scmo_banner_news.jpg


Friday 17 November 2017

 

Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have today (Friday 17 November) published a letter sent to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, urging her to engage in renewed discussions and dialogue on the issue of abortion.

 

Their letter, which is copied to Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport and Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, follows the recent fiftieth anniversary of the Abortion Act (1967) which took place on 27 October, last month.

 

The Bishops write that “the Church continues to speak up for the intrinsic value of human life and the good of both the child in the womb and its mother.” Adding, “This is crucially important, in a world where the rights of the weak and vulnerable are increasingly called into question, undermined and attacked.” The Bishops’ letter, expresses “a willingness to engage with Government on this most important issue”

 

The Bishops also raise concerns about the provision of abortion services in Scotland to women from Northern Ireland and the recent announcement by the Scottish Government to allow some women to take misoprostol, the abortion pill, at home without any clinical support.

 

Their concerns echo a recent nationwide ComRes poll which found that most people do not support current abortion laws, including (60%) who would like to see time limits for abortion reduced (among women the figure is 70%) and 82% who believe the law should require a waiting period of five days between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion taking place.

 

The Bishops expressed their desire to work with the government to protect human life at all stages, and to speak up for the whole of humanity irrespective of age, colour, creed or socioeconomic status, and to move forward in a spirit of cooperation in search of the truth.

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

 


1. Text of the letter sent to the First Minister is copied below.

 

2. A copy of the recent joint statement on abortion by Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Philip Tartaglia is copied below.

 

3. ComRes Poll Findings are available here: https://www.scmo.org/index.php?page=news-releases&perma=1495378800&article=scots-support-reduced-abortion-  time-limits-and-sta

 

4.  Interviews with Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office are available on request.
Please contact: 
Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office
T: 0131 556 6771
M: 07903 952 985
5. Other Media Enquiries contact:
Scottish Catholic Media Office
0141 221 1168
Letter sent to First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
Dear First Minister

