Friday 2 April 2010

Cardinal O'Brien's Easter Sunday Homily

In his homily for Easter Sunday 2010 which he will preach at St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh on Sunday 4 April (11.30am), Cardinal Keith O'Brien will refer to "many evils" which have been committed "with regard to the sexual abuse of children and young people." He will also restate and reiterate a public apology to anyone who has suffered any abuse at the hands of any one representing the Catholic Church .

Cardinal O'Brien will add;
"Crimes against children have indeed been committed and any Catholics who were aware of such crimes and did not act to report them, brings shame on us all. We can take no comfort from the fact that only a small percentage of priests committed such crimes “ the impact of their sinful acts is very large “ their actions, harmed the lives of their victims, caused great hatred to be directed at their innocent brother priests and left ordinary Catholics demoralised and confused."

The full text of the Cardinal's Homily is shown below


Note to Broadcasters:

1. A 1m 20s MP3 audio file of Cardinal O'Brien commenting on this subject is available on request from the Catholic Media Office

Peter Kearney
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
G1 2DH
0141 221 1168
07968 122291



It is indeed in a spirit of Easter joy that I speak to you this morning realising the various ways in which we have journeyed through this season of Lent.   St Paul in his letter to the Corinthians writes: Let us celebrate the feast, then, by getting rid of all the old yeast of evil and wickedness, having only the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth .  

I say these words as we think of members of our Church in our own country and throughout the world at this present time; and as we look around us in civil society in our own country and elsewhere in the world. We are aware of that old yeast of evil and wickedness “ and we realise that we must have within us that unleavened bread of sincerity and truth .


You might ask just what the needs of the Church are at this present time. I would simply ask you to think back over what you have learned of the Church in recent weeks and months and particularly during this season of Lent.

We have become more aware of the failures of some members of our Church whether Bishops and Priests, religious or lay people and indeed Pope Benedict XVI in a recent letter indicates how he is aware of the human frailty of us all. Many evils have been committed throughout the world particularly with regard to the sexual abuse of children and young people. I myself as long ago as 2002 indicated my own personal abhorrence of this terrible crime and said at that time that I apologised to anyone who has suffered any abuse at the hands of any one representing the Catholic Church . I restate and reiterate that apology today.

Crimes against children have indeed been committed and any Catholics who were aware of such crimes and did not act to report them, brings shame on us all. We can take no comfort from the fact that only a small percentage of priests committed such crimes “ the impact of their sinful acts is very large “ their actions, harmed the lives of their victims, caused great hatred to be directed at their innocent brother priests and left ordinary Catholics demoralised and confused.

One might say that there has been a great public humiliation of the Church as in some way or another we realise that we have not been as alert as we should have been to the evils being perpetrated around us whatever our particular position. Those involved in these crimes must   apologise and ask forgiveness from those who have been offended as well as of course from Almighty God himself.


We realise too that in our wider society things are not always as they should be. We perhaps have become more conscious of this as we realise that Pope Benedict XVI will soon be in our country “ beginning a visit to Great Britain here in Scotland on the Feast of St Ninian Thursday 16th September 2010.

When Pope John Paul II was with us in Scotland in June of 1982 he said the following: We find it harder to follow Christ today than appears to have been the case before. Witnessing to Him in modern life means a daily contest. As believers, we are constantly exposed to pressures by modern society which would compel us to conform to the standards of this secular age, substitute new proprieties, restrict our aspirations at risk of compromising our Christian conscience .  

These words from Pope John Paul II in 1982 find a further echo in our society today where witnessing to Christ still means that daily contest and there are still those pressures on us in modern society compelling us to lower our own Christian standards and conform to the standards of our age.

As we approach a General Election in our country we must be ever more aware of our Christian standards; we must see how each individual candidate proposing themselves for election in our constituencies measures up to the standards which we hold; and then we must vote according to our conscience.  


In our present situation, we could be forgiven for thinking that there is no easy solution to the problems we face.   How can we explain the wrongs committed by some within the Church?   When faced with a ballot paper in a polling booth where should we place our cross ?  

I would suggest that we should no more turn away from the Church than we should turn against our democracy. Whatever flaws or personal failings afflict them, it remains the case that the overwhelming majority of priests and politicians are honourable and honest “ seeking to live out their beliefs and serve society around them.

Though the sins of the few can bring pain to many, we must never lose sight of the truth at the heart of our faith. Pope Benedict XVI spoke recently of rediscovering   the roots of our faith in Jesus Christ and (drinking) deeply from the springs of living water that he offers you through his Church .

