news-2


In a letter sent to all Catholic parishes over the weekend, Bishop Joseph Toal, who is responsible for Safeguarding on behalf of the Bishops ofScotland,has marked the publication of new national Safeguarding standards which come into force on Monday 21stMay.

 

In his letter, Bishop Toal commends the publication of ‘In God’s Image’, a new and extensive manual which offers comprehensive guidance and instruction on every aspect of Safeguarding in the Catholic Church.

 

On behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland, he writes:

 

“Your Bishops want you to know that we aspire to the highest standards of care and protection of all, and we are committed to rebuilding trust and confidence in the ways in which we ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults are kept safe.”

 

The publication of these new materials marks the end of a period in which the Church has been implementing the recommendations of the McLellan Commission that reported in 2015, with rigorous oversight by an Independent Review Group chaired by Baroness Helen Liddell.

 

Bishop Toal states that engagement with survivors will continue to be an important task for the Church:

 

“For some years now, each Bishop has been meeting with survivors and will continue to do so. Given the profound and sensitive nature of this issue, such encounters take place discreetly, at times and paces suited to the needs of survivors.”

 

Adding:

 

Through the protection and care we show to all, and through the compassion, healing and justice we offer to those who have survived abuse, we must continue to renew, rebuild and restore faith and hope in the church by offering faith and hope to one another. “

 

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:

 

The new manual can be viewed here:

 

 https://ingodsimage.bcos.org.uk/ 

 

 

Full text of the letter sent to parishes is copied below.

 

Pastoral Letter for distribution to Congregations on Pentecost Sunday 2018

 

My Dear People,

 

I write, on behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland, to draw your attention to the publication of our Church’s new Safeguarding materials which come into force on 21stMay 2018.  These include ‘In God’s Image’, the document which offerscomprehensive guidance and instruction on every aspect of Safeguarding, including compliance with new Safeguarding standards.  This hasbeen shaped by the recent experience and developing expertise of those involved in the front line of Safeguarding in the Church, both in Scotland and internationally.In ratifying this publication, the Bishops have taken the opportunity to repeat and renew apologies made to those who have suffered any form of abuse, at any time, by anyone representing the Church.

 

 

Your Bishops want you to know that we aspire to the highest standards of care and protection of all, and we are committed to rebuilding trust and confidence in the ways in which we ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults are kept safe.  We are most grateful to the teams of Safeguarding personnel in all Dioceses and to over 9,000 trained volunteers who support the work of parishes and religious congregations across Scotland.

 

 

The publication of these materials marks the end of a period in which the Church has been working quietly, but tirelessly, to implement the recommendations of the McLellan Commission that reported in August 2015.

 

 

Since 2013 we have published annual audits of allegations reported to us each year. Last month, we also published a historical review of non-recent cases of abuse, covering the period 1943–2005. The publication of our annual audits, the historical review and our new Safeguarding materials demonstrate our ongoing commitment to openness and transparency.

 

 

We recognise, however, that publications alone are not enough. Regular reviews and rigorous scrutiny by those both inside and outside the church will be required, as will independent evaluation.

 

 

An Independent Review Group, chaired by Baroness Helen Liddell, comprising a team of experienced and distinguished experts in safeguarding, child protection and education has overseen the implementation of the McLellan recommendations and is now examining our annual Safeguarding Audits. Each year, this autonomous group will scrutinise the work of two of the eight dioceses in Scotland alongside a review of the work of Religious Orders.

 

 

We also recognise that engagement with survivors of abuse is crucial and we can reveal that, for some years now, each Bishop has been meeting with survivors and will continue to do so. Given the profound and sensitive nature of this issue, such encounters take place discreetly, at times and places suited to the needs of the survivors.  We have encountered survivors who simply want to be listened to, to be heard, and to be understood. Others express a need for counselling, spiritual guidance or some form of redress. Some want to live their lives without any contact from the Church or its representatives. Each of these wishes must be respected and addressed as far as possible.

 

 

The first chapter of Genesis tells us that humans are created “in the image of God”, making each human life inherently valuable and giving each person an innate and precious dignity. Sadly, the dignity of the most vulnerable has not always been recognised or protected by individuals and by organisations. We have seen, with cruel repetition, scandals engulfing politics, football, show business and most recently, the international aid sector. The Church shares in this scandal and our shame is greater, because our expectation of safety, care and compassion are higher.

