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SCMO | 02nd October 2021 | News Releases
Catholic Church in Scotland establishes new independent Safeguarding agency Saturday 2 October 2021   The Catholic Church in Scotland has announced the creation of a new independent Safeguarding agency. Speaking at the end of a national Safeguarding webinar which attracted 450 participants from across Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, announced the establishment of a new body – the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (SCSSA) as an independent private company.   Speaking to the webinar participants, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said: “The SCSSA will operate entirely independently of the Church and will have its own staff and Board of Management who will work in close collaboration with dioceses and religious communities to ensure that they are able to meet national safeguarding standards. It will also develop a process that will provide an independent review of complaints about safeguarding practice and crucially, establish a forum in which those who have experienced abuse can contribute their own perspectives to the development of safeguarding.”   Bishop Hugh added: “We will shortly commence the recruitment process for the Chair and members of the Board of Management, followed by the recruitment of a Director and a Head of Safeguarding Training. It will take some time to establish the new agency and we ask for your patience and support while that process is underway.”    Bishop Hugh concluded: “The Bishops ask for your prayers that the Holy Spirt will guide us in the selection of suitable candidates who will bring authority and credibility to the work of this new agency that will promote consistency, transparency and accountability across Catholic Church institutions in Scotland.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org @SCMO14    ...

SCMO | 22nd September 2021 | News Releases
  Catholic Church campaigns against Assisted Suicide Proposal   The Catholic Church in Scotland has restated its opposition to a new attempt to legalise assisted suicide. While the church together with a wide range of other organisations supports the Care Not Killing (CNK) group it has separately criticised the prospect of another consultation on the subject.   Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan said;   “This is the third time in little over a decade that the Scottish Parliament has been asked to legalise assisted suicide. Despite the underlying arguments not having changed we are once again being confronted with the frightening proposal that doctors be legally permitted to help patients kill themselves by providing them with a lethal cocktail of drugs.”    “Over the last eighteen months society has been reoriented to protect the most ill and vulnerable in response to the pandemic. Legalising assisted suicide moves in the opposite direction: putting immeasurable pressure on vulnerable people including those with disabilities to end their lives prematurely, for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden on others.”    Mr Horan restated the Catholic church position that “Once passed, incremental extensions and the removal of protections and safeguards are inevitable and have happened everywhere legislation has been passed.”   He called on MSP’s to “prevent suicide, not assist it” and urged Catholics to “engage with elected representatives to warn them of the serious dangers of assisted suicide and the deadly and irreparable consequences of its legalisation.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   A briefing on Assisted Suicide - https://rcpolitics.org/assisted-suicide/ Is being circulated to Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes, urging pa...

SCMO | 20th September 2021 | News Releases
POPE ‘SUPPORTIVE’ OF PLANS TO RELOCATE SCOTS COLLEGE 20 September 2021   Plans to relocate the Pontifical Scots College in Rome have been backed by Pope Francis. Archbishop Leo Cushley met with the Holy Father at the Vatican on Saturday (18 September) to discuss the proposed move. Speaking after the meeting, Archbishop Cushley said: “Pope Francis expressed his full support for the intentions of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to move the college into Rome city centre.  “I was delighted to hear that and I know my fellow bishops will be too.”   The decision to relocate seminary, where young men in Scotland train for the priesthood, was announced in December after building upgrades were deemed too costly. The college is on Via Cassia, around 10km from the city centre. The Bishops’ aim to sell the building and believe a more central location is the best option for the formation needs of the community and for future provision.   Archbishop Cushley added: “Saying goodbye, the Pope asked for our prayers for him, which I was happy to promise him on behalf of Scotland’s Catholics.   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:   Archbishop Cushley is in Rome this week for the 50th anniversary of the council of European Bishops’ Conferences at the Plenary Assembly in the presence of Pope Francis.   Change email address / Leave mailing list Powered by YMLP ...

SCMO | 07th September 2021 | News Releases
Catholic Bishops and organisations call for an end to the arms trade   7 September 2021   Catholic Bishops and organisations have voiced their opposition to the arms trade, as the UK prepares to host one of the world’s largest arms fairs next week.      The DSEI arms fair takes place in London 14-17 September, bringing together governments and military delegations from across the world with more than 1,500 companies selling guns, bombs, and other weaponry.      A statement signed by Catholic Bishops from across the UK, took up the call of Pope Francis to end the arms trade. Commenting on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway said;    “Tragically, conflicts fueled by the trade harm the world’s poorest communities, they force people to flee their homes as refugees, and they have devastating consequences for our environment.  We urge governments across the world, including our own, to commit themselves to ending the global arms trade and instead pursue the path of peace and reconciliation.”    ENDS    Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:  The full statement is shown below;     Full statement:      As the UK again prepares to host one of the world’s largest arms fairs, we recall the message of Pope Francis: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”       We recognise the right of every country to defend itself against attack, but we must never ignore, or allow ourselves to become complicit in, the destruction of human life and violations of human dignity ma...

SCMO | 01st September 2021 | News Releases
Scottish Government accused of ‘riding roughshod over democracy’ 1 September 2021 The Scottish government has been accused of breaking with convention and deliberately diminishing the views of thousands of individuals who responded to a consultation on home abortions in July. In a strongly worded critique, the Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan has condemned the decision to nullify the responses of the majority of people who took part in the consultation and opposed the government’s stance. Mr Horan writes; “Only 17 per cent of submissions to the home abortion consultation supported home abortions being made permanent. A total of 61 per cent wanted them ended and 74 per cent believed they had a negative impact on the safety of women. Additionally, more than 600 medical professionals signed an open letter to the Scottish, Welsh and English governments calling for an end to “at-home” abortion because of concerns about abortions occurring beyond the ten-week limit and about women and girls being coerced into an abortion against their will.”  Adding;  “Yet, despite this, the Scottish Government shockingly sought to downplay those individuals who raised concerns, labelling a significant number of the responses as “organised by pro-life or faith groups” as if to downgrade their importance. The same treatment was not given to pro-abortion groups.” Mr Horan describes the Scottish Government’s publication last week of its Women’s Health Plan which sets out the government’s intention to “make telephone and video consultation universally available as an option for abortion services” as a “deeply concerning” development which undermines the government’s own commitment to “commission an independent evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the current approach, including in relation to safety”.  Mr Horan describes the Scottish government as being “hell bent on making the (home aborti...

