news-2


Cardinal calls on Christians to act together in the face of "aggressive secularism"

Cardinal calls on Christians to act together in the face of "aggressive secularism"

In his Easter Sunday homily, to be delivered in St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh this weekend, Cardinal Keith O'Brien will call on scotland's Christians to unite "in the face of aggressive secularism to maintain our Christian heritage and culture in our great country" Cardinal O'Brien will pay tribute to friends in the Church of Scotland and stress all Christians "common ancestry" while restating Pope Benedict's hope that ecumenical relations will lead to; "full visible unity" among Christians. The Cardinal will warn against moves to "destroy our Christian heritage and culture and take God from the public square" adding "Religion must not be taken from the public square!"

Full text of Cardinal O'Brien's homily 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


Note to Editors:

1. Cardinal O'Brien will be the Principal Celebrant at the 11.30am Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral on Easter Sunday, but will not be available for interview.

2. The document "Marginalising Christians “ instances of Christians being sidelined in modern Britain" is a publication of the Christian Institute and can be downloaded here:  
http://www.christian.org.uk/resources/publications/religious-liberty-publications/


EASTER SUNDAY HOMILY PREACHED BY CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN
ST MARY S CATHEDRAL EDINBURGH
SUNDAY 24TH APRIL 2011
 

For the past six weeks of Lent and especially during this last Holy Week we have been preparing for this day. Through our own acts of prayer, fasting and alms giving we have tried to enter more deeply in to the life of Jesus Christ, this life followed by his passion and death and then his glorious resurrection

Truly we can say with St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians: Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast then in the Lord .

And that is what we are doing now.   Having commemorated the death of Jesus Christ the Son of God we now celebrate the feast of his glorious resurrection.

And this morning in our Metropolitan Cathedral here in Edinburgh where just a few months ago on the Feast of St Ninian 16th September 2010 we celebrated the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to our country and then just a few months later in St Giles High Kirk in Edinburgh the 450th anniversary of the Reformation I put before you first of all some thoughts on Christian unity. Followed by that, I propose that the reason for our increased apostolate in seeking Christian unity must be our ongoing action together in the face of aggressive secularism to maintain our Christian heritage and culture in our great country.

JOURNEY TOWARD CHRISTIAN UNITY:

In thinking of Christian unity who can forget the visit of the first Pope ever to our country “ Pope John Paul II speaking on the subject he stated clearly and unequivocally: We are only pilgrims on this earth, making our way towards that heavenly kingdom promised to us as God s children. Beloved brethren in Christ, for the future, can we not make that pilgrimage together hand in hand .   Along with our sisters and brothers in other Christian denominations, we have put that exhortation into practice fruitfully here in Scotland!

That call was re-echoed by Pope Benedict XVI when addressing a service of evening prayer in Westminster Abbey in London. Initially he referred back 100 years to what happened here in our Capital City when he stated:

This year, as we know, marks the 100th anniversary of the modern ecumenical movement, which began with the Edinburgh Conferences Appeal for Christian Unity as the prerequisite for a credible and convincing witness to the Gospel in our time .

We have indeed come far on our Christian journey together. I think back with a certain pride but with great humility when I was asked to address the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in May 2004 shortly after my creation as Cardinal. I spoke then of a gift given to me by a now retired Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend Dr James Weatherhead, and his wife, when they accompanied me to Rome for that occasion. On the silver compass he had inscribed: May the Iona silver be a symbol of our common ancestry in the Celtic Church. May the cardinal points of the compass help you on your way forward . That visual aid reminds me that we must indeed: Go back to our roots before we go forward “ and never forget those roots and our common ancestry “ but we must also go forward realising that our ecumenical journey is not yet complete.   As Pope Benedict XVI has stated: The principle aim of ecumenism is to achieve full visible unity . Perhaps a fore sign of that was given in the High Kirk of Edinburgh St Giles when together with the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church I joined with them in our commitment together as we shared in the renewal of our baptismal promises in our commemoration of the Reformation of 450 years ago.

CHRISTIANS UNITED AGAINST AGGRESSIVE SECULARISM:

As we journey onward toward that unity for which Jesus Christ himself prayed we realise that we have a heavy responsibility even at this present time.

In those words which Pope Benedict XVI preached in Westminster Abbey he stated: We must recognise the challenges which confront us, not only along the path of Christian unity, but also in our task of proclaiming Christ in our day . Any Christian who has tried to live a Christian life, particularly any Christian who has tried to fulfil that task of proclaiming Jesus Christ and his teachings in our day will realise exactly what the Pope meant by these words.

Perhaps more than ever before there is that aggressive secularism ; and there are those who would indeed try to destroy our Christian heritage and culture and take God from the public square.

Religion must not be taken from the public square!