 

 

We know that Jesus identifies profoundly with children, the poor, the needy and the vulnerable and we learn that how we personally respond to the vulnerable will be relevant to our eternal destiny.  We read in the Gospel of St Matthew that, at the Last Judgement, it will be no good saying: ‘“When did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?”  For then he will answer: “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me”’.

 

 

 

This makes Safeguarding, for all of us, a pressing priority in every parish, diocese and religious congregation. We must prioritise our compliance with our new Safeguarding standards, initially by becoming familiar with them and then through continuing participation in training events provided in each Diocese and nationally. 

 

 

Through the protection and care we show to all, and through the compassion, healing and justice we offer to those who have survived abuse, we must continue to renew, rebuild and restore faith and hope in the church by offering faith and hope to one another. At this time of Pentecost we pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will strengthen us in our efforts to do so.

 

 

Yours devotedly in Christ,

 

+ Joseph Toal

Bishop of Motherwell

responsible for Safeguarding

on behalf of the Bishops of Scotland

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 116 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

Statement on the Appointment of the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

| 14th January 2020 | Blogging

14 JANUARY 2020   The Bishops of Scotland have appointed Fr Gerard Maguiness to be the new General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference. Fr Maguiness is currently Parish Priest of St Ignatius’, Wishaw, in the Diocese of Motherwell. He succeeds Fr Jim Grant who was appointed in 2018.   Commenting on the appointment, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said;   “I am delighted to welcome Fr Gerard to his new post and together with all the members of the conference, look forward to working with him in future. I extend our warmest thanks to Fr. Jim Grant for his service and to Bishop Toal for his willingness to support the conference and its work by lending one of his priests as General Secretary.”   Reacting to his appointment, Fr Maguiness said:   "I look forward to serving the Catholic Church in Scotland as General Secretary to the Bishops. I am grateful to Mgr Michael Conway and my parishioners from St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, Wishaw, for their support and prayers for this new challenge."    Bishop Joe Toal, Bishop of Motherwell said:   “I am grateful to Fr Grant for the time and dedication he gave to the role of General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. I have asked him to take up the post of Parish Priest of St Francis Xavier’s, Carfin, following the illness of Fr Francis McGachey, who stood down as Parish Priest of St Francis’ Xavier’s last year.”   Bishop Toal added;   “I am pleased that the Diocese of Motherwell can continue to contribute generously to the National Church by allowing Fr Gerard Maguiness to serve as General Secretary.  I am sure he will bring his many talents to that role and I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide him as he accepts this new challenge.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:    Fr Maguiness’ appointment will take effect from 7 February 2020. Fr Grant will take up his appointment in Carfin on 8 February.   Fr Gerard Maguiness – CV   Attended Our Lady of Lourdes Primary and Saint Bride's High, East Kilbride; Studies at Pontifical Scots College and Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome 1987-94; Ordained 4th July 1994 Our Lady of Lourdes, East Kilbride; Assistant Priest St. Columbkille's, Rutherglen 1994-1996; Chaplain to Fernhill School 1994-1996; Assistant Priest St. Ignatius of Loyola, Wishaw 1996-1999; Chaplain to St. Aidan's High, Wishaw 1996-1999; Doctorate in Theology, Alphonsianum, Pontifical Lateran University, Rome 1999-2002; Assistant Priest St. Monica's, Coatbridge 2002-2009; Primary Religious Education Advisor, Diocese of Motherwell 2002-2008; Vicar Episcopal for Religious Education 2008; Lecturer in Moral Theology, Scotus College, Glasgow 2003-2009; Parish Priest St Edward's, Airdrie 2009-2012; Parish Priest St Ignatius of Loyola, Wishaw 2012-2020; Chaplain to St. Aidan's High, Wishaw 2013-2018...