SCMO | 27th July 2021 | News Releases
Blairs Museum launches new interactive virtual museum Tuesday 27 July 2021   Blairs Museum, Scotland’s National Catholic Museum has launched a brand-new website featuring an interactive virtual museum and shop, thanks to funding from the Scottish Government’s “Museum Recovery and Resilience Fund” established to protect Scotland’s culture and heritage sectors from the impacts of Covid-19.   The new website unites all the collections of the Scottish Catholic Heritage Collections Trust Museum, and the historic Library and Archive (both of which are on loan to the University of Aberdeen). The website also provides a link to the Scottish Catholic Archives at Columba House in Edinburgh.   This project was funded through a significant Recovery and Resilience Grant from Museums Galleries Scotland. In July 2020, the Scottish Government allocated £4 million to the Museum Recovery and Resilience Fund from the £97 million package of funding to protect Scotland’s culture and heritage sectors from the impacts of Covid-19.   The Museum Recovery and Resilience Fund aims to secure the future of Scottish independent museums put at risk by the pandemic and to protect the vital role that they play in their communities.   Museum curator and project lead Amy Miller said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has prevented many visitors from coming in person to view our collections at Blairs. This new website and suite of online resources allows anyone with an internet connection to see our museum and treasures safely. We have 3D scanned a selection of our artefacts and users can interact with the object by zooming and rotating it to see all the details.”   She added: “We have also created a YouTube Channel to host our new series of web videos about our collections and the amazing stories they tell. We are still adding new videos so it is well worth checking the channel regularly.”   The new website also features learning resources for school pupils to use in...

SCMO | 12th July 2021 | News Releases
  Monday 12 July 2021   Scotland’s Bishops welcomed prospect of Pope Francis meeting.   Scotland’s Catholic bishops have welcomed the prospect of a meeting with Pope Francis when he attends the COP26 Conference in Glasgow in November. A spokesperson for the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said:   “Scotland’s bishops express their prayerful support for Pope Francis as he recovers from his recent surgery. Having written to the Holy Father to assure him of a warm welcome, should he attend the Conference, they are delighted to hear that he does hope to attend and would be glad to meet with them in Glasgow.”   The spokesperson added;   “The Pope will be in Scotland for a very short time, most of which will be spent participating in the COP26 Conference. While many pastoral, ecumenical and inter faith gatherings would be desirable while he is with us, time constraints, sadly mean such a full programme will not be possible.”     ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org  ...

SCMO | 01st June 2021 | News Releases
    Scottish Bishops welcome Pope’s call for Synod in 2023 1 June 2021   Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have welcomed a call from Pope Francis for a Synod on the theme of Synodality, to be held in 2023. Commenting on the announcement, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said;   “Last Sunday the Church celebrated the Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and our Lady at the very beginning, the birthday, of the Church. We gave thanks for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that first Pentecost but also celebrated the ongoing gifts of the Holy Spirit to the Church. Mindful of these gifts the Bishops of Scotland welcome the initiative of Pope Francis to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church, to the People of God, to listen to one another, and to make that Synodal journey together of communion, participation and mission.”   Bishop Gilbert added;   “The Pope has called for a very participative process, engaging all the faithful, which will prepare for this Synod. The Bishops of Scotland welcome the Initiative for a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission. As the principle and foundation of unity in our dioceses, the Bishops look forward to the launch of the Synodal journey, a period of consultation and discernment in our local Churches, on Sunday 17th October of this year, and preparations are now being made for that event. We ask all the faithful to pray for the success of this initiative in the life of the universal and local Church, and above all to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit and listen to the Holy Spirit speaking through all of us in the Body of Christ.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   The Synodal process will conclude in Rome in October 2023....

SCMO | 17th May 2021 | News Releases
Scottish Bishops establish a“Care of Creation Office” Monday 17 May 2021   Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have announced their intention to set up a “Care of Creation Office” ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow later this year. Commenting on the decision, Bishop William Nolan, the Bishop of Galloway and President of the National Justice & Peace Commission said:   “On Pentecost Sunday (23 May 2021) we mark the 6th anniversary of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on care for our common home. It reminds all Catholics of their responsibilities towards one another and the world we live. Inspired by the Pope’s letter and in preparation for the COP26 conference taking place in Glasgow in November, the Bishops’ Conference has decided to set-up a “Care of Creation Office” this year.”   Bishop Nolan added:   “The Office’s aim will be to give practical advice and guidance: helping dioceses and parishes assess their carbon footprint and discern how to work towards carbon neutrality, it will be headed by Fr Gerard H Maguiness the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference.  God has honoured us by giving humanity the task of being a co-operator in the work of creation we hope our lives enhance and build-up that creation and pray that the meeting of world leaders in Glasgow later this year bear fruit for our planet.”   The announcement of the new office coincides with a National Pastoral letter from Scotland’s Bishops being distributed to all parishes for Pentecost Sunday (23 May 2021) on the theme of caring for creation. The letter marks the Sixth Anniversary of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on the environment, Laudato Si’ and draws attention to the Christian message, that “we are all part of one human family and that we share a common home, means that our earth’s resources must be shared and used for the benefit of all”.   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 1168079...

SCMO | 17th May 2021 | News Releases
Scottish Bishops establish a“Care of Creation Office” Monday 17 May 2021   Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have announced their intention to set up a “Care of Creation Office” ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow later this year. Commenting on the decision, Bishop William Nolan, the Bishop of Galloway and President of the National Justice & Peace Commission said:   “On Pentecost Sunday (23 May 2021) we mark the 5th anniversary of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on care for our common home. It reminds all Catholics of their responsibilities towards one another and the world we live. Inspired by the Pope’s letter and in preparation for the COP26 conference taking place in Glasgow in November, the Bishops’ Conference has decided to set-up a “Care of Creation Office” this year.”   Bishop Nolan added:   “The Office’s aim will be to give practical advice and guidance: helping dioceses and parishes assess their carbon footprint and discern how to work towards carbon neutrality, it will be headed by Fr Gerard H Maguiness the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference.  God has honoured us by giving humanity the task of being a co-operator in the work of creation we hope our lives enhance and build-up that creation and pray that the meeting of world leaders in Glasgow later this year bear fruit for our planet.”   The announcement of the new office coincides with a National Pastoral letter from Scotland’s Bishops being distributed to all parishes for Pentecost Sunday (23 May 2021) on the theme of caring for creation. The letter marks the Sixth Anniversary of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on the environment, Laudato Si’ and draws attention to the Christian message, that “we are all part of one human family and that we share a common home, means that our earth’s resources must be shared and used for the benefit of all”.   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 1168079...

SCMO | 28th April 2021 | News Releases
Scottish Bishops offer support to Catholic Church in Ireland   28 April 2021   Commenting on the recent decision by the Irish Government to enact restrictions which do not allow public worship, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert has issued the following statement:   “As the Catholic Church in Scotland this year celebrates the 1500th Anniversary of the birth of St Columba who brought the faith from Ireland to Scotland in the 6th century, the thoughts and prayers of the Church in Scotland are now directed to our brothers and sisters in Ireland.”   “Recent developments that penalise the celebration of Holy Mass have been disturbing not only to the Irish Bishops’ Conference but also to the Bishops of Scotland. We all recognise the need for restrictions to protect the common good of all people in a pandemic but to enact legislation that criminalises those who gather to celebrate Holy Mass is indeed extreme and unjust.”   “May the strong bonds between the Catholic Church in Ireland and Scotland established by St Patrick, St Columba, the Celtic saints and the faith of our forebears reassure our brothers and sisters in Ireland that they are not alone and are always in our prayers.”   ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org      ...