In other words which he uttered in his address in Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster, Pope Benedict XVI emphasised the positive role of religion in society. He stated: Religion is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation . And he went on to add firmly: In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance .

Just a few weeks ago a Presbyterian Minister in the Church of Scotland contacted me to say how much he appreciated my comments at that time in support of religious freedom in other countries. My correspondent contrasted the promise by the British Government to act against the persecution of Christians in other countries, while apparently ignoring the increasing marginalisation of Christians in the United Kingdom.

I am sure his point was well made.   Recently, various Christians in our Society were marginalised and prevented from acting in accordance with their beliefs because they were not willing to publicly endorse a particular lifestyle.   You have only to ask a couple with regard to their bed and breakfast business;   certain relationship councillors; and people who had valiantly fostered children for many years of their particular experiences “ and I am sure they are not exaggerating them!

And as I was preparing these words I had on my desk a recently produced booklet of some 80 pages which was headed: Marginalising Christians “ instances of Christians being sidelined in modern Britain .

Yes “ Christians must work toward that full unity for which Christ prayed “ but even at this present time Christians must be united in their common awareness of the enemies of the Christian faith in our country, of the power that they are at present exerting, and the need for us to be aware of that right to equality which so many others cry out for.

CONCLUSION:

Yes indeed our celebrations at Easter Sunday must indeed give us cause for rejoicing that Christ has indeed risen from the dead!

To you all today here in our Cathedral and those who are listening to my words through the Media I encourage that spirit of rejoicing. However I also ask for another spirit of realism to be in our midst. On the occasion just a few weeks ago at Holyrood when with other Christian leaders in our country I signed the statement from us prior to the forthcoming elections for the Scottish Parliament I was asked with the others at the open forum afterwards: Do you still think that Christianity will be with us in 25 years time? I answered rather belligerently that not only will Christianity be alive in 25 years time “ but it will be flourishing!  

I say that because of my belief in the Resurrection!   I say that because of my belief in the courage of those of the Christian faith today as that so many times in the past when persecution was around our forebears!     In the face of persecution once more I say to all Christians: Christians be aware of your responsibilities; it is Christ s own image that you bear in the sacrament of baptism; as you are aware of the past so too be aware of the strength of the faith which you, your children and your children s children will need now and in the years which lie ahead!

Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast then in the Lord!

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 159 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

Bishop calls for Christmas “circuit breaker” in war on COVID

| 26th October 2020 | Blogging

In an article in the Sunday Times (25 October 2020) Bishop John Keenan has called for a  Christmas “circuit breaker” comprising a 24-hour lifting of restrictions on gatherings and celebrations,  in the war on COVID on Christmas day. The full text of Bishop Keenan's article is shown below:       The recent advice from Scotland’s National Clinical Director Prof Jason Leitch that we should prepare for a “digital” celebration of Christmas, and the idea of a normal Christmas was a "fiction" with "absolutely no question" of a "normal" Christmas being allowed, was dismal news. As it came in the middle of renewed restrictions and talk of even further limitations on how we live our lives in the coming months, it is easy to see why so many people are succumbing to despair.   The government has told us that its latest Covid-19 restrictions are having an impact on the spread of the virus, causing a "deceleration" in the increase of cases. I hope that is true and that it will be possible to ease restrictions rather than tighten them as we move towards the end of the year.   Regardless of what limitations COVID might place on our lives, as Christians we are sure that Christmas will never be cancelled. No matter what difficulties we face, we will celebrate the joy and love, the kindness and good cheer that attend the celebration of the birth of Christ as we always do.   It could not have been easy for Mary and Joseph to celebrate under Roman occupation in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, for soldiers in the trenches of the First World War or for nations across Europe in the post war privations of 1945, but Christmas happened and millions gave thanks that a saviour was born. Christmas won’t be cancelled.   As Christians, we are people of hope, we live in hope and while we take the national restrictions seriously, we hope and pray that Christmas 2020 can be as normal as possible. We will do all we can even in very adverse circumstances, to focus on the reality of Christmas, hoping that adversity will bring us closer to that reality. Ultimately, our hopes are for love and joy, peace and good cheer in this world, not just the next.   Since the resumption of public worship our parishes have been meticulous in controlling infection to ensure the safety of all those who cross the threshold of a Catholic church.   On that basis, we have every confidence that our parishes will celebrate Christmas full of faith, hope and love. We also have confidence that society will still want to celebrate Christmas and hold on to as many traditions as it possibly can at such a traditional time of year.   We’ve already witnessed so many heroes who’ve emerged from among us. When times are hard, compassion and concern for one another can grow. Our key workers across the country bear living witness to our ability to forge solidarity in the face of adversity. COVID has brought out the best in us, caused us to value all that we have and think more about those who have least.   For all of us Christmas is the one time of year when shopping and all that goes with it is not about buying for ourselves, but about giving gifts to our families and loved ones.   It truly is a time of giving.  Giving time, company and love to others. It is a time when we enjoy being together with friends and family, especially elderly members of our families. We are moved by the joy and love of the season, motivated by the greatest act of love we can imagine, when God gave his only Son to the world.   The prospect of these acts of joy and love being taken from us would be a dispiriting and depressing one. We understand that the comments from Jason Leitch were an attempt to remind people of the sobering reality of a COVID Christmas.     We also know that the government do hope that the situation will improve and what has been described as “a more family Christmas” will be possible.   Yet telling us that "We are not going to be in large f...

