Papal Nuncio that Pope Francis had nominated me to be the new bishop of the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles. However, after reflection and prayer I now face this mission with quiet but definite confidence. Yes, I remain aware of my limitations but I am even more aware of the power of God’s grace which, with our co-operation, overcomes our shortcomings. Experience has taught me that positively answering God’s invitations is always to our own advantage.” Bishop-Elect McGee added: “I am excited about coming to the diocese of Argyll and the Isles. It has an ancient and proud heritage whose roots stretch back almost one and a half thousand years preceding even its spiritual father, Saint Columba. Since then, the consistent witness to Christ and the contribution to the National and Universal Church have been immense and I pray that it will continue to be so. I am also mindful of the diocese’s rich Gaelic character and I, although not yet a Gaelic speaker, will endeavour to promote its rightful use in the worship of God. We have entered into the Year of Mercy. I am inspired by this Jubilee’s ethos and I hope to be a bishop that has an unshakable trust in God’s mercy, unafraid to acknowledge my own need of God’s mercy and one who shows mercy to all, especially those who are most in need. Pope Francis wrote of our Faith Communities being oases of mercy. Please God, as individuals, as parishes and the diocese as a body will be a constant oasis of mercy to all.” “I cannot deny that it is a wrench for me to leave the Diocese of Paisley. This was where I wanted to minister from my youth and I have always been very happy there. I would like to thank Bishop John Keenan, and his predecessors, as well as the clergy, religious and lay faithful of Paisley Diocese for their encouragement over many years. I recognise that I have much to learn about the diocese of Argyll and the Isles and I hope to be a good listener. It is an area I already love. I grew up in Greenock daily enjoying beautiful views of the Cowal Peninsula, Bute and Arran and I still savour them from my parish in Port Glasgow today. I have holidayed and trekked throughout the diocesan boundaries from my earliest childhood to the present day. I have made several pilgrimages to Iona. I already look forward to living within what will be my new diocese and I sure that I will naturally come to love its people.” Bishop John Keenan of Paisley said: “Many congratulations to Bishop Elect Brian on his appointment by Pope Francis to the See of Argyll and the Isles. I am not at all surprised that he has been chosen for this important office. Since appointing him as my Vicar General and getting to know and see him at work I have been highly impressed by his wisdom about the ways of the Church, his personal commitment to living the Gospel and his sense of service to the clergy and people of the diocese. He is loved and respected dearly by his own parishioners in Holy Family, Port Glasgow, who will miss him, and his elevation leaves big shoes to fill in the diocese of Paisley. “I can assure the clergy and people of Argyll and the Isles that they are getting a Pastor who will give his all to serving them with justice and who will lead them with energy and vision. He will be a valued member of the Bishop’s Conference which will benefit from his fresh perspective and ...
SCMO | 15th December 2015 | Christianity
Bishop Stephen Robson, the Bishop of Dunkeld, delivered the Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament today (Tuesday 15 December) at 2pm. In his address he said that cultural change has arguably been Scottish Society’s greatest challenge in the last decade. He called on legislators to “be compassionate about the effects of change” as not everyone can absorb it at the same rate – with some changes having left many people, including the elderly, straggling behind. The full text of Bishop Robson’s comments are shown below. ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 1168 07968 122291 email@example.com www.scmo.org My father was 90 yesterday. He has been badly traumatised by many of the developments in the world around him. Like so many of the elderly, he is ill at ease with modernity; he has had enough of drastic change in his life. So sadly, on his 90th birthday, he said to me: ‘Son, I’m glad to be on the way out.’ But it wasn’t terrorist violence or the threats of war that caused him to feel like this, but rather the endless cultural changes in contemporary society. It brought home to me that my father, and countless others like him, are in culture shock. Sociologists tell us that ‘Culture shock is the personal disorientation a person feels when experiencing a trauma caused by a clash between unfamiliar world-views’. In the last decade, cultural change has arguably been Scottish Society’s greatest challenge. And it is not so much social changes as such that are the problem, as rather the increased pace of those changes - that have left many people, and not only the elderly, straggling behind. The result is cultural disorientation. Furthermore in a highly globalised world when all the world’s social challenges and cultural problems appear as if they are in sprouting in our own back yard we just can’t tackle them all at once; we need time to absorb change, if culture shock is to be avoided. Each one of us constructs our reality from the building blocks that our parents, families, communities and society provide us with. Of course, there are times when our understanding of reality must be challenged. But please may you as legislators be compassionate about the effects of change; not everyone can absorb it at the same rate. There will always be the wayfarers, the stragglers and the reluctant and the downright stubborn: win minds and hearts first rather than coerce by force of law. May legislators be mindful that for believers, man-made positive law, such as made in this chamber, can bind bodies, but not souls. For if, perchance, positive law is found to be in serious opposition to God’s Law, or to the natural Law written on human hearts, then God’s laws will always trump man’s. This is the first lesson in religious freedom. ‘What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but to lose his soul?’...
SCMO | 14th December 2015 | Christianity
The Catholic Bishops of Scotland have launched a new website to support the work of the Scottish Catholic Interdiocesan (SCI) Tribunal. The launch coincided with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, when recent innovations introduced by Pope Francis into the Church’s marriage law begin to take force. The website provides information aimed at helping those you want to petition the Church for a marriage annulment. Monsignor Peter Magee, SCI Tribunal Officialis said: “The website is intended, firstly, to help people better understand what the Catholic Church teaches to be the beautiful and solemn reality of marriage as willed by God. Secondly, it tries to help explain why marriages can be invalid, or null, under what conditions, for what reasons.” “In consequence, what the website does is to try and offer some idea of what a Church Tribunal is and does in regard to these most difficult matters for it is the Tribunal which processes and judges marriage nullity cases, except those reserved by law to the diocesan Bishop himself.” ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 1168 07968 122291 firstname.lastname@example.org www.scmo.org Notes to editors: Earlier this year, Pope Francis made a number of changes to the way the Church deals with annulments. Importantly, he reaffirmed traditional teaching on the “indissolubility of marriage”, while reaching out to many Catholics alienated from the Church because of broken marriages, which can be proven to have been invalid from the start. For more information about these changes and the work of the SCI Tribunal visit www.scitribunal.org.uk ...
SCMO | 6 days ago | Blogging
Sunday 11 April 2021 Bishops urge politicians to put human life at centre of Scotland’s political discourse. Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have released a pre-election Pastoral letter, urging Catholics to play their part “in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse” and to warn politicians against imposing “unjust restrictions on free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion”. In a 1,000-word letter distributed online and via Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes, the Bishops ask Catholic voters to give consideration to six key areas, when selecting a candidate: Beginning and end of life Family and Work Poverty, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Environment Free speech, free expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion Catholic schools Pointing out that “society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish” the bishops add; “government should respond to this reality with policies creating economic and fiscal advantages for families with children.” Voters are also urged to visit the website rcpolitics.org and to use the resources there to help them consider a range of election issues and to question candidates. ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 email@example.com www.scmo.org Note to Editors: The Election resources are available here: https://rcpolitics.org/scottish-parliament-election-2021/ The full text of the Pastoral Letter is shown below: Scottish Parliament Election 2021 - Putting Human Life and Dignity at the Centre A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, This election presents us with an opportunity to play our part in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse. As Catholics we have a duty: to share the Gospel and to help form the public conscience on key moral issues. It is a duty of both faith and citizenship. This election is an opportunity to be the effective witness our Baptism calls us to be. The new parliament and government will be tasked with leading the recovery from the damage wrought by the current health crisis and to tackle the significant impact it has had on many aspects of life including health care, mental health and wellbeing, religious freedom, and care for the poor. It must also build on the positives arising from the Pandemic, including caring for the most vulnerable, and a renewed sense of respect for human life, human dignity, and the value of community. These are some of the issues you may want to consider in the forthcoming election: Beginning and end of life It is the duty of parliamentarians to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right to life. Elected representatives ought to recognise the existence of human life from the moment of conception and be committed to the protection of human life at every stage. Caring for the unborn and their mothers is a fundamental measure of a caring and compassionate society; a society which puts human dignity at the centre. We ought to be mindful of a further attempt to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland, likely to happen in this parliament. Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia suggests that some lives are not worth living, contrary to the Christian belief that every life has equal dignity and value. It is incumbent upon our parliamentarians to show compassion for the sick and dying. This is not achieved by assisted suicide or euthanasia but by ensuring support is provided through caring and attentive politics, including investment in palliative care. Family and Work Society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish. The love of man and woman in marriage and openness to new life is th...
SCMO | 01st March 2021 | Blogging
Return to Worship in time for Easter 1 March 2021 Responding to last week’s statement on the reopening of Places of Worship by the First Minister, the Catholic Bishops of Scotland have issued a statement welcoming the move and calling for a removal of the cap, which limits the number of people who can attend. Instead, the bishops maintain congregation size should be calculated in accordance with the size of each church, a system similar to that used in the retail sector, which still maintains social distancing regulations. The full text of the statement is shown below. ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 firstname.lastname@example.org www.scmo.org As Scotland’s Catholic bishops, we welcome the recent announcement by the First Minister foreseeing a return to our churches for the most important celebration of the liturgical year at Easter. We also welcome the recognition of the status of public worship implicit in this decision. The Catholic Community recognises the seriousness of the pandemic and is committed to working with others to avoid the spreading of infection. At the same time, we anticipate ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government regarding the requirement of a numerical “cap” on the number of worshippers. As we continue to observe social distancing and the protocols on infection control and hygiene formulated by the Bishops’ Conference working group under the leadership of the former Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns, we maintain that it would be more appropriate for each church building to accommodate a congregation in proportion to its size rather than on the basis of an imposed number. We echo here the timely words Pope Francis addressed to the representatives of countries to the Holy See on the 8th February 2021: Even as we seek ways to protect human lives from the spread of the virus, we cannot view the spiritual and moral dimension of the human person as less important than physical health. The opening of churches is a sign that the sacrifices endured so far are bearing fruit and gives us hope and encouragement to persevere. We pray that the Risen Christ, for whom we long during this holy season of Lent, will bless and bring healing to our nation. ...
SCMO | 12th February 2021 | Blogging
Church leaders urge withdraw of controversial section of Hate Crime Bill to allow “adequate consideration” Friday 12 February An unprecedented alliance of Catholic and Evangelical church leaders are urging the Scottish Government to drop part of its proposed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill to allow time for “detailed consideration of crucial provisions.” The Bill, which would potentially criminalise any criticism of Transgender ideology has been criticised by the Catholic Church, the Free Church of Scotland and the Evangelical Alliance. In a letter addressed today (Friday 12 February) to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf, the church leaders call for greater protections for freedom of expression and say: “We believe that people should be completely free to disagree with our faith in any way, including mocking and ridiculing us. We are convinced that our faith is true and has a sufficient evidential basis to withstand any criticism, we therefore welcome open debate.” By contrast, concerns are raised that any disagreement with or criticism of Transgender identity could fall foul of the new law, if passed in its current form. The church leaders point out, that “Transgender identity has been subject of extensive and emotional public discussion. Such free discussion and criticism of views is vital as society wrestles with these ideas.” They warn however, that they “cannot accept that any position or opinion at variance with the proposition that sex (or gender) is fluid and changeable should not be heard.” The letter marks the first time Catholic, Free Church and Evangelical Alliance leaders have jointly petitioned the Scottish Government and sought a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Supporting “open and honest debate” the letter ends with an assertion, that “A right to claim that binary sex does not exist or is fluid must be matched with a right to disagree with that opinion; and protection from prosecution for holding it.” As well as a warning that: ”The Parliament now has approximately four weeks to complete the passage of the bill. This is extraordinarily tight and risks inadequate and ill-thought through legislation being passed. No workable solutions to issues of freedom of expression have so far been suggested. If no such solutions can be found we hope the Scottish Government will now consider withdrawing the stirring up hatred offences in Part 2 of the bill to allow more detailed consideration and discussion and to ensure freedom of expression provisions, which enshrine free and open debate, are afforded the scrutiny they require.” ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 email@example.com www.scmo.org Notes to Editors: The full text of the letter is shown below. Humza Yousaf MSP Cabinet Secretary for Justice The Scottish Government St. Andrew's House Edinburgh EH1 3DG Friday 12th February 2021 Dear Mr Yousaf, Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill – Stage 2 amendments We are writing to you as representatives of three communities of churches in Scotland in relation to the progress of the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) bill at Stage 2 and to ask if we may be able to meet with you in the coming days in relation to this. As you know we have engaged extensively throughout the bill process including a number of meetings with you and your officials, and all gave oral evidence to the Justice Committee on 10th November. In all of this we have sought to play a constructive role. We recognise the sensitivities involved in this bill, have sought consensus, and looked to help play our part in protecting vulnerable communities from hate crime whilst at the same time protecting fundamental freedoms on which we all depend for our common life. Our approach has never been to just narrowly consider...
SCMO | 26th January 2021 | Blogging
FUNERAL MASS FOR BISHOP VINCENT LOGAN 26/01/2021 It seems almost a cliche to say it, but every human person is a mystery. It’s not surprising though, as it is in God ‘we live and move and have our being’ and he himself is the ultimate mystery, and we have our origin in God. The Catechism reminds us that ‘we are most like unto God in our soul’, and since each one of us is unique in every way, to say we are a mystery seems almost like an understatement. And this mysteriousness is at so many levels. From the biological point of view, we are a mystery because we are formed by the mixing of our parents’ genes and by the environment in which we are planted. From a psychological point of view, we are formed by our parents by our families, by our siblings, friends and relations, by the circumstances of our lives and our loves, our knocks and our disappointments. Most of us have had the good fortune to have been conceived in love and nurtured and nourished in love. Others, though, regrettably haven’t had that great start. And often, for those who are fortunate, there is one great thread of God’s goodness that powerfully shapes us. For most of us, this powerful goodness originates in the Faith passed on to us from our parents, a thread which runs throughout our lives and more than any other influence, arguably, shapes and guides the direction of our lives. Also, for those of us fortunate enough to be baptised, as well as inheriting the common humanity into which we are created in the image and likeness of God, our baptism in Christ also confers on us divine filiation - sonship and daughtership in God - enabling us, as St Paul says, to call God, Abba, our Father. And we spend the rest of our lives on earth finding out what are the consequences for us of this wonderful gift: we never stop learning how to become a better son or a daughter of God. All of this is true of Vincent Paul Logan. Vincent was born on 30th June 1941 to Joseph and Elizabeth Logan (nee Flannigan) into a committed Bathgate Catholic family and - like all Bathgate Catholic bairns – Vincent, together with their other four sons, inherited a strong faith from them. Of Vincent’s brothers James, John, William and Joseph. Only James now is still alive. Later also, Vincent’s four married brothers’ spouses (Esther, Maeve, Grace and Celia) and subsequently their families – nephews (Vincent and Joseph here today), Gerard and Edward, also Paul, now deceased, who like Bishop Vincent, tried his vocation also at Drygrange Seminary, and nieces Elizabeth, Margaret, Lisa and Anne-Marie - All members of this great extended family had their influence on Bishop Vincent throughout his life, just as today they mourn for him, assisting him by their prayers and Masses on the cleansing road to the Heavenly Kingdom. But for a baptised Catholic man, who has in addition received a vocation from the Lord to priesthood, it is also his special relationships, outside the family - school friends, close friends met on life’s journey, fellow seminarians, priest friends and the pastoral and personal relationships a priest makes through his pastoral work, also continued to shape Vincent, up until almost the moment of his death. From his earliest days, Vincent Paul Logan wanted to be a priest. His desire to attend and serve Mass daily, as a young boy with his mother and brothers after their dad went off to work, of course pointed him in the direction of a vocation to priesthood. As a committed Altar Boy, Vincent’s first desire to put himself forward as a candidate for priesthood resulted, as he says himself, in ‘being chased’ in 1952 by Canon Davitt his parish priest because he was too young - only 11. A year later 1 though, in 1953, he went to Blairs, our National Junior Seminary, at 12 and his journey to priesthood began in earnest. Drygrange, the seminary for the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh was the next step towards priesth...
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