Archbishop Tartaglia tells Clutha Service; "We have not forgotten"

EMBARGOED: 3PM - 29 NOVEMBER 2014

Saturday 29th November 2014
Archbishop Tartaglia tells Clutha Service; We have not forgotten

Delivering the sermon at the Service to mark the 1st Anniversary of the Clutha Vaults Tragedy at Glasgow Cathedral on Saturday 29th November 2014, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia will speak of the effect the tragedy had on so many people, reminding those who lost friends or family, that "a year is not yet long enough for many people to come to terms with bereavement, and especially with bereavement which comes from an unexpected tragedy." Adding, "To you we say that we have not forgotten, that we care, that we continue to offer you our sympathies and help. You will never forget, but remember that the remaining pain in your heart is the undying fire of love, and, even if it hurts sometimes and brings you to tears, it will also fill you with the warmth of the person you will always love."

Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon will attend the service and in a plea for tolerance and inclusion, the Archbishop will also say;
"There is a feeling around that we are in a special moment when we can shape a new Scotland."  
"Our new First Minister, who is happily with us here this afternoon, has proposed a more consensual form of government, less partisan, less party-political, and less adversarial. I think everyone would welcome that. Everyone should sense that he or she is an integral part of our country and of our democratic process." "We are all equal in Scotland, all welcomed, all valued, and above all, all free to express our views and follow our consciences."

ENDS

Peter Kearney
Director
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
Glasgow
G1 2DH
0141 221 1168(T)
0141 204 2458(F)
07968 122291(M)
pk@scmo.org
www.scmo.org

Note to Editors:

The full text of Archbishop Tartaglia's sermon is shown below:

Glasgow Cathedral
Saturday 29th November 2014

The Clutha Vaults Tragedy happened a year ago on this day Friday 29th November 2013 around 10.30pm. A police helicopter crashed on to the distinctive flat roof of the Clutha Vaults, not far from here just on the north bank of the river Clyde, where many people were happily socialising on a Friday evening at the start of the weekend. 10 people lost their lives. Dozens were injured.

The names of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident will be solemnly called and remembered one-by-one in a just a few minutes, although they have never been forgotten, especially not by those who love them most and who miss them most sorely. And I can never pass by the Clutha Vaults without remembering them and recalling what happened, and whispering a Hail Mary for the dead, injured and bereaved.

And once again today, on the anniversary of the tragedy, we pray again for those who lost their lives that God will enfold them in his love, save them out of death and show them the light of his face. And for the injured that they are recovering from their trauma and are able to live a full life again.

Look, I know these are inadequate words and I am sorry about that. Words are just not enough sometimes. They are ways of saying that things like this should never happen, that we are made for life not death, and that we hope that God will bring life and goodness and hope out of darkness and tragedy. So I hope that the Holy Spirit makes up the deficit in our limited human capacities and sentiments by touching your hearts, our hearts, with the consolation that comes only from above. I am sure in my own heart and mind that death, however final and permanent it seems, will not have the last word, because God has created us for life and goodness, in this world and in the world to come. I cannot honour those who died without giving voice in this great Cathedral to this core element of the Christian faith with brings with it such unique promise and hope.

The bereaved relatives and friends of those who died are especially in our prayers and thoughts on this anniversary. It is my experience that a year is not yet long enough for many people to come to terms with bereavement, and especially with bereavement which comes from an unexpected tragedy. To you we say that we have not forgotten, that we care, that we continue to offer you our sympathies and help. You will never forget, but remember that the remaining pain in your heart is the undying fire of love, and, even if it hurts sometimes and brings you to tears, it will also fill you with the warmth of the person you will always love.

The title of our act of worship this afternoon refers to the Vigil of St Andrew. Andrew was the first of the twelve apostles to be called by Jesus. He was the brother of Simon whom we know better as Peter, the name given him by Jesus. It is said that the relics of St Andrew were brought ashore from a shipwreck to the town on the east coast of Fife which now bears his name. And so St Andrew was adopted as the patron saint of Scotland. As we mark his feast day, it does seem appropriate to reflect on our nation in the light of our experience of the Clutha tragedy.

And it is good and appropriate that many dimensions of Scottish society are represented here today: adults, young people and children, - the citizens of Scotland; national government, local government, police, fire and rescue, medical and ambulance services, people from all walks of life, from education, from professions, from business, from law, from the media and from many occupations and activities, and representatives of the churches and of faith groups.

A lasting memory of the Clutha Tragedy is that everyone agreed that it somehow brought us all together in adversity. We talked about compassion and humanity. We admired the selfless courage of the first responders and of the emergency services. We recognised the indomitable spirit and compassionate heart of the city and of the country. We reflected that out of this tragedy we are called to be better, more compassionate, more understanding human beings. And I would hope that we could turn that memory into a legacy, a legacy which would honour the victims of the Clutha Vaults Tragedy, so that we can say once and for all that their deaths contributed to Glasgow and Scotland becoming a better place for everyone.

But as a Scot, I appeal to all of us and especially to those who have influence to make Scotland a place where we can all freely give what we are best at giving, according to the law and with respect for everyone s legitimate liberties, without fear and without the suspicion that we do not belong or that we are not welcome. There is a feeling around that we are in a special moment when we can shape a new Scotland. Everyone will have their own ideas of the priorities for this new Scotland, whether it s taxation or welfare or land reform. But I would say that, in this new Scotland, as a premise to everything, there should be authentic and far-reaching democracy in which the voice of the people is sovereign. This means that everything should be done to make sure that the real voice of the people is heard and adhered to.   Our new First Minister, who is happily with us here this afternoon, has proposed a more consensual form of government, less partisan, less party-political, and less adversarial. I think everyone would welcome that. Everyone should sense that he or she is an integral part of our country and of our democratic process.

As the son of immigrant Italian people, I always had this niggling suspicion that I was less a Scot than others, that I counted for less than others. And I know I am not alone in that. While that is no longer the case for me at least and for my generation, how much might it still be the case for more recent more vulnerable minorities? In our country, no one should feel less Scots because of any part of their identity, personal, cultural or religious. We are all equal in Scotland, all welcomed, all valued, and above all, all free to express our views and follow our consciences. This, I suggest, would be a Scotland which would make St Andrew applaud, would make the Clutha Vaults victims smile with pride and would make us all happy.

My final and abiding thought has to be for those who lost their lives in the Clutha Tragedy. May they always be remembered. May they rest in peace. Amen.

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