Christmas Messages from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland

| 17th December 2019 | Blogging

17th December 2019   Bishop Hugh Gilbert – Bishop of Aberdeen and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland   May I wish everyone a joyful Christmas and all good things for 2020! We don’t know the future, but we do know that God is with us – always, everywhere. And that changes everything.   What can we wish for others, for our family and friends, for ourselves? What about change? That might sound rude. But not if it’s meant well. Christmas – God with us – changes everything and something can shift in us through celebrating it. Something new can enter and change our standard selves.   At Christmas – at the Annunciation, to be precise – God changed. God became something he was not: a human being. He did this freely, out of love for us. He did not change who he always is, one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He did not change his ‘character’. He didn’t stop being God. But the Second Person of the Trinity took on a human nature, ‘added’ humanity to himself. He embraced it, married it. He was born of a mother, died on a cross, rose from the dead – all as a real human being. Now, humanity is part of God - the Son of God - forever. Unbelievable! Yet this is our faith.   At Christmas, God changed. He changed so as to change us. He took on us so that we can take on him. God lived a human life so we can – unbelievably – live a divine one. What does this mean? Not throwing our weight around; God doesn’t do that. But with the help of the Holy Spirit and in the limits of our humanity, trying to reflect the goodness of God - freely, out of love. Trying to humble ourselves, like God. Trying to serve one another, as Jesus did. Trying to make a good gift of our own life, as the Father gifted his Son and his Son gifted himself. We can try to be ‘with’ one another, carrying each other’s burdens as Christ carried our cross. God could have forgotten us, as we had forgotten him. But he didn’t. In the Child Jesus, he remembers each one of us. And that changes us. Perhaps one simple life-changing gesture for Christmas is to remember – in prayer and contact - someone we might otherwise not. Couldn’t the whole world then become aflame, changed by love?   May Mary’s Son bless us all!   + Hugh Gilbert OSB Bishop of Aberdeen President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland December 2019   Bishop John Keenan – Bishop of Paisley and Vice President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland   I wonder if you, like me, enjoy the prayers in our Christmas Masses in this festive season.   After the long watching of the Advent season and, finally, all is at last made manifest, we can now enjoy the great promise in which we dared to hope.    Then, praying the prayers of the Christmas Liturgies, we find ourselves caught up in the marvel of the Bethlehem scene with Mary, Joseph and the newborn Messiah, below the choir of angels, accompanied by the shepherds and alongside the stable animals.   As we peer into its curiosity the prayers raise our minds to the astonishing truth of it all: In the wonder of the incarnation Your eternal Word has brought to the eyes of faith a new and radiant vision of Your glory.  In Him we see our God made visible, and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.   It is so much to take in that the Liturgy allows us Twelve Days of Christmas to savour the astonishing truth of what interrupted our human history two thousand years ago in the arrival of that tiny Child.   The liturgy of the Feast of Saint Stephen, on the day after Christmas day, reflects upon how God took on human form so that we would not need to go look for Him in temples of stone but find Him very near in warm flesh and blood like our own.  The Feast of John the Evangelist contemplates the sheer wonder of the Incarnation where God comes so close to us that we can even touch Him with our hands and see Him with our eyes. The Feast of the Holy...