SCMO | 27th April 2021 | News Releases
Blairs Museum reopens     The Blairs Museum in Aberdeen will reopen on Friday 30th April 2021, after an extended period of closure arising from the COVID pandemic. Blairs Museum offers a unique insight into Scotland's Catholic history and heritage with spectacular collections spanning more than 500 years it is located on South Deeside Road, Blairs, Aberdeen, housed in part of the former national junior seminary.   A special exhibition this year is titled ‘Capparoni and the Papal Court’. It comprises a fascinating set of hand coloured engravings by the artist Guiseppe Capparoni depicting the people of the Papal Court and the religious orders in Rome between 1823 and 1846 (the year in which Pope Pius IX was elected). These colourful images all clearly depict real individuals and give a lively impression of life in Rome at this time.   Commenting on the reopening, Museum Curator, Elinor Vickers said:   “We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the museum this year and hope that they find our new exhibition, on the artist Capparoni, is of interest. It is exciting to be developing our new website which should let everyone, no matter where, enjoy the museum and its collections.” Elinor Vickers added;   “Guiseppe Capparoni (1800-1879) is an artist who deserves to be better known, whose speciality was his illustrations for a massive series of books on regional and local costumes of the world. The museum holds a large selection of his illustrations of the people of Rome. He also worked on paintings in the churches of Rome, including various Stations of the Cross and ‘The Holy Family’ and ‘The Marriage of the Virgin’ at the basilica church of Sant’ Andrea delle Fratte. This church later became the titular church of Thomas Joseph Cardinal Winning.”   A selection of the relics and unusual liturgical items held by the museum are also newly exhibited this year. The museum will also be displaying all the treasures from the Permanent...

SCMO | 11th April 2021 | News Releases
Sunday 11 April 2021 Bishops urge politicians to put human life at centre of Scotland’s political discourse.   Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have released a pre-election Pastoral letter, urging Catholics to play their part “in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse” and to warn politicians against imposing “unjust restrictions on free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion”.   In a 1,000-word letter distributed online and via Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes, the Bishops ask Catholic voters to give consideration to six key areas, when selecting a candidate:   Beginning and end of life Family and Work Poverty, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Environment Free speech, free expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion Catholic schools   Pointing out that “society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish” the bishops add; “government should respond to this reality with policies creating economic and fiscal advantages for families with children.”   Voters are also urged to visit the website rcpolitics.org and to use the resources there to help them consider a range of election issues and to question candidates.     ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to Editors:   The Election resources are available here:  https://rcpolitics.org/scottish-parliament-election-2021/   The full text of the Pastoral Letter is shown below:       Scottish Parliament Election 2021 - Putting Human Life and  Dignity at the Centre   A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland   Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,   This election presents us with an opportunity to play our part in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political ...

SCMO | 01st March 2021 | News Releases
Return to Worship in time for Easter 1 March 2021 Responding to last week’s statement on the reopening of Places of Worship by the First Minister, the Catholic Bishops of Scotland have issued a statement welcoming the move and calling for a removal of the cap, which limits the number of people who can attend. Instead, the bishops maintain congregation size should be calculated in accordance with the size of each church, a system similar to that used in the retail sector, which still maintains social distancing regulations.   The full text of the statement is shown below. ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     As Scotland’s Catholic bishops, we welcome the recent announcement by the First Minister foreseeing a return to our churches for the most important celebration of the liturgical year at Easter. We also welcome the recognition of the status of public worship implicit in this decision. The Catholic Community recognises the seriousness of the pandemic and is committed to working with others to avoid the spreading of infection. At the same time, we anticipate ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government regarding the requirement of a numerical “cap” on the number of worshippers. As we continue to observe social distancing  and the protocols on infection control and hygiene formulated by the Bishops’ Conference working group under the leadership of the former Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns, we maintain that it would be more appropriate for each church building to accommodate a congregation in proportion to its size rather than on the basis of an imposed number. We echo here the timely words Pope Francis addressed to the representatives of countries to the Holy See on the 8th February 2021: Even as we seek ways to protect human lives from the spread of the virus, we cannot view the spiritual and moral dimension of the human person as less important than physical ...

SCMO | 12th February 2021 | News Releases
Church leaders urge withdraw of controversial section of Hate Crime Bill to allow “adequate consideration”   Friday 12 February   An unprecedented alliance of Catholic and Evangelical church leaders are urging the Scottish Government to drop part of its proposed Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill to allow time for “detailed consideration of crucial provisions.” The Bill, which would potentially criminalise any criticism of Transgender ideology has been criticised by the Catholic Church, the Free Church of Scotland and the Evangelical Alliance.   In a letter addressed today (Friday 12 February) to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf, the church leaders call for greater protections for freedom of expression and say:   “We believe that people should be completely free to disagree with our faith in any way, including mocking and ridiculing us. We are convinced that our faith is true and has a sufficient evidential basis to withstand any criticism, we therefore welcome open debate.”    By contrast, concerns are raised that any disagreement with or criticism of Transgender identity could fall foul of the new law, if passed in its current form. The church leaders point out, that “Transgender identity has been subject of extensive and emotional public discussion. Such free discussion and criticism of views is vital as society wrestles with these ideas.” They warn however, that they “cannot accept that any position or opinion at variance with the proposition that sex (or gender) is fluid and changeable should not be heard.”   The letter marks the first time Catholic, Free Church and Evangelical Alliance leaders have jointly petitioned the Scottish Government and sought a meeting with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Supporting “open and honest debate” the letter ends with an assertion, that “A right to claim that binary sex does not exist or is fluid must be matched with a right to disagree with that opinion;...

SCMO | 26th January 2021 | News Releases
FUNERAL MASS FOR BISHOP VINCENT LOGAN 26/01/2021 It seems almost a cliche to say it, but every human person is a mystery. It’s not surprising though, as it is in God ‘we live and move and have our being’ and he himself is the ultimate mystery, and we have our origin in God. The Catechism reminds us that ‘we are most like unto God in our soul’, and since each one of us is unique in every way, to say we are a mystery seems almost like an understatement. And this mysteriousness is at so many levels. From the biological point of view, we are a mystery because we are formed by the mixing of our parents’ genes and by the environment in which we are planted. From a psychological point of view, we are formed by our parents by our families, by our siblings, friends and relations, by the circumstances of our lives and our loves, our knocks and our disappointments. Most of us have had the good fortune to have been conceived in love and nurtured and nourished in love. Others, though, regrettably haven’t had that great start. And often, for those who are fortunate, there is one great thread of God’s goodness that powerfully shapes us. For most of us, this powerful goodness originates in the Faith passed on to us from our parents, a thread which runs throughout our lives and more than any other influence, arguably, shapes and guides the direction of our lives. Also, for those of us fortunate enough to be baptised, as well as inheriting the common humanity into which we are created in the image and likeness of God, our baptism in Christ also confers on us divine filiation - sonship and daughtership in God - enabling us, as St Paul says, to call God, Abba, our Father. And we spend the rest of our lives on earth finding out what are the consequences for us of this wonderful gift: we never stop learning how to become a better son or a daughter of God. All of this is true of Vincent Paul Logan. Vincent was born on 30th June 1941 to Joseph and Elizabeth Logan ...

SCMO | 25th January 2021 | News Releases
Funeral Arrangements for Bishop Vincent Logan   The Reception of Bishop Vincent Logan’s Remains, his Requiem Mass and Burial at Balgay Cemetery will be recorded and available to be viewed on the Diocese of Dunkeld website www.dunkelddiocese.co.uk  later the same day as the event. The funeral will also be available as a livestream here: https://www.dunkelddiocese.co.uk/livestream-mass/   RECEPTION OF BISHOP VINCENT’S REMAINS WITH VESPERS fromSt Andrew’s Cathedral, Dundee at 5 p.m. on Monday 25th January, 2021.   SOLEMN REQUIEM MASS for the Repose of Bishop Vincent’s soul on Tuesday, 26th January 2021, at 12 noon.   BURIAL OF BISHOP VINCENT’S REMAINS at Balgay Cemetery, Dundee, on Tuesday, 26th January 2021 from 1.30 p.m.   Due to COVID-19 restrictions, with reduced numbers, precedence has been given to Bishop Vincent’s relatives and closest friends. A small number of diocesan clergy, have been invited to concelebrate the Funeral Mass.   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org                    Note to Editors: An image of Bishop Logan is available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/50833807603/in/album-72157717885467253/    ...

SCMO | 21st January 2021 | News Releases
Thursday 21 January 2021         In his homily at the funeral of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, describes the late Archbishop as “a great tree felled unexpectedly in the middle of the night” a loss that “has changed the landscapes of so many lives.”   The full text of the homily is shown below:   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Homily for the Requiem of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia St Andrew’s Cathedral, 21 January 2021   “Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.” There are so many settings in which to have known Archbishop Philip: as a member of his family, or in his school and student days, in Rome, in the seminaries and parishes he served, as Bishop of Paisley and Archbishop of Glasgow. There were the many circles he moved in: of ecumenical dialogue, Catholic education about which he was so engaged and realistic, the civic life of Glasgow, not forgetting its sport. So many people touched by him, so many aspects to a life, so many perspectives to view it from. Three score years and ten. Our memories are fragments of a greater whole, and that whole – the mystery of a person - is in the mind and hands of God. “On the earth the broken arcs, in the heaven a perfect round.” Today, in Christ, we remember Philip’s life, we give thanks for it and we pray for its completion and the comfort of the bereaved. We bring him and ourselves before God in a literal and metaphorical great Eucharistic prayer of hope and affection. The image that comes to me is of a great tree felled unexpectedly in the middle of the night – Storm Covid. And only when we woke up the day following did we begin to divine what had happened, did we begin to grasp the depths of its roots, to see the space this tree occupied, the shelter it gave...

SCMO | 21st January 2021 | News Releases
Thursday 21 January 2021   Following a series of online meetings with Christians in Gaza, the Palestinian territories and Israel, the Catholic bishops who are members of the Holy Land Coordination group have urged “Israeli and Palestinian leaderships (to) recommit to direct negotiations.” The fifteen bishops from eleven countries also urged “our own governments and political leaders urgently to renew their active participation in the search for a just peace, supporting dialogue between all sides, upholding international law, and reaffirming the plurality of Jerusalem, given its unique significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims”   The full text of their statement is shown below:   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Holy Land Coordination 2021 Final Communiqué This is the first time we have been prevented from meeting physically in the Holy Land. Yet we remain resolutely committed to supporting our sisters and brothers in the homeland of Christ. Over the past week we have been privileged and moved to hear from Christians across the West Bank, Gaza and Israel about their mission, resilience and witness in these unprecedented circumstances. Through our dialogue, it has become painfully clear that there is today less cause for optimism than at any time in recent history. The health challenges of Covid-19, felt by the entire world, are compounded by conflict, occupation and blockade. The absence of international pilgrims has exacerbated widespread economic hardship, increased levels of unemployment and pushed many more families into poverty. The lack of political progress, along with relentless expansion of illegal settlements and the impact of Israel’s Nation-State law, continues to erode any prospect of a peaceful two-state solution. Now is a critical moment for us all to strengthen our expression of solidarity with the people of the Holy Land “not as a vag...

SCMO | 20th January 2021 | News Releases
Media Arrangements for Archbishop Tartaglia's Funeral   The Archbishop’s Funeral Rites will be celebrated in St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow, subject to the restrictions that are in place. Under current regulations only 20 of the Archbishop’s closest family and friends will attend and no media presence in the Cathedral will be possible.  However media outlets are free to make use of the following arrangements:   Vigil ceremony and Reception of Remains of Archbishop Tartaglia on Wednesday 20th January at 6.30 pm accessible by using this video link: https://youtu.be/idlkb2sNUcc     The Archbishop's Funeral Mass will take place on Thursday 21st January at 12 noon, and will be accessible by using this video link: https://youtu.be/tS6rtYC0DhMS   Still photos of the ceremonies will be available shortly after each liturgy at the following address and can be freely downloaded and used by the media. https://www.flickr.com/photos/archdioceseofglasgow/  The main celebrant of the Requiem Mass for Archbishop Tartaglia will be Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen, President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland. His sermon will be made available to the media and can be used after 12 noon on Thursday January 21.   Please note that external photography is not an option as the Cathedral ceremonies will be held behind closed doors. The coffin of the Archbishop will not be carried from the Cathedral as it will be buried in the Cathedral Crypt immediately after the Requiem Mass.   ENDS   For further information, contact   Ronnie Convery, Director of Communications RCAG - 07735 224789   ...

