news-2


CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN

Christmas Message 2008


As the season of Advent has progressed we have focussed increasingly on
the birth of our Saviour, on that familiar scene of the stable in
Bethlehem, and on the hope and the promise that new life offers to the
world. As I reflect on that promise I think of the centrality of the human
family in God s plan of salvation. We are all members of our own immediate
families, but there is also around us that family of society, comprising
the many families of the peoples of Scotland, and the international
community or family of nations where many bonds link and bind us together.

This year began with profound concerns for the international family as
violence erupted in Kenya. The world was shocked by news of the deliberate
burning alive of women and children who had huddled together seeking
refuge in a church. I was contacted by Scottish nuns who alerted me to
events, which were putting their lives at risk. More recently, I have been
contacted by priests in Nigeria where troubles and unrest have affected
them and their peoples. One priest wrote to me: I am sure that by now you
must have heard that we are under siege here in Jos by some militants.
Christians were attacked and killed and churches burnt. There was a total
security failure on the part of our Government. Even though the situation
appears to be under control after two days of carnage the atmosphere is
very tense .

As we yearn for peace as Christmas approaches, we remember those not at
peace who put their lives at risk in the service of the Gospel.

At home the increasing sexualised messages we send to the young people in
our Scottish families leave me and many others concerned and dismayed. We
should not be surprised that the gift of sex has been devalued. Children
are almost egged on to experiment through bombardment by ˜safe sex
messages. This inevitably results in unwanted pregnancies, abortions and
heartache. Many children now have to deal with emotional problems that
trouble the most mature of adults.

There is no doubt that a stable family is the key to so many benefits for
spouses and children. It saddens me that many people miss out on this
because they are presented with a distorted vision of sexuality at a young
age.

2008 marked the 40th anniversary of one of the most controversial
documents in the Church s history, ˜Humanae Vitae . At its launch Pope
Paul VI warned that the contraceptive pill would lead to infidelity, a
decrease in respect for woman, the intervention of public authorities in
the private lives of families for population control and a general decline
in morality. Four decades later it is abundantly clear that every one of
these predictions has come true. At the core of that document was the
understanding that couples can participate with God in the creation of a
new life and that new life is a gift from God to be treasured. If we were
to take that message seriously and adapt our lives to it how different
family life in Scotland would be.

The idea of human life as a gift received a heavy blow in recent weeks, as
our MP s considered and then passed the Human Fertilisation and Embryology
Bill. The Bill approved the use of various immoral treatments on embryonic
human life. At a time when many believe that adult stem cells have a more
promising future than embryonic cells “ the Government continues to
approve and fund unethical and unsuccessful therapies.

Fortunately, in a document produced by the Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith on
12 December. The church affirmed two fundamental ethical principles: Human
beings are to be respected and treated as persons from the moment of
conception; and therefore possess an inviolable right to life and the
origin of human life has its authentic context in marriage, where it is
generated through an act which expresses the reciprocal love between a man
and a woman.

These principles set out in ˜Dignitas Personae help us to distinguish
research or treatment that fails to respect the dignity of the human
person, and may even involve the deliberate destruction of human live,
from authentic medical science at the service of humanity and the common
good. Recent discussions about the ˜right to die also risk infringing the
common good. A life is a gift from God, given freely, so that our call
from life on this earth is also at the behest of God. I actively support
all those who campaign for the ˜right to live , for those who are
suffering and near death. But that right to live must be available for us
all in the loving care of our hospices or at home with our families and
proper palliative care.

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, entirely bereft of material wealth, 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 as we face a ˜challenging future .

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 154 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...