That is indeed the message of Easter, which Pope Benedict XVI proposes to us all. After the passion and death does indeed come the resurrection in the life of Jesus Christ himself. After a similar suffering and death in our own lives and the life of the Church there must also come a resurrection to new life. Our own personal prayer, our own use of the Sacraments of the Church, a use particularly of Friday Penance and Scripture Reading must indeed give each one of us the grace of healing and renewing as we look forward to the future.

Likewise in the world of politics, we would be abdicating our responsibilities if we simply decided not to vote “ attractive though that option may seem we each bear a responsibility to begin to reshape our political system in accordance with our beliefs “ we must improve political life not abandon it.

The past weeks and months have not been easy for any one of us “ and I share with you the shame of so many others in our Church near at home and far afield.

Aware of what has gone wrong in the past we must advance evermore confidently in to the future having learned lessons and returned to the roots of our faith , the timeless truths which have inspired so many and ultimately the joy and promise that comes from the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we pray at the end of this Easter Mass; Through the resurrection of his son God has granted us healing. May he fulfil his promises and bless us with eternal life. Amen

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 152 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 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

Statement on nuclear weapons from the Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales

| 5 days ago | Blogging

Statement on nuclear weapons from the Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales Tuesday 4 August 2020   During his historic visit to Japan last year, Pope Francis declared that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possession of atomic weapons is immoral”. Seventy-five years on from the unprecedented and horrific destruction of life at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are called to reflect prayerfully upon the UK’s own possession of nuclear weapons.   Pope Francis reiterated that the threat of mutual destruction, the massive loss of innocent lives and the annihilation of any future for our common home, is completely incompatible with our efforts to build peace. “If we really want to build a more just and secure society, we must let the weapons fall from our hands”, said the Pope.   He also reminded us that it is unjust to continue squandering precious resources on manufacturing, maintaining and upgrading ever more destructive technology. The cost of nuclear weapons should be measured not only in the lives destroyed through their use, but also the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable people, who could have benefited were such vast sums of public money invested in the Common Good of society instead. The Scottish and English and Welsh bishops' conferences have in the past called on the UK government to forsake its own nuclear weapons.    We therefore recommit ourselves to the abolition of these weapons and to the Holy Father’s call to pray each day “for the conversion of hearts and for the triumph of a culture of life, reconciliation and fraternity. A fraternity that can recognize and respect diversity in the quest for a common destiny.”    +William Nolan,  Bishop of Galloway and on behalf of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.   +Declan Lang,  Bishop of Clifton and Chairman of the international Affairs Department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales    ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291  ...

Freedom to disagree must be protected, say Scotland’s Bishops

| 29th July 2020 | Blogging

New Hate Crime Bill – the freedom to disagree must be protected, say Scotland’s Bishops Wednesday 29 July 2020The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s new Hate Crime and Public Order Bill. In a submission to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee the Conference has stated that any new law must be ‘carefully weighed against fundamental freedoms, such as the right to free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.’ The bill proposes to modernise, consolidate and extend hate crime legislation in Scotland, including introducing a new offence of stirring up hatred, possession of inflammatory material, and new protection of freedom of expression provisions in relation to religion and sexual orientation.  Commenting on the submission, the Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan said;“Whilst acknowledging that stirring up of hatred is morally wrong and supporting moves to discourage and condemn such behaviour the bishops have expressed concerns about the lack of clarity around definitions and a potentially low threshold for committing an offence, which they fear, could lead to a ‘deluge of vexatious claims’.”  “A new offence of possessing inflammatory material could even render material such as the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church...inflammatory.  The Catholic Church’s understanding of the human person, including the belief that sex and gender are not fluid and changeable, could fall foul of the new law. Allowing for respectful debate, means avoiding censorship and accepting the divergent views and multitude of arguments inhabiting society.”Mr Horan added; “The Church believes that fundamental freedoms must be protected, as the right to exercise freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is ‘an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person’ and ‘a right that must be recognised and protected by civil authority, always within the limits of the common good and public order’. The courts have noted that the freedom to shock, offend and disturb, as well as the contentious and unwelcome are protected by the right to freedom of expression, and the bishops have declared that freedom of expression provisions must be robust enough to protect the freedom to disagree.Mr Horan concluded; “The bishops decry so-called ‘cancel culture’ in their submission, expressing deep concern at the ‘hunting down of those who disagree with prominent orthodoxies with the intention to expunge the non-compliant from public discourse and with callous disregard for their livelihoods’. They say that ‘no single section of society has dominion over acceptable and unacceptable speech or expression’ and urged the law to be proportionate and fair and allow for respectful debate and tolerance lest we become an ‘intolerant, illiberal society’.”ENDSPeter Kearney 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
www.scmo.orgNote to Editors:The full text of the submission to the consultation is shown below:Catholic Church responds to Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill ConsultationJustice Committee – Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) BillConsolidation2.    The Bill brings together the majority of existing hate crime laws into one piece of legislation. Do you believe there is merit in the consolidation of existing hate crime laws and should all such laws be covered?We agree that there is merit in consolidating existing hate crime laws.Other forms of crime not included in the Bill5.    Do you think that sectarianism should have been specifically addressed in this Bill and defined in hate crime legislation? For example, should a statutory aggravation relating to sectarianism or a standalone offence have been created and added?Existing legislation, including existing statutory aggravations, adequately covers offences relating...