SCMO | 14th January 2021 | News Releases
14 January 2021    Following the death of Bishop Emeritus Vincent Logan, the current Bishop of Dunkeld, Bishop Stephen Robson, has issued the following statement:    My Dear People   It is with deep regret that I must share with you the sad news that Bishop Vincent, Emeritus Bishop of this Diocese, has died.  Bishop Vincent was 79.    Vincent Logan was Bishop of the diocese of Dunkeld for almost 32 years before his retirement on June 30th, 2012.  He was appointed to Dunkeld by Saint John Paul II and consecrated Bishop by Cardinal Gordon Joseph Gray on 26th February 1981.  Sadly his retirement years, from 2012 to the present were affected by a good deal of ill health which affected his mobility. He died earlier this morning, 14th January 2021, the day after his good friend Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow alongside whom he served on the Bishops Conference of Scotland. Both bishops succumbed to the lethal effects of the Coronavirus.    Bishop Vincent is survived by one remaining brother, James, and by two nephews Vincent and James, to whom our condolences are offered.  His faithful PA, Press Officer and friend of 40 years, Elaine Harrison, has cared for him in an exemplary manner especially over the years of his retirement.  Though devastated by his death, Elaine is happy that Bishop Vincent is now at peace with the Good Lord.   Bishop Vincent Logan was born in Bathgate, West Lothian, on 30th June 1941. After education in St Mary’s Academy, Bathgate, St Mary’s College, Blairs and St Andrew’s College, Drygrange,  Vincent was ordained priest by Cardinal Gray in Edinburgh on 14th March 1964. Following on from a number of diocesan appointments as assistant priest in Edinburgh, and further studies in catechetics in Corpus Christi College London, Vincent was appointed, Diocesan Advisor in RE, Director of the RE Office in the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, and finally Vicar Episcopal for Education in the Archdiocese f...

SCMO | 14th January 2021 | News Releases
14 January 2021    Scotland’s Bishops mourn the death of Bishop Emeritus Vincent Logan    Following the death today (14 January 2021) of Bishop Emeritus Vincent Logan, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert has issued the following statement:    “It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Vincent Logan, the retired bishop of Dunkeld. The bishops of Scotland offer our deep condolences and the promise of our prayers to Bishop Stephen Robson and all the clergy and people of the Diocese of Dunkeld as they remember Bishop Vincent.    Coming only a day after the death in Glasgow of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia marks this week as one of loss and mourning for the Catholic church in Scotland.    Bishop Vincent Logan was dedicated and energetic. His episcopal ordination in 1981 at the age of 39 made him one of the youngest bishops in the world and gave him an energy and zeal in all he did. His commitment to Catholic Education was well known and his robust defence of it will be long remembered.    On behalf of the Bishops of Scotland, we commend his soul into the hands of God and pray that he may enjoy eternal rest.”    ENDS    Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org                      Note to Editors:   An image of Bishop Logan is available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/50833807603/in/album-72157717885467253/   Biography: Rt. Rev. Vincent Logan: Born Bathgate 30 June 1941, Educated, St. Mary’s Academy, Bathgate, St. Mary’s College Blairs, Aberdeen, St. Andrew’s College, Drygrange. Ordained priest Edinburgh 14 March 1964. Diploma in religious Education, Corpus Christi College London 1966-67. Ordained Bishop of Dunkeld, by Cardinal Gordon gray 26 February 1981. Resugned 30 June 2012. Died 14 Jan 2021 aged 79.   Change email address / Leave mailing list Powered by YMLP...

SCMO | 13th January 2021 | News Releases
13 January 2021   Scotland’s Catholic Bishops mourn the death of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia   Following the death of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert has issued the following statement:   “It is with the deepest sadness that we have learned today on the Feast of St. Kentigern (Mungo) of the death of our brother bishop and friend Philip Tartaglia. His loss to his family, his clergy and the people of the Archdiocese of Glasgow will be immeasurable but for the entire Church in Scotland this is a day of immense loss and sadness.   He was a gentle, caring and warm-hearted pastor who combined compassion with a piercing intellect. His contribution to the work of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland over the past sixteen years was significant and we will miss his wisdom, wit and robust Catholic spirit very much.   On behalf of the Bishops of Scotland, we commend his soul into the hands of God and pray that he may enjoy eternal rest.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org                     Note to Editors:   An image of Archbishop Tartaglia is available here:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/25510264473/in/album-72157666531058155/   Biography:   Philip Tartaglia was born at Glasgow on 11th January 1951. He is the eldest son of Guido and Annita Tartaglia and had three brothers and five sisters. After his primary schooling at St. Thomas’, Riddrie, he began his secondary education at St. Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow, before moving to the national junior seminary at St. Vincent’s College, Langbank and, later, St. Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeen. His ecclesiastical studies were completed at the Pontifical Scots College, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.  He was ordained Priest by then-Archbishop Thomas Winning in the Church of Our Lady of G...

SCMO | 13th January 2021 | News Releases
13 January 2021   The following statement has been issued by the Archdiocese of Glasgow:   The Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, has died suddenly at his home in Glasgow. He was 70 years old.    Archbishop Tartaglia, who had served as Archbishop of Glasgow since 2012, had tested positive for COVID 19 shortly after Christmas and was self-isolating at home.  The cause of death is not yet clear.    The Archbishop had served as leader of Scotland’s largest Catholic community since 2012.  The Pope’s Ambassador to Great Britain, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti has been informed.  It will be for Pope Francis to appoint a new Archbishop to succeed Archbishop Tartaglia, but until then the Archdiocese will be overseen by an administrator.    Further information will be released as and when it becomes available.    ENDS   Note to Editors:   For further information contact: Ronnie Convery, Director of Communication, Archdiocese of Glasgow: 07735 224789 ronnie.convery@rcag.org.uk     Biographical notes:   Philip Tartaglia was born at Glasgow on 11th January 1951. He is the eldest son of Guido and Annita Tartaglia and had three brothers and five sisters. After his primary schooling at St. Thomas’, Riddrie, he began his secondary education at St. Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow, before moving to the national junior seminary at St. Vincent’s College, Langbank and, later, St. Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeen. His ecclesiastical studies were completed at the Pontifical Scots College, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.  He was ordained Priest by then-Archbishop Thomas Winning in the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Dennistoun on 30th June 1975. He then returned to Rome to study for his Doctorate in Sacred Theology.   On completing his Doctorate in 1980, he was appointed assistant priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, Cardonald, while at the same time becoming visiting lecturer at St. Peter’s College, Newlands, Glasg...

SCMO | 11th January 2021 | News Releases
Catholic Bishops call on UK to “forsake its nuclear arsenal”. 11 January 2021 A joint statement from the Catholic Bishops of England & Wales and Scotland has called on the UK Government to “forsake its nuclear arsenal” and to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which comes into force on Friday 22 January 2021. The statement quotes from a message from Pope Francis’ to the UN calling the complete elimination of nuclear weapons a “moral and humanitarian imperative”. It also urges the UK to “strengthen its arms control regulations, tackling the manufacture and sale of other weaponry, which continues to destroy so many lives throughout the world.” The full text of the statement is shown below: ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Statement on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons On Friday 22 January 2021 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons comes into force. This is a historic milestone on the path to nuclear disarmament and an opportunity to refocus on genuine peacebuilding rooted in dialogue, justice, respect for human dignity, and care for our planet. In setting out the “moral and humanitarian imperative” for complete elimination of nuclear weapons, Pope Francis reminded us that “international peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation.”[1] We urge support for the Treaty and repeat our call for the UK to forsake its nuclear arsenal. The resources spent on manufacturing, maintaining and upgrading these weapons of mass destruction, should be reinvested to alleviate the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society, for the Common Good of all peoples.[2] At the same time, we implore the government to strengthen its arms control regulations, tackling the manufacture and sale of other weaponry, which cont...