Joint Statement of Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales on the fiftieth anniversary of the Abortion Act 1967
Friday 27 October, marked the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act. To coincide with this the Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales released a joint statement on abortion, which we enclose for your information. 
The Church continues to speak up for the intrinsic value of human life and the good of both the child in the womb and its mother. This is crucially important, in a world where the rights of the weak and vulnerable are increasingly called into question, undermined and attacked. We urge political leaders, governments and secular authorities to see that all humanity is worth protecting; a task which is the responsibility of us all. Refusing to recognise the intrinsic value of both lives is profoundly destructive of humanity.
The Church remains deeply concerned about the continued use of the Abortion Act and its consequences, including the tragic compromising of human life and the damage done to women who feel that they have no other choice than to have an abortion. It is also concerned about the provision of abortion services to women from Northern Ireland and the recent announcement of the Scottish Government to allow some women to take misoprostol, the abortion pill, at home without any clinical support. With respect to this matter in particular, since abortion is never the answer to a crisis or unwanted pregnancy, making abortion easier ignores the disturbing reality that an innocent human life is ended. 
Additionally, this decision is at odds with a recent nationwide ComRes poll which found that most people (60%) would like to see time limits for abortions reduced, among women the figure is 70%. The poll also showed overwhelming support (76%) for the proposal that doctors, should “verify in person that a patient seeking an abortion is not under pressure from a third party to undergo the abortion”, while 82% of Scots believe the law should require a waiting period of five days between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion taking place, in order to ensure that the mother has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her. Since it is clear, that a majority of our fellow citizens do not support the current abortion laws, the decision to ease them further appears to be in conflict with public opinion.
The Church seeks to speak up for the whole of humanity, for each individual, irrespective of age, colour, creed, or socioeconomic status. The right to life of each human being is not dependent on any particular personal characteristic or of the status of another. It is rooted simply in the reality of their humanity. This is equality at its most fundamental.
On behalf of the Church in Scotland we express a willingness to engage with Government on this most important issue. With our shared desire to protect humanity, to tackle the damage done by abortion, and to give each individual every opportunity to flourish, we believe that we have a starting point for dialogue and we would be delighted to meet with you to discuss this further.
May this anniversary be the catalyst for renewed discussions on the issue of abortion in Scotland and may it serve as an opportunity to bring people together to go forward in the search of truth.
Yours sincerely
+ Philip Tartaglia, President, Archbishop of Glasgow
+ Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh
+ Joseph Toal, Vice-President, Bishop of Motherwell
+ Hugh Gilbert, Episcopal Secretary, Bishop of Aberdeen
+ Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld
+ John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley
+ William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway
+ Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles
Encl. 
Cc Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport
Cc Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport
Cardinal Vincent Nichols & Archbishop Philip Tartaglia sign joint statement on abortion
23 October 2017
The Presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales & The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland have released a joint Statement on Abortion to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Assent of the Abortion Act which takes place on Friday 27th October 2017. The full text of the statement together with an executive summary are shown below:
Executive Summary
This statement, published by the Catholic Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 UK Abortion Act, is addressed not only to Catholics of our countries, but more broadly to all people who seek to uphold the dignity of human life and protect the unborn child.  Over the last fifty years, the bishops of our countries, along with many other people, have spoken consistently in favour of the intrinsic value of human life and both the good of the child in the womb and the good of the mother.  This anniversary provides an opportunity to lament the loss of life due to abortion and seek a change of minds and hearts about the good of the child in the womb and the care of mothers who are pregnant.
Fifty years ago, few envisaged the possibility of that there would be almost 200,000 abortions in Great Britain in 2015.  Every abortion is a tragedy and few consider that abortion is the desirable or best solution to a pregnancy, which may be challenging on account of many different factors.  The complex set of conditions in which a woman finds herself pregnant and may consider having an abortion may limit the exercise of freedom and diminish moral culpability.  When abortion is the choice made by a woman, the unfailing mercy of God and the promise of forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation are always available.  There is always a way home to a deeper relationship with God and the Church, as recent Popes have emphasised, which can heal and bring peace.

Today the language of ‘choice’ dominates discourse about marriage, gender, family and abortion. This needs further exploration.  Choice has come to mean doing whatever I feel to be right for me - a very subjective view of the good - rather than taking into account a wider set of fundamental values.  This is a very inadequate understanding of free choice, which requires an education in important truths about what is truly good and the possibility of other options.  In this case, these must include the good of the unborn child, care and support for pregnant mothers, and the responsibility of the father.

This statement presents a number of different challenges for the future: a new understanding of the intrinsic value and worth of every human life in the womb, a better protection of unborn children diagnosed with a disability, a great need for education in moral responsibility about human sexuality and the meaning of sexual expression within marriage. Many professionals face the challenge that respect for conscientious objection against abortion has been eroded. Personal conscience is inviolable and nobody should be forced to act against his or her properly informed conscience on these matters. We encourage greater debate about this right and these challenges in our society.

 

Finally we thank many people, of religious faith and none, who have sought to protect unborn life and the life of the mother over the last fifty years; mothers who have continued their pregnancies in difficult circumstances, politicians who have sought to reform the legislation to better protect unborn life, those people whose prayers have been offered for greater respect to be shown to the wonder of the life in the womb, for mothers and those whose lives are cut short by abortion. Together let us better cherish life.

 

Statement on Abortion

 

This statement, published by the Catholic Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland is addressed primarily to the Catholics of our countries, but more broadly to all people who seek to uphold the dignity of human life and protect the unborn child. The anniversary of the 1967 UK Abortion Act provides an opportunity to reflect on abortion through the experiences of women and families over the past 50 years, in light of medical and social advances and the ethical issues involved.