Bishops call for the application of international law in Israel and Palesti

| 17th December 2019 | Blogging

17th January 2020   Bishops from across Europe and North America called on their governments to insist on the application of international law in Israel and Palestine, following their visit to the Holy Land this week.   The bishops of the Holy Land Coordination, including Scotland’s Bishop William Nolan of the Diocese of Galloway, who visit the region every year in support of the local Church to promote dialogue and peace, said they were inspired by the enduring resilience of the people they met in Gaza, East Jerusalem and Ramallah despite the worsening situation.    However, they echoed the local bishops’ lament of the international community’s failure to realise justice and peace in the land of Christ’s birth. While the political solution had ultimately to be shaped by the people of the Holy Land through dialogue, they said there was an urgent need for the governments in their own countries in Europe, Canada and the USA to play an essential part by:    Insisting on the application of international law; Following the Holy See's lead in recognising the State of Palestine; Addressing the security concerns of Israel and the right of all to live in safety; Rejecting political or economic support for settlements And resolutely opposing acts of violence or abuses of human rights by any side.   They concluded their final communique with prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.   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   Pictures of the Holy Land Coordination 2020 are available at: flickr.com/photos/catholicism   Holy Land Coordination 2020 - Final Communique   We must not ignore the voice of people in the Holy Land   Every year we come to encounter and hear the people of the Holy Land. We are inspired by their enduring resilience and faith in a worsening situation.   In their recent powerful message, the local Catholic Bishops lamented the international community’s failure to help realise justice and peace here in the place of Christ’s birth. Our governments must do more to meet their responsibilities for upholding international law and protecting human dignity. In some cases they have become actively complicit in the evils of conflict and occupation.   The local Bishops also warned that people are facing further “evaporation of hope for a durable solution”. We have witnessed this reality first-hand, particularly how construction of settlements and the separation wall is destroying any prospect of two states existing in peace.   In the same message, the local Bishops have sounded the alarm about living conditions becoming “more and more unbearable”. This is painfully clear in the West Bank where our sisters and brothers are denied even basic rights including freedom of movement. In Gaza the political decisions of all sides have resulted in the creation of an open air prison, human rights abuses and a profound humanitarian crisis. We were welcomed by families whose focus is now day-to-day survival and whose aspirations have been reduced to bare essentials such as electricity and clean water.   Amid these circumstances we are moved by the sacrifice of religious sisters, lay people and priests who are reaching out with respect to every side, in order to build a better future for all. They offer vital services, especially education, job opportunities and care for the most vulnerable people. We give thanks for their witness.   We encourage Christians in our own countries to pray for and support this mission. The increase in people making pilgrimages to the Holy Land is encouraging and we call for those who come to ensure they encounter the local communities.   At the same time we implore our governments to help build a new political solution rooted in human dignity for all. While this...

Scottish Church Leaders Urge Truthfulness in Political Debate

| 27th November 2019 | Blogging

27th November 2019   Ten Scottish church leaders have joined together in calling for a respectful tone in the ongoing political debate - that recognises the human value in all people.   As campaigning enters the final three weeks before the General Election on 12 December, the leaders have urged people to think of the many issues that unite rather than divide.   The statement says:   “As people of faith, we believe in the flourishing of local communities and the importance of acting to make sure this can become a reality. There are many issues which divide us but many more that can unite us – and the realisation of a fairer, more equal and more just society is one of them.”   It adds:   “We are all entitled to our own opinions and strong beliefs, and debates sometimes do get passionate and vigorous. But let us ensure that truthfulness and integrity are at the forefront of what we say and do.”   The Scottish church leaders represent the main Christian denominations in Scotland including the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church.   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:   1.  FULL TEXT OF STATEMENT AND SIGNATORIES   “As the UK General Election approaches on 12 December, we would like to remind people of the hope that we share as we approach this special time of year – of new life and a new world, and the inspiration this gives us to create a better society for us all – one in which we truly care about those around us.   “We would like to take this opportunity to encourage people to be prayerful as they vote and make decisions that will affect the future of our country.   “We would urge people to treat those who are standing for public office with respect and to use a tone in our debates that recognises the human value in all of us – even, and especially when, we disagree.   “We are all entitled to our own opinions and strong beliefs, and debates sometimes do get passionate and vigorous. But let us ensure that truthfulness and integrity are at the forefront of what we say and do.   “As people of faith, we believe in the flourishing of local communities and the importance of acting to make sure this can become a reality. There are many issues which divide us but many more that can unite us – and the realisation of a fairer, more equal and more just society is one of them.”   Signatories:   Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Most Reverend Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Rev John O. Fulton, Moderator of the United Free Church of Scotland Revd Mark Slaney, Chair of the Methodist Church in Scotland (Scotland District & Shetland District) Joan M.M. Cook, President of the Scottish Unitarian Association Adwoa Bittle, Clerk to General Meeting for Scotland, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Revd Dr David A. Pickering,  Moderator of the United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland Lieut-Colonel Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland and Divisional Commander, East Scotland Division, The Salvation Army May-Kane Logan, Chair of the Congregational Federation in Scotland   2.  The Catholic Bishops’ of Scotland sent out a pastoral letter in advance of the UK General Election, to be read at all parishes on 23/24 November 2019.  The text can be found here: https://scmo.org/news-releases/perma/1574154000/article/elect-individuals-who-reflect-your-beliefs-catholi.html    ...