SCMO | 05th January 2021 | News Releases
5 January 2021   Catholic Bishops question Scottish Government’s closure of Places of Worship.   In a strongly worded statement, Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have expressed concern at the Scottish Government’s decision to close churches, when “No evidence has been forthcoming to justify the inclusion of places of worship as sources of infection”. The bishops suggest the move is “arbitrary and unfair” and in stark contrast to the decision by the UK Government to recognise “the essential contribution of public worship to the spiritual welfare of all citizens”.   The statement points out that “the stringent measures taken since last March to ensure public safety in our churches have been effective” and urges the Scottish Government “when the present measures are reviewed later in January, to reconsider these restrictions”.   The full text of the statement is shown below:   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     BCOS STATEMENT   Following the First Minister’s statement that all places of worship will close from Friday 8 January until Monday 1 February 2021, Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have issued the following statement:   “Recognising the dangers posed by the new faster-spreading variant of COVID-19, we note the Scottish Government’s decision to close all places of worship from Friday 8 January 2021.   The Scottish Government believes that such measures are necessary to curtail the spread of this new strain during the roll-out of the vaccine. We appreciate the difficult choices facing the Scottish Government at this time and we have shown ourselves ready both to cooperate with and to support its efforts in protecting the common good.  This has included curtailing public worship in extreme circumstances and for a limited period.    However, we are also perplexed by the decision, given that the stringent measures taken since las...

SCMO | 07th December 2020 | News Releases
7 December 2020 Scotland’s Catholic Bishops publish letter of hope. In a National Pastoral Letter to Scotland’s Catholic community, the Catholic Bishops of Scotland have highlighted “reasons for hope, as we live through these difficult times”. The document, suggests society has begun to rediscover universal human dignity, pointing out that when citizens were asked “to make difficult and prolonged sacrifices for the sake of the most vulnerable and they willingly responded.” The letter describes this genuine concern for the vulnerable as “obvious and beautiful”. The letter goes on to hope, that “the love and compassion we have shown amid so much suffering and death in recent months (might) now become a way of life and that love of neighbour might now “become the vital principle of our culture”. The document also addresses; Medical Care of the Sick and Vulnerable, the economy and vaccines. The bishops welcome the news of vaccine approvals and “hope this will allow an early immunisation programme to protect our population and offer the prospect of some return to normal life.” In response to ethical concerns raised about the vaccines, the bishops “reassure our Catholic population that, in accordance with longstanding guidance from the Pontifical Academy for Life, it is ethical to take any of the C19 vaccines purchased by the UK at the present time, either because foetal cell lines have not been used in their development or because their sourcing is sufficiently remote.” The Pastoral Letter observes, that “Just as the nations of the world have been required to collaborate to respond effectively to the virus, so too in our own society we must work together for a better future as we rebuild after the Pandemic.”  The document will be distributed to all of Scotland’s 500 parishes. ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors: The full text of the let...

SCMO | 05th December 2020 | News Releases
5 December 2020The Scottish Bishops have undertaken a detailed review of Seminary Provision in recent months. A significant consideration in the review has been the affordability of upgrading the existing Pontifical Scots College in Rome to the standards required.  The Bishops have accepted that the costs of this work are beyond the resources of the Conference. Considering the building’s distance from the centre of Rome, they have concluded that the sale of the building on the Via Cassia and relocation to a more central location is the best option for the formation needs of the community and for future provision.  Alternative suitable and affordable premises are being considered as a matter of priority.Subject to permission from the Holy See, it is expected that the existing building will be put on the market early in 2021. This will only be the fourth occasion in its history that the community of the Pontifical Scots College has relocated, since it was founded on 5 December 1600.ENDSPeter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org...

SCMO | 26th October 2020 | News Releases
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 re...

SCMO | 13th October 2020 | News Releases
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:   T...

SCMO | 05th October 2020 | News Releases
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 Me...

SCMO | 21st September 2020 | News Releases
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.  ...

SCMO | 04th August 2020 | News Releases
Statement on nuclear weapons from the Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales Tuesday 4 August 2020   During his historic visit to Japan last year, Pope Francis declared that “the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possession of atomic weapons is immoral”. Seventy-five years on from the unprecedented and horrific destruction of life at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we are called to reflect prayerfully upon the UK’s own possession of nuclear weapons.   Pope Francis reiterated that the threat of mutual destruction, the massive loss of innocent lives and the annihilation of any future for our common home, is completely incompatible with our efforts to build peace. “If we really want to build a more just and secure society, we must let the weapons fall from our hands”, said the Pope.   He also reminded us that it is unjust to continue squandering precious resources on manufacturing, maintaining and upgrading ever more destructive technology. The cost of nuclear weapons should be measured not only in the lives destroyed through their use, but also the suffering of the poorest and most vulnerable people, who could have benefited were such vast sums of public money invested in the Common Good of society instead. The Scottish and English and Welsh bishops' conferences have in the past called on the UK government to forsake its own nuclear weapons.    We therefore recommit ourselves to the abolition of these weapons and to the Holy Father’s call to pray each day “for the conversion of hearts and for the triumph of a culture of life, reconciliation and fraternity. A fraternity that can recognize and respect diversity in the quest for a common destiny.”    +William Nolan,  Bishop of Galloway and on behalf of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.   +Declan Lang,  Bishop of Clifton and Chairman of the international Affairs Department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference...

SCMO | 29th July 2020 | News Releases
New Hate Crime Bill – the freedom to disagree must be protected, say Scotland’s Bishops Wednesday 29 July 2020The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s new Hate Crime and Public Order Bill. In a submission to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee the Conference has stated that any new law must be ‘carefully weighed against fundamental freedoms, such as the right to free speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.’ The bill proposes to modernise, consolidate and extend hate crime legislation in Scotland, including introducing a new offence of stirring up hatred, possession of inflammatory material, and new protection of freedom of expression provisions in relation to religion and sexual orientation.  Commenting on the submission, the Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan said;“Whilst acknowledging that stirring up of hatred is morally wrong and supporting moves to discourage and condemn such behaviour the bishops have expressed concerns about the lack of clarity around definitions and a potentially low threshold for committing an offence, which they fear, could lead to a ‘deluge of vexatious claims’.”  “A new offence of possessing inflammatory material could even render material such as the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church...inflammatory.  The Catholic Church’s understanding of the human person, including the belief that sex and gender are not fluid and changeable, could fall foul of the new law. Allowing for respectful debate, means avoiding censorship and accepting the divergent views and multitude of arguments inhabiting society.”Mr Horan added; “The Church believes that fundamental freedoms must be protected, as the right to exercise freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is ‘an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person’ and ‘a right that must be recognised and protected by civil ...

SCMO | 24th July 2020 | News Releases
A New Lectionary for Scotland 24 July 2020 Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have approved the preparation of a new Lectionary (a book of readings used at Mass) to update and replace the three volume Lectionary in use in the dioceses of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland for almost 30 years. The current Lectionary was first published in 1981 using the Jerusalem Bible (1966) as its base text. Commenting on the publication, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said; “In reaching a decision about a translation for the Lectionary, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland itself considered the values they would most expect a Lectionary to embody, for example, accuracy, dignity, facility of proclamation, and accessibility. The Catholic Edition of the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, published in 2018, will be used as the base text for the new translation, it has been accepted by the Bishops of England and Wales as the basis for their own Lectionary and the Scottish Bishops voted at their July 2020 meeting to use it as well. It makes practical and pastoral good sense for the same translation to be used in Scotland, England and Wales.” Bishop Gilbert added; “The National Liturgy Commission has looked closely at the issue of a new Lectionary and hope that its publication will keep the biblical word alive and active for the holy People of God and shape thought and culture in our changing world.” ENDS Peter Kearney 
Director 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
pk@scmo.org 
www.scmo.org Note to Editors: 1. The work of editing and publishing the new Lectionary is expected to take several years. 2. A full statement on the new Lectionary from the National Liturgy Commission is shown below. The Lectionary and the Word of God The Church, throughout her history, sets before the faithful the riches of Sacred Scripture to be read and broken open in worship and for use in private devotions. ...

SCMO | 09th July 2020 | News Releases
Thursday 9 July 2020Catholic Bishops announce resumption of communal worshipScotland’s Catholic Bishops have welcomed the First Minister’s comments today (Thursday 9 July) on places of worship and have announced the resumption of communal worship in Catholic parishes from 15 July. Commenting on the move, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said;“Over the past month, our parishes have been preparing for the safe resumption of communal prayer and the celebration of Mass, which is at the centre of the life of the church. To have been unable to attend Mass for many months has been a source of real sadness for Scotland’s Catholics and I am sure there will be great joy at the prospect of returning.”“Thanks to the widespread implementation of the church’s Infection Control protocols, Catholic parishes will begin the resumption of public Masses and other communal activities from 15 July.”Bishop Gilbert added;“The bishops are extremely grateful to all those who have worked tirelessly to prepare our parishes for public worship and to those who made their views known to their parliamentary representatives and the government on the subject of communal worship.While thanking the Scottish Government for listening to these calls, we would remind parishioners that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended and ask those who return to do so in accordance with the infection control measures in force in each parish, mindful always of the need to protect themselves and others.”ENDS Peter Kearney 
Director 
Catholic Media Office 
0141 221 1168
07968 122291 
pk@scmo.org 
www.scmo.orgNote to Editors:The Infection Control Working Group’s Report can be viewed here:https://www.bcos.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/COVID-19%20Infection%20Control%20Advice%20230620.pdf...

SCMO | 26th June 2020 | News Releases
Bishops welcome Review Group’s Annual report Friday 26 June 2020   The Second Annual Report of the Independent Review Group (IRG) monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the McLellan Commission by the Catholic Church in Scotland has been welcomed by the Bishops’ Conference. The report, published on 26 June is available at: https://www.bcos.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/IRG%20Report%20June%202020.pdf   Commenting on the publication, Bishop Joseph Toal, President of the Commission for Pastoral and Social Care said;“On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, I thank the IRG for their work and welcome the publication of their second annual report, which will be given careful consideration.”   Bishop Toal added;   “Safeguarding remains at the heart of the church’s mission and the maintenance of high standards is only possible through independent scrutiny of an autonomous body like the IRG that works separately from the Catholic Church.”   ENDS Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org      ...

SCMO | 12th June 2020 | News Releases
Bishops appoint new Vice Rector for Scots College 12 June 2020   A new Vice Rector has been announced for the Pontifical Scots College in Rome. Fr Nick Welsh (36) was chosen for the post by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and is expected to begin the role in September.   He is currently parish priest at Our Lady and St Andrew, covering Galashiels, Melrose and Selkirk, and Vicar Episcopal for Education for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.   Commenting on the appointment, Archbishop Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh said: “The Bishops thank Fr Nick for accepting this role and acknowledge the big change in having to leave his parish to move to Rome. “I am confident he will do an excellent job in forming our seminarians. It’s both challenging and rewarding and, when he returns, our diocese will greatly benefit from his experience.”   Fr Nick attended the college as a seminarian between 2007-14 and has a licence in Theology.   Reacting to his appointment, Fr Nick said: “To go back to Rome is certainly an exciting thing for me. I love being a priest and it is life-giving to be around people who want to be priests. I look forward to contributing to the formation of the seminarians and helping them become good priests. But I will also leave the Borders with a heavy heart and wish to thank all parishioners there.”   College rector Fr Daniel Fitzpatrick said: “We look forward to welcoming Fr Nick who will have a key role in the day-to-day running of the seminary and accompanying students as part of their formation. He succeeds Fr Stuart Parkes who gave us three years of service and enjoyed contributing to the life of the college. We wish him all the best on his return to the diocese of Motherwell.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   An image of Fr. Nick Welsh is available to download here: htt...

SCMO | 09th June 2020 | News Releases
Catholic Bishops say Immigration Bill will “drastically alter opportunities” for migrants. Tuesday 9 June 2020   In a strongly worded joint statement sent to opposition party leaders at Westminster, Catholic Bishops from Scotland and England & Wales have encouraged the UK Government to consider amendments to the Immigration Bill currently before parliament.   The Bishops’ call for; a time limit on detention, together with “a significant permanent reduction in the use of detention will allow us to properly protect people’s health and human dignity”, they also propose, that the minimum income threshold for family visas should be reduced and for repeal of the offence of illegal working, since “fear of prosecution currently deters people from escaping abusive employment practices or presenting themselves to the police”.   The statement also calls for changes to the clergy visa system. Scotland’s lead Bishop for migrants and refugees, Bishop William Nolan, said; “Most Catholic dioceses previously used Tier 5 Religious Worker visas for priests to come here on essential supply placements, allowing Catholics to continue attending Mass, the new Tier 2 visas have more than doubled the costs incurred by parishes arranging supply cover.” “Furthermore, seminaries that conduct formation in English are not necessarily recognised by the Home Office as meeting the English language requirement under the Tier 2 route, meaning that many priests who have been educated to post-graduate level in English are nevertheless required to take a language test with extra logistical and cost implications.” Bishop Nolan concluded; “We strongly urge the Government to accept amendments addressing these important issues and hope that MPs from all parties will take this opportunity to help create a more just and humane immigration system.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org ...