A New Lectionary for Scotland

| 24th July 2020 | Blogging

A New Lectionary for Scotland 24 July 2020 Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have approved the preparation of a new Lectionary (a book of readings used at Mass) to update and replace the three volume Lectionary in use in the dioceses of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland for almost 30 years. The current Lectionary was first published in 1981 using the Jerusalem Bible (1966) as its base text. Commenting on the publication, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said; “In reaching a decision about a translation for the Lectionary, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland itself considered the values they would most expect a Lectionary to embody, for example, accuracy, dignity, facility of proclamation, and accessibility. The Catholic Edition of the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, published in 2018, will be used as the base text for the new translation, it has been accepted by the Bishops of England and Wales as the basis for their own Lectionary and the Scottish Bishops voted at their July 2020 meeting to use it as well. It makes practical and pastoral good sense for the same translation to be used in Scotland, England and Wales.” Bishop Gilbert added; “The National Liturgy Commission has looked closely at the issue of a new Lectionary and hope that its publication will keep the biblical word alive and active for the holy People of God and shape thought and culture in our changing world.” ENDS Peter Kearney 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 Note to Editors: 1. The work of editing and publishing the new Lectionary is expected to take several years. 2. A full statement on the new Lectionary from the National Liturgy Commission is shown below. The Lectionary and the Word of God The Church, throughout her history, sets before the faithful the riches of Sacred Scripture to be read and broken open in worship and for use in private devotions. The Second Vatican Council, in an effort to restore the practice of the early centuries of the Church of a continuous reading of a breadth of Scripture,  promulgated a new lectionary for the Roman Rite, with a revised structure and a wide selection of Scripture texts. St Paul writes: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17). Thus, the Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord, in so far as she never ceases, particularly in the sacred liturgy, to partake of the bread of life and to offer it to the faithful from the one table of the Word of God and the Body of Christ (Dei Verbum, 21). By listening to and understanding the Scriptures we encounter God and understand how he reveals himself to us, enabling us to grow in faith. But we do not listen alone. Through a faithful proclamation of the word of God within the tradition of the Church we benefit from the holiness and wisdom of all the faithful who have gone before us. According to the General Introduction to the Lectionary: through his word, God unceasingly calls to mind and extends the plan of salvation, which achieves its fullest expression in the liturgy. The liturgical celebration becomes therefore the continuing, complete, and effective presentation of God’s word. Developments leading to a revised translation of the Lectionary The three volume Lectionary in use in the dioceses of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland was first published in 1981 using the Jerusalem Bible (1966) and the Grail Psalms (1963). It was subsequently re-printed, although is presently out of print. In recent times, English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences worldwide have approved a new translation of the Book of Psalms – “The Abbey Psalms” – for the Liturgy of the Hours. This new translation is the w...

Catholic Bishops announce resumption of communal worship

| 09th July 2020 | Blogging

Thursday 9 July 2020Catholic Bishops announce resumption of communal worshipScotland’s Catholic Bishops have welcomed the First Minister’s comments today (Thursday 9 July) on places of worship and have announced the resumption of communal worship in Catholic parishes from 15 July. Commenting on the move, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said;“Over the past month, our parishes have been preparing for the safe resumption of communal prayer and the celebration of Mass, which is at the centre of the life of the church. To have been unable to attend Mass for many months has been a source of real sadness for Scotland’s Catholics and I am sure there will be great joy at the prospect of returning.”“Thanks to the widespread implementation of the church’s Infection Control protocols, Catholic parishes will begin the resumption of public Masses and other communal activities from 15 July.”Bishop Gilbert added;“The bishops are extremely grateful to all those who have worked tirelessly to prepare our parishes for public worship and to those who made their views known to their parliamentary representatives and the government on the subject of communal worship.While thanking the Scottish Government for listening to these calls, we would remind parishioners that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended and ask those who return to do so in accordance with the infection control measures in force in each parish, mindful always of the need to protect themselves and others.”ENDS Peter Kearney 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
www.scmo.orgNote to Editors:The Infection Control Working Group’s Report can be viewed here: