scmo_banner_news.jpg


Tuesday 10 May 2011

ARCHBISHOP CONTI TO ADDRESS NEW PARLIAMENTARIANS
 
Scotland s newly elected parliamentarians meet together for the first
time tonight (Tuesday 10 May 2011) for the traditional kirking of the  
new Parliament at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.  
Archbishop Mario Conti, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow,  
will deliver the keynote address.
 
In his address the Archbishop will urge the new parliamentarians to
adopt a virtue agenda and see in the Church a willing co-operator in
serving society. He will also call for a united front against bigotry.
He will echo the First Minister in reminding the assembly of the duties
of parliamentarians. "The First Minister, in accepting the endorsement
of the people, spoke graciously of 'fairly and wisely' governing with
the 'trust of the people “ all the people ... with an eye to the future
but a heart to forgive.'"
 
The Archbishop will say: In his teaching Jesus focussed on those who
delivered what they recognised as the needs of others and blessed them:
˜Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy; Blessed are those
who hunger and thirst for justice for they shall be satisfied; Blessed
are the peacemakers, they shall be called the children of God.
 
This provides not a rights agenda but a virtue agenda “ and it is
a virtue agenda that I would like to propose to you as newly elected
members of the Scottish Parliament.
 
The common good will never be fully served unless those who govern are
ambitious for the fostering of virtue in the community, and it is here
that the state does well to recognise the support it receives from
allied institutions and in return encourages their work. In the last
census almost 70 per cent of Scots considered themselves to be
Christian. Churches which have over recent decades learned the lesson of
ecumenism are well placed to welcome into the community those of other
faiths and cultures, and, on account of the huge commonalities already
shared, are natural agents of social cohesion.
 
The Archbishop will also ask MSPs to recognise that Christians have a
voice in future policy discussions. In a pluralistic society,
Christians will want to argue for what is right, but not to impose our
understanding of it. Furthermore the Christian freedom ... includes, at
least implicitly, the freedom to dissent from the mandates of society if
there is a conflict between being God s slave and being a slave of the
state. Figures like Thomas More and St John Ogilvie, Dietrich
Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela and a host of the less
famous stand as constant reminders that sometimes the demands of
conscience require obedience to a higher ethic.
 
He will also deliver a vote of thanks to the Parliament for its support
of the Papal visit last year, and urge a new effort to sideline
perpetrators of sectarian attitudes.
 
The Pope was greatly moved by the reception he received last year in
Scotland. The warmth of that Scottish welcome and the success of the
visit have been noted in many places and we must make sure that the
reputation of the Scots for hospitality and good government is not
marred by the few whose attitudes and antics are all too readily and
sadly, widely broadcast.
 
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
Notes to Editors:

1. The full text of Archbishop Conti's address is shown below.

2. The service to mark the start of the new parliament will take place at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on Tuesday evening, attended by the Earl of Wessex. It precedes Parliament's first session on Wednesday, when MSPs will take the oath and elect a new presiding officer and two deputy presiding officers.
 
3. For more information contact:  
Cav Ronnie Convery  
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Glasgow
196 Clyde Street
Glasgow
G1 4JY
Tel: 0141 226 5898
Fax: 0141 225 2600

www.rcag.org.uk  


ADDRESS BY ARCHBISHOP MARIO CONTI

Dear Friends

I am hugely conscious of the privilege I have of addressing you this evening, not only on account of those whom I am addressing, but also on account of those I represent, the Church s constituency.   Even if my words are drawn from a particular experience and reflect my own ecclesial community, they are intended to deliver a message on behalf of all and to express universal congratulations to you who have won the confidence of the electorate, and are, in a sense, dedicating yourselves this evening, in this historic place, to the service of the nation.

The First Minister, in accepting the endorsement of the people, spoke graciously of fairly and wisely governing with the trust of the people “ all the people ... with an eye to the future but a heart to forgive.

In politics differences in policy can sometimes translate into personal animosities. The avoidance of all such resentments calls for hearts of flesh as the prophet foretold.

We can be grateful that we have had the freedom to debate policies in respectful manner, vote without fear of intimidation, and accept readily the outcome of the vote.   These are indications of a mature democracy.

The apostle Peter in the first letter ascribed to him in the Christian canon of scripture enjoins on us a deep respect for civil authority. He writes: Be subject for the Lord s sake to every human institution .   Obedience to Christ clearly carries with it, albeit at a different level, obedience to those who, in the providence of God have been given the role, as Scripture puts it, of governors to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right .   This calls for discernment and the consequent duty of protecting what is good and eradicating what is evil.

  Live as free men, says St Peter, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but live as servants of God.

I hear in these words echoes of Jesus words when he famously answered a trick question about paying tribute by saying: Render to Caesar what is Caesar s and to God what is God s .

We have duties to the state, but never without a sense of the most fundamental of all duties, namely of fidelity to the truth and the pursuit of virtue.

Allow me to recall a particular memory. At Easter during my first year at the Scots College in Rome, I went with fellow students to Siena, now part of Tuscany but once an independent city state. In the Palazzo Pubblico, (the city chambers) I saw frescoes by such Renaissance masters as Simone Martini in 1315 and Ambrogio Lorenzetti in 1338.  

Governments chosen by the citizens came and went in those turbulent times but the ideal of good government remained irrespective of party.  

In the Sala della Pace “ the room of peace “ Lorenzetti painted three huge compositions, contrasting good and bad government. The councillors of the Republic pass in a long procession. The scene behind them “ illustrate the prosperous effects of good government, showing loaded pack animals coming from outside carrying merchandise, and within the city itself craftsmen in their shops, the professor in his chair, and in the Piazza, young women dancing in a ring, as horsemen pass slowly by. In the countryside people are hunting and fishing. As Saint Bernardino remarked 100 years later: All things seem joyful in time of peace .

A set of solid figures surrounding the prince or leader personify the virtues of Magnanimity, Temperance, Justice, Prudence, Strength and Peace. Above them those virtues which we call theological, since they depend upon an acceptance of God, are named and depicted as Faith, Hope and Charity.

The symbol of our parliamentary authority in Scotland, is not a frescoed chamber, but the beautifully executed mace. It too has the names of four virtues inscribed on it, 'Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity' variants of the four cardinal virtues - those on which all the rest hinge.

St Gregory the Great, the Pope who sent St Augustine to bring the Angles to faith, found himself, at a time of civil upheaval, the virtual governor of the city of Rome. He bemoaned the distraction from his priestly duties which such a civil role required, but he had the wisdom to pray that he might see life whole and that in responding to the demands of the powerful he might not deprive of their rights those who had expectations of their own needs being met.

In his teaching Jesus focused on those who delivered what they recognised as the needs of others and blessed them: Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy; Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice for they shall be satisfied; Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called the children of God.

This provides not a rights agenda but a virtue agenda “ and it is a virtue agenda that I would like to propose to you as newly elected members of the Scottish Parliament.

The common good will never be fully served unless those who govern are ambitious for the fostering of virtue in the community, and it is here that the state does well to recognise the support it receives from allied institutions and in return encourages their work.

In the last census almost 70 per cent of Scots considered themselves to be Christian. Churches which have over recent decades learned the lesson of ecumenism are well placed to welcome into the community those of other faiths and cultures, and, on account of the huge commonalities already shared, are natural agents of social cohesion. Throughout the whole of Scotland there are parishes served by priests and ministers who provide, in practice, a whole range of services from the physical to the social, the cultural to the spiritual.  

David Bartlett, a commentator on the passage of scripture which has been our inspiration in these reflections, pointed out that the circumstances of Christians today are very different from those addressed in the letter of St Peter. How does one move, he wrote, from an ethic to which a small minority in an empire adhered, to an ethic for at least a nominal [Christian] majority in the society we are now addressing?  

In a pluralistic society, Christians will want to argue for what is right, but not to impose our understanding of it. Furthermore the Christian freedom to which [St Peter] points includes, at least implicitly, the freedom to dissent from the mandates of society. i.e. if there is a conflict between being God s slave and being a slave of the state  

Figures like [Thomas More and St John Ogilvie], Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King [and Nelson Mandela] and a host of the less famous stand as constant reminders that sometimes the demands of conscience require obedience to a higher ethic.

The citizens of Siena were acutely conscious of religious freedom as a guarantor of good governance, and placed high on the facade of their Palazzo Pubblico, well above the coats of arms of their temporal rulers, the monogram of Christ.

I have one more reference to make to Siena, because until recent times the only person historians can identify as having visited Scotland prior to becoming Pope, was a man called Aeneas Piccolomini, sometime secretary to the Emperor and subsequently to the Popes, and of a Sienese family.

He came as an envoy of the Pope to the Court of King James I of Scotland, thereby assuring recognition on the part of the Papacy of the nationhood of the Scots and its independent regality.   There are two memorials of his visit.   The first is the beautiful fresco by Pinturicchio in the library of Siena Cathedral which shows Piccolomini (later Pius II) at the court of the Scottish king, in a landscape which, if truth be told, is more redolent of Umbria than of Scotland; and the second is the record he kept in his diaries which in recent years have been published under the title of The Secret Diaries of a Renaissance Pope .

Having experienced the reality of our climate he does not share Pinturicchio s imaginative vision of it! He writes: It is a cold country where few things will grow. For the most part there are no trees. (He clearly never made it to the glorious countryside of Perthshire!). He could never forget how cold it was, when, having promised to make a pilgrimage barefoot   to the nearest shrine of Our Lady if he were spared from death in the shipwreck by which he arrived in Scotland, he had to make a rather longer journey than he had anticipated. Unlike in his native Italy where shrines are rather more common, his longer trek was to Whitekirk in East Lothian “ a visit still recorded there.  

However he wrote well of the citizens of Scotland, The men are short and brave; the women fair, charming and easily won.   He made some comparisons with the English which perhaps are best, for diplomatic reasons, not given in full, other than to quote his observation that in Scotland The oysters are larger than those in England and many pearls are found in them.

I don t know whether Pope Benedict XVI keeps a diary, but what I do know is that from all accounts he was greatly moved by the reception he received last year in Scotland. The warmth of that Scottish welcome and the success of the visit have been noted in many places and we must make sure that the reputation of the Scots for hospitality and good government is not marred by the few whose attitudes and antics are all too readily and sadly, widely broadcast.

Allow me to register to you who represent our people, the deepest appreciation of the Catholic community and its friends in the other churches and throughout Scottish society,   for the welcome given to Pope Benedict XVI to our precious land on a beautiful and unforgettable September day.

And may the Lord s blessing be upon you in all the days to come.

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 ?

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  ...