 

1. The 50th Anniversary of the Abortion Act

 

The Abortion Act was passed fifty years ago, in part to address the problem of illegal abortions. In 2015 alone, in England and Wales, 185,824 abortions took place. In Scotland, in the same year, there were 12,134. Even despite the concerns raised at the time, it would, perhaps, have been difficult to predict that the number of abortions in our countries would have increased to such an alarming level. With this, there has also been a significant broadening and interpretation of the grounds on which abortions can be carried out. In spite of these statistics, few truly consider that abortion is desirable or the best solution to a pregnancy which may be challenging on account of many different possible factors. Indeed, there is widespread unease among many people who recognise that a woman’s decision to have an abortion carries with it tragic consequences. At the same time, there are strong voices that advocate a woman’s choice. Together, these different views express something of the complexity and dilemmas surrounding abortion and its legislation.

 

2. What does it mean to choose?

 

Over these last fifty years, we, the Catholic Bishops of Scotland, England and Wales, have spoken consistently in favour of the intrinsic value of human life and of the good of the child in the womb and the good of the mother. The lives of both are precious, valued and to be protected. This position differs considerably from that of those who hold that the freedom to choose in the question of abortion must focus on the good of one of these lives alone.

 

During these fifty years, the appeal to freedom of choice in our society has become increasingly centred on the resolution of dilemmas and difficulties according to their emotional impact and our immediate desires. This is a very narrow understanding of choice which ignores any reference to more fundamental values. In this, a subjective desire is often claimed to be a rightful choice. This inadequate interpretation has become a dominant factor which shapes our society's conversation about marriage, gender, family and indeed abortion. Following slogans is never a firm basis for good decisions. Rather, we hold that such decisions require a grounding in good formation and sound perspectives which both adhere and aspire to important truths about what is genuinely good.

 

In making choices, we should always seek to do that which upholds human dignity in the service of human life. Our choices should be the fruit of mature consideration, fully informed of the consequences and implications of our action. We have the gift of free will and also the capacity and responsibility to exercise it well, unless something inhibits our freedom. Good decisions and choices are difficult to make if we are under pressure, frightened, alone, and deeply unsure about what to do. 

 

Each individual’s choice must take into account the wider ramifications of their decisions which, inevitably, have a profound effect beyond the person making them. In the case of abortion, decisions and choices need to acknowledge the duty to cherish human life and to foster its flourishing beyond the circumstances of any one person, however challenging these may be.

 

3. Recognising the difficulty of decisions

 

Deciding to have an abortion is a grave decision. The process of decision making occurs in diverse circumstances and is influenced by different considerations: a perceived threat to mental or physical health; not knowing how to cope with the situation of being pregnant; being alone or pressurised; not knowing where your support will come from; the diagnosis of disability for the child in the womb; knowing that a child will bring extra financial burden on already stretched means. The issue of abortion not only has consequences for mothers, but also affects fathers, both in terms of taking responsibility to protect and care for the children they have conceived and in coping with the impact of abortion. In such situations, the capacity to exercise choice can be compromised with a consequent limitation on a person’s moral culpability.

 

Echoing the teaching of Pope St John Paul II, in his letter The Gospel of Life, paragraph 99, Pope Francis has written of those who have had an abortion:

 

“I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope.” (Letter to Archbishop Fisichella for the Year of Mercy, 1 September 2015)

 

Both Popes, however, recognise the burden of guilt that often accompanies the decision to destroy a human life in the womb. Both speak insistently of the unfailing mercy of God for all who turn to Him in repentance and with a desire for forgiveness. As Pope St John Paul II said:

 

“If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child.” (The Gospel of Life, paragraph 99)

 

4. The Intrinsic Value and Worth of Every Human Life

 

The 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the truth about the dignity of human life and the vitality and potentiality of the child in the womb. The Church’s consistent affirmation that human life begins at conception emphasises this unique beginning of human existence. The challenge that faces our society today is to recover an understanding of the immeasurable good of each unborn child and to value his or her life with even greater respect.