Scottish Government urged to follow Pope’s lead and foster “constructive dialogue”

| 13th October 2020 | Blogging

Scottish Government urged to follow Pope’s lead and foster “constructive dialogue” !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?"http":"https";if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");   Tuesday 13 October 2020   The Bishop of Motherwell, Bishop Jopseph Toal has called on the Scottish Government to act in the words of Pope Francis to “foster encounter and to seek convergence on at least some issues.” Writing in today’s Herald newspaper, Bishop Toal, referring to the recent Encyclical released by the Pope says;   “I hope the government will continue to foster encounter and to seek convergence by listening to concerns raised by many about a piece of proposed legislation.”   The bishop goes on to urge further amendments to the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill, following the recent decision by the Justice Secretary to amend the Bill so as to raise the criminal threshold of the controversial stirring up offences from a ‘likelihood’ to stir up hatred to ‘intent’ to stir up hatred.    Bishop Toal comments;   “the Catholic Church will continue to argue for further change to this legislation to include; more equitable and robust freedom of expression provisions; greater clarity around the definitions of ‘hatred’, ‘abusive’ and ‘insulting’ which remain precariously vague”   The bishop also calls on the Scottish Government to “address the outstanding concerns of many, that religious texts, books and social media messages expressing certain views could be considered ‘abusive’ under the proposed law and act to protect freedom of expression and people’s right to be themselves and to be different.”   ENDS   Peter KearneyDirectorCatholic Media Office07968 122291pk@scmo.orgwww.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   The full text is shown below.     Pope Francis released a new Encyclical or teaching document last week called Fratelli Tutti, the encyclical is subtitled "on fraternity and social friendship" and is a plea for peace in the world. The title draws its inspiration from the words of St Francis and the life that he proposed for those who followed him. In the document, the Pope encourages us all to find bonds that will unite us in solidarity, fraternity and support for one another, especially as we face the continuing rigours and dangers of the pandemic.   He affirms the simple truth that we are brothers and sisters, living in a common home and sharing a common humanity and reminds us that dialogue should be respectful and strive for consensus, which leads to a culture of encounter. In the Pope’s words, “a country flourishes when constructive dialogue occurs between its many rich cultural components: popular culture, university culture, youth culture, artistic culture, technological culture, economic culture, family culture and media culture.”   The Pope devotes an entire chapter of his document to “A better kind of Politics”, which he describes as striving for “the common and universal good; it is politics for and with the people.” To create an open world with an open heart, it is necessary to engage in politics, which is a noble calling, in which our politicians should always try to achieve the common and universal good.   “Politicians are called to tend to the needs of individuals” the Pope writes and in a statement which could be addressed to our own Scottish Government, he adds; “They are called to make sacrifices that foster encounter and to seek convergence on at least some issues.” I hope the government will continue to do exactly that by listening to concerns raised by many about a piece of proposed legislation.   Scotland’s Justice Secretary recently confirmed that the Government will amend the Hate Crime and Public ...

Bishops say, high standards of infection control mean public worship and parish life can carry on

| 05th October 2020 | Blogging

Scotland’s Catholic Bishops say, high standards of infection control mean public worship and parish life can carry on.   Monday 5 October 2020   In a letter sent to Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes, the bishops of Scotland urge the catholic community to maintain their “meticulous” infection control and safety measures. The letter points out, that the rate of Covid-19 infections is on the rise across Scotland and public anxiety is increasing, asking priests and parishioners, to “persevere in our efforts to reduce the risk of transmission and to ensure that our parishes and communities adhere to all infection control measures that have been put in place.”   Commenting on the letter, Bishop John Keenan, Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said;   “The tireless work of priests, parishioners and volunteers have ensured that Catholic churches are among the safest places for people to attend in the midst of this Pandemic. The bishops are urging everyone to redouble their efforts to reduce the risk of transmission and ensure that we all adhere to the infection control measures that we have put in place.”   Bishop Keenan added:   “Although no evidence has emerged of cases or clusters connected to our churches, we have every confidence that, if parishes continue their high standards of infection control, then public worship and parish life can carry on and we will continue to be able to attend to the spiritual welfare of the nation.”   “Among the many terrible effects of this pandemic is a surge in cases of depression, hopelessness and suicide. The loss of normality in all its facets has left many feeling bereft and desolate, in need of spiritual solace, like never before. It is in times of greatest peril that we need the spiritual comfort of public worship most, now, more than ever, our church doors need to be open, so that worshipping in safety can continue.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 07968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   The full text of the letter from the Scottish Bishops is shown below. Two audio clips (28s and 27s) of Bishop John Keenan commenting on the letter and the church’s position are available on request by emailing: mail@scmo.org Bishops’ of Scotland Message to Clergy and People Let us not grow tired of doing good. (Gal 6:9)   The Covid-19 Pandemic has presented the Church with unprecedented challenges. It has brought about the temporary closure of Churches and, following the resumption of public worship, the introduction of rigorous health and safety measures to prevent transmission of the virus.   Since the resumption of public worship our parishes have been meticulous in controlling infection and ensuring the safety of all those who cross the threshold of a Catholic church. The Bishops wish to commend the work and cooperation of priests, parishioners and volunteers whose extraordinary efforts have ensured that Catholic churches are among the safest places for people to attend in the midst of this Pandemic.   However, we are now at a fragile point. The rate of Covid-19 infections is on the rise across Scotland and public anxiety is increasing. At this critical moment, we ask that we all persevere in our efforts to reduce the risk of transmission and to ensure that our parishes and communities adhere to all infection control measures that have been put in place.   Our discussions with the Scottish Government assure us that Government is aware of our extremely careful protocols and trusts us to see to our public worship and parish life with the discretion of responsible citizens. We, for our part, assure Government that we are employing this discretion for the good of public health in accordance with the law.   On that basis, we have every confidence that, if parishes continue these high standards, public worship and parish life can carry on and we will continue to att...

BCOS Meeting 7 September 2020 

| 21st September 2020 | Blogging

BCOS Meeting 7 September 2020     Conference Report:     The meeting was held over two sessions via Teams. All members of the Bishops’ Conference participated. Sir Harry Burns contributed for a part of the morning session which addressed in detail the implications of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on places of worship.    In his contribution, Sir Harry advised that the existing limits on maximum attendance of 50 for Mass and 20 for Weddings and Funerals were without scientific foundation and he could see no logical reason for them. Following a wide-ranging discussion on this, it was clear that this perspective was unanimously held. Sir Harry advised that he would raise the matter with officials and ministers in the coming days and report back to the conference. (Other representatives of the Conference have raised similar points). He also spoke of the possible trajectory of the virus over the next few months, advising that the concerns of the Government’s scientific advisors, were that a rise in positive tests among younger people, who are unlikely to require hospitalisation, at present could in the coming weeks spread to the elderly and vulnerable, with serious consequences for the NHS. He updated the bishops on progress being made towards a vaccine and suggested the timescales involved were likely to mean a viable vaccine could be available by December for use early in 2021.  The bishops thanked Sir Harry for his contributions and advice.    Archbishop Cushley updated the conference on the ongoing discussions about the disposal of assets belonging to ACTS. He described three options which had been tabled at a previous meeting of the successor body to ACTS, the Scottish Christian Leaders Forum (SCLF) after some debate a fourth option was proposed and received wide support, it was that any remaining funds be dispersed on a pro rata basis to the founding members of ACTS. Archbishop Cushley undertook to take this position back to the SCLF.    A discussion on a number of liturgical matters followed, led by Bishop Gilbert and based upon his “Report on Matters Liturgical to the Bishops Conference” which covered: The final stage of proof-reading of the Ordo, the proposal that St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, the first canonised Australian saint, be kept as an optional memorial in the Scottish Proper of Saints, the proposal that, given the devotion in Scotland, the optional memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, 11 February, be raised to the status of an obligatory memorial. The third change proposed to the Scottish Proper of Saints was the insertion of St John Henry Newman as an optional memorial. All these changes were endorsed.    The conference heard that the next meeting of the National Liturgical Commission will be in the second half of October and the next meeting of ICEL was scheduled for 8-12 February 2021.           Bishop Gilbert proposed that a renewed emphasis on the Eucharist would be opportune. This was agreed with. There was discussion over the modality, timing and preparatory work required for this. A discussion followed on the timing and the detail of such a move with one of the bishops agreeing to prepare a basic initial text on this subject.    Bishop Keenan presented a report on Seminary Provision proposing a range of options to be researched in terms of viability as serious options for the formation of men for the Priesthood. At the November BCOS Meeting each option would be discussed, in the light of the information provided, with a view to discerning the 3 most viable options. There would then be consultation on these options before a final decision is made by the Bishops in February/March 2021. Bishop Keenan also presented a report on Transitional Deacons and led a lively discussion on aspects of the model of priestly formation proposed by the Congregation for the Clergy and the recent Ratio.    On behalf of the Pastoral Ministry Group, Michael McGrath present...