scmo_banner_news.jpg


Sunday 12 April 2009

Cardinal challenges "stifling political consensus"

In a hard hitting Easter message Cardinal Keith O'Brien has called on Scotland's politicians to stop passing "frenzied regulation" and instead" educate a new generation in morality and objective truth."

The message is contained in the Cardinal's Easter Sunday Homily and in an opinion article in a Sunday Newspaper. Cardinal O'Brien who is President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland claims that too often public policy deals with the symptoms of social breakdown rather than the causes.  

He states, that too many politicians " take the view that bad behaviour whether it be public drunkenness, health-threatening overeating or teenage promiscuity are all immutable and unchangeable. The urge and desire to commit acts of this type cannot be curbed far less removed therefore public, social and health policy must all be orientated towards mitigating the effects. "

By contrast he calls for action to address the root or underlying cause which he claims is marriage breakdown and the fracturing of family life stating; "Scotland has one of the highest divorce rates in the Western world we also have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates and STI statistics, which are both alarming and growing. These trends are connected they are not coincidental. A report published in 2007 revealed that if you have experienced family breakdown, you are 75% more likely to fail at school, 70% more likely to be a drug addict and 50% more likely to have alcohol problems."

Cardinal O'Brien concludes with a call for more investment in marriage preparation reconciliation services and tax reform, saying;

" For couples intending to marry we should offer at public expense universal access to marriage preparation courses, for those facing difficulties in their marriages we should ensure remedial and reconciliation services are easily and quickly available. The cost benefits of preventing breakdown hugely outweigh the gargantuan costs of dealing with the after effects.
As a matter of urgency, we must (also) reform the tax credit system"

The Cardinal's full text is shown below.

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

Easter Sunday Message 12 April 2009

In recent weeks much coverage has been given to the decision by the Scottish Government to limit sales of alcohol to young people by increasing the selling price through restrictions on a variety of retail offers and by asking Local authorities to consider raising the age for alcohol purchases.

This policy mirrors the approach taken by this and previous administrations to drug use, vandalism, anti social behaviour, obesity even promiscuity and might usefully be called the command and control model of public governance. Advocates of such a model take the view that bad behaviour whether it be public drunkenness, health-threatening overeating or teenage promiscuity are all immutable and unchangeable. The urge and desire to commit acts of this type cannot be curbed far less removed therefore public, social and health policy must all be orientated towards mitigating the effects.  

It is an approach, which is deeply flawed and utterly discredited. It is also however the logical destination for a polity that resolutely refuses to judge or differentiate between actions conducive to the public good and those, which threaten it.

When our fellow citizens err and lapse we seldom focus on them or ask why they behaved as they did. Rather we rush to impose legal restraints on such action forgetting dangerously that no external restrictions can ever match the effectiveness of self-restraint.


When a toddler is shot with an airgun we regulate the sale of such weapons, alcohol abuse by our young people is met with legislation to restrict sales and sexual promiscuity with regulations aimed at ensuring contraception and abortion are widely available. In every instance we seek to mitigate the effects of bad behaviour and perhaps place barriers in the paths of such acts. We do not as a society take action to tackle the underlying motivation; instead we limit our action to blunting the impact of our excesses. We obsess over the symptoms and ignore the cause.


Scotland has one of the highest divorce rates in the Western world we also have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates and STI statistics, which are both alarming and growing. These trends are connected they are not coincidental. A report published in 2007 revealed that if you have experienced family breakdown, you are 75% more likely to fail at school, 70% more likely to be a drug addict and 50% more likely to have alcohol problems. Further studies have shown that children born to married parents are twice as likely to spend their childhoods with both their parents than those born to cohabiting couples. The children of cohabitees are more likely to experience disruptions in family life, do less well at school and suffer from emotional problems.  

In the face of all this evidence our parliament has enacted legislation making divorce easier and quicker and giving greater legal recognition to cohabitation, while our taxation system ruthlessly penalizes long-term legal commitment. These attacks on marriage and stable family relationships have caused unimaginable misery, pain and life-long failure for thousands of children. They have led to disastrous social and economic consequences for our nation. As Robert Whelan of the think tank Civitas said, There are strong links between marriage and economic performance, educational achievement and alcohol and drug abuse. Academics have known this for a long time. But politicians continue to insist that marriage doesn't matter.  


The drug and alcohol fuelled promiscuity; hedonism, vandalism and outright nihilism of so many young people today represent a whirlwind will we reap for a long time to come. We have denied them security, stability and morality we have contrived to hide from them objective truth. We have failed them and we are paying the price for that failure in shattered lives and broken, often suicidal children.

As the human debris of our failure accumulates a stifling political consensus seems to compel our parties and our Parliament into further frenzied regulation. Like the manic sorcerer whose spells have gone disastrously wrong they cannot control the urge to cast yet more spells upon the chaos. The alternative is far too frightening and fearsome “ to admit they were wrong!

Is remedial action too late? Can Scotland come back from the brink of social collapse? Or should we assume that offering abortions to schoolgirls, knife amnesties to schoolboys and clean needles to students are now the business of our brave new society?

As ever hope does remain. Recently, the government released findings from a survey by YouthLink Scotland on attitudes, interests and aspirations of young people in Scotland. 2685 children and young people aged 11 to 25 were surveyed. When asked to identify those they most trusted and respected, encouragingly the vast majority put parents at the top of the list. Today s children are tomorrow s parents. To help and sustain them in their parenting we must urgently restore support for marriage. Marriage remains an ideal to which most people aspire, and it still provides the surest foundation for strong and healthy families.   Marriage encourages families to support each other and work together to the lasting benefit of society. Families need all the help they can get “ now more than ever! And families who stay together should not be financially penalised for their commitment and loyalty to each other.

For couples intending to marry we should offer at public expense universal access to marriage preparation courses, for those facing difficulties in their marriages we should ensure remedial and reconciliation services are easily and quickly available. The cost benefits of preventing breakdown hugely outweigh the gargantuan costs of dealing with the after effects.

As a matter of urgency, we must reform the tax credit system, which presently favours children who live with a lone parent rather than with both parents. This couple penalty actively discourages low-income couples from living together and making their commitment unambiguous by marrying. Additionally, transferable tax allowances for married couples would recognise the stability that marriage brings and acknowledge that such partnerships are foundational to stable and law abiding societies.


Unless we reverse course as I have outlined our divorce rate, teen pregnancy rate, STI numbers and alcohol and drug dependency problems will grow and multiply. We cannot micro legislate or regulate our way out of this situation. We cannot possibly predict every conceivable aberration and prepare a parliamentary response to it. Instead we must educate a new generation in morality and objective truth. As the Chinese proverb has it; Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Rather than giving our young people a law a day to keep excess at bay we might try to impart what Pope Benedict has described as true values which give life a foundation."  

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 139 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

| 6 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  ...