 

A particular contradiction occurs in relation to the legislation permitting the abortion of an unborn child diagnosed with a disability.  The law of the United Kingdom permits the abortion of a child with disability up to birth and stands in stark contrast to the protection and respect shown to people who experience disabilities after they are born. The past fifty years have witnessed a deepening of society’s respect and understanding for people with disability, and legislation has helped disabled people achieve fulfilling lives. The witness of those who compete in the Paralympic games shines out as a way in which people with disability excel and compete, using their gifts to the full. We hope that greater reflection and consistency in the approach to unborn children with disabilities will lead to a change in understanding, with greater protection provided through new legislation.

 

In comparison with 1967, the prenatal care of unborn children has improved remarkably. Indeed, the survival and healthcare of premature babies has seen significant medical breakthrough and advances. We hold in high esteem all those who dedicate their lives to serving in antenatal and special care baby units for their commitment to nurturing human life in its early stages.

 

The 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act invites further reflection on how women are supported and helped during pregnancy. In comparison with fifty years ago, our society and Church have a much greater acceptance of single mothers, and often provide assistance for those who need it. Much more, however, needs to be done.

 

We recognize that there has also been an erosion of respect for those with conscientious objections against abortion. This has affected members of the medical and healthcare professions who face increasing difficulty in being able to combine their dedicated professional work with their personal conviction. So much talent is being lost to important professional areas. Personal conscience is inviolable and no-one should be forced to act against their properly formed conscience in these matters. This is something which needs greater debate in our society. Most recently we have witnessed the possibility of pharmacists losing their right not to dispense abortifacients if it is against their conscience or religion.  

 

5. Learning to respect life

 

Parents and educators in schools have a particular duty to help shape the values and attitudes of children and young people. Against the dominant cultural trend that often sees abortion as being about “the right to an obvious and free choice,” there is an urgent need to teach about the inviolability of human life, from conception to its natural end, and to help everyone appreciate the value of every human life, without exception.

 

We thank those generous young people who strive to promote pro-life values. They are a real encouragement and inspiration, in the Church and in society. It is vitally important for young people to gain a deep understanding of the meaning of human sexuality and the place of the sexual relationship as an expression of love within marriage. We know that formation in chastity helps young people to flourish in a mature and genuine way. The Church’s continuing work in developing programmes of Love and Relationships Education will help young people to appreciate the beauty of a sexual relationship in the context of marriage, and the gift of parenthood as a vocation in the Lord.

 

6. Giving thanks and looking ahead

 

We have the highest regard for every woman who, in difficult and adverse conditions, has made the courageous decision to continue her pregnancy and give birth to her child. We thank the charities, and those who donate to them, for their solidarity and support.

 

It is our desire and aim that those who face agonising decisions surrounding pregnancy should be fully informed of both the positive alternatives which would enable them to keep their child and the tragic consequences of abortion.

 

We are grateful to all those who work through our political system to protect human life from the moment of conception. We urge those who seek to reform the current abortion legislation to continue their good work.

 

We are aware that people of all faiths, and of many different convictions, uphold the duty to protect the unborn child. This 50th anniversary needs to bring about a new debate to change attitudes towards human life in the womb, to promote what it means to make good and authentic choices, and to protect and care for mothers and their children.

 

As Catholics, we urge that, throughout our countries, prayer and fasting be used for the protection of human life, especially for life within the womb, for all expectant mothers, for fathers and families. We ask the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St Raymund Nonnatus, the patron saint of childbirth, midwives, children, pregnant women.

 

Let the final word come from Pope Francis, preaching in 2005 on the Feast of St Raymund, when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires:

 

“All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth…to give life is to open our heart, and to care for life is to give oneself in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in my heart for others. Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing…So, go forth and don’t be discouraged. Care for life. It’s worth it.”

 

Vincent Cardinal Nichols        
President               
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of         
England and Wales
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia
President
The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 171 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

| 13th August 2019 | 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  ...