SCMO | 06th June 2020 | News Releases
Scotland’s Bishops Publish Parish Reopening Guidance 6 June 2020   In a Pastoral Letter sent to Scotland’s 600 Catholic Priests, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland have issued a series of guidance documents, which will govern moves “towards the reopening of churches and the resumption of public worship”. In a Pastoral Letter which accompanies the guidance, the bishops explain that their aim “is to act in harmony with the guidance of the Government and the health authorities, with whom we are in conversation, and to return to our normal liturgical and devotional practice in a safe and phased way.”   The letter signed by all eight of Scotland’s Catholic bishops, stresses that “it is important that we act together as the Catholic Church in Scotland, in step with one another, and clear about what is legitimate and prudent at each stage of the process.”   The bishops conclude with encouragement to the Catholic community, “to remain united in faith, hope and love and to keep responding to our current circumstances with confidence and creativity, assured by the promise of the risen Christ, “I am with you always to the end of the world” (Mt 28:20).”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Notes to Editors: The full text of the letter is shown below.   Together with the letter, the church has also published seven guidance documents which can be downloaded here: https://www.bcos.org.uk/COVID19/tabid/127/Default.aspx       COVID-19 Infection Control for Churches Advice on COVID-19 and Infection control protocol for parishes Preparing for re-opening of churches Guidance on how clergy and parishioners can prepare for a phased re-opening of churches Embracing Hope - a route map for pastoral ministry a route map for pastoral ministry in parishes during the COVIOD-19 pandemic How ready is your church to...

SCMO | 03rd June 2020 | News Releases
Scotland’s Catholic Bishops finalise plans to reopen churches.   Wednesday 3 June, 2020   The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has finalised its proposed infection control standards which will govern the reopening of parishes and confirmed that they have sent their guidelines to the Scottish Government.   Commenting on the progress being made towards parish reopening, the President of the Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, said;   “A great deal of work has been done to provide guidance and support to clergy as they prepare for the phased reopening of our parishes. The guidelines have been prepared to reflect advice given in the Scottish Government’s Route Map on the gradual removal of restrictions. The Bishops’ Conference continue to engage with the Scottish Government and have today (Wednesday 3 June) sent a copy of the guidance document to them.”   Bishop Gilbert added;  “We would hope to be able to issue our infection control and liturgical guidelines within the coming week. They will highlight the fact that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains dispensed until further notice and everyone is asked to consider carefully whether or not they should return in the early phases. We are mindful of our duty of care to elderly clergy and lay people, which together with social distancing reductions in capacity will mean that the availability of Mass may reduce in some areas.”    Bishop Gilbert concluded: “We are asked, in the words of Pope Francis to show “wisdom, foresight, and common commitment, so that all the efforts and sacrifices made so far will not be in vain”. In the hope that this pandemic will “stimulate our creativity, our ingenuity, and our ability to respond”, in a way that helps us “on the path of praise of the Lord and service to our brothers and sisters”.”   ENDS Note to Editors:   The reopening of parishes, will take place in line with the easing of Government restrictions on...

SCMO | 14th May 2020 | News Releases
Church Infection Control Group starts work  Thursday 14 May 2020   The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Covid-19 Working Group, tasked with the creation of an Infection Control Protocol to govern the phased reopening of churches for public worship met for the first time yesterday (Wednesday 13 May). Chaired by Sir Harry Burns, Scotland’s former Chief Medical Officer and Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde, the group will focus on two parallel work streams: Infection Control and Liturgical Norms.   The drafting of infection control standards will be overseen by Sir Harry Burns and Professor Stephany Biello, Professor of Neuroscience and Biopsychology and Dean for Learning and Teaching in Science and Engineering at the University of Glasgow, who has joined the group.  The creation of new liturgical advice which will govern the celebration of Mass and other sacraments, will be led by Bishop Hugh Gilbert together with Canon Thomas Boyle, Canon Thomas Shields and Fr. Gerry MacGuiness.   Commenting on the meeting, Sir Harry said;   “I’m very pleased that the Working Group on Infection Control has started to work and delighted to welcome Professor Stephany Biello as a member. Her expertise will be invaluable to the group. We are keenly aware, that the goal of reopening churches will be reached only after careful planning and preparation, always taking account of best infection control practice and in step with Scottish Government guidance.”    “I extend my thanks to all those contributing to the work of the group and assure the Catholic community that Scotland’s bishops are determined to draw on best practice from around the world to allow our churches to be opened again in a phased and safe way.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 07968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   The full membership of the COVID-19 working group is shown below:   Sir Harry Bur...

SCMO | 13th May 2020 | News Releases
Catholic Bishops announce new Covid-19 Working Group Bishop speaks of “growth and hope after a time of despair” Wednesday 13 May 2020   The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland have announced the formation of a Covid-19 Working Group, which will begin examining how best to meet the long-term pastoral needs of the Catholic community during the pandemic.   A range of approaches, focusing on the liturgical, spiritual and welfare needs of the Catholic community during a time of long-term restrictions will be examined by a newly established Pastoral Ministry Working Group. This group will aim to ensure that the Church is prepared for the possibility of extended restrictions on the operation of parishes and dioceses by planning for forms of pastoral ministry which will be viable in the COVID-19 context. The group will be chaired by Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles. Speaking about the initiative, Bishop McGee said; “After our public Masses stopped and our Churches closed with almost no warning, the immediate response from our priests and parishioners across Scotland was both impressive and uplifting. With great ingenuity and creativity, online Masses and devotions were made available throughout the country every day. Through this and other action, many vulnerable and lonely people continue to be supported in safe ways.”   “While it will be wonderful when our parishes can reopen, we recognise that Parish life cannot quickly return to normal until a vaccine or a treatment is available. We do not expect this to happen until at least 2021. This means, that even when Churches reopen, parish activities will still be greatly restricted, our Pastoral Working Group hopes to identify and publicise advice or resources to help dioceses and parishes face fresh challenges in a safe manner.”   Bishop McGee added;   “Although not denying the difficulties which lie ahead, our Group had a very positive first meeting. Early figures indicate v...

SCMO | 07th May 2020 | News Releases
Catholic Bishops announce new Covid-19 Working Group Wednesday 5 May 2020   The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland have announced the formation of a Covid-19 Working Group, which will begin work on the creation of an Infection Control Protocol to govern the phased reopening of churches for public worship at an early and safe opportunity, in accordance with legislation and the current Scottish Government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene.   The precautions and requirements to allow Catholic churches to be used for public worship, will be studied carefully and proposed Infection Control Protocols presented to the Scottish Government.   The Working Group will be chaired by Sir Harry Burns, Scotland’s former Chief Medical Officer and Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde. Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland will also sit on the group. Speaking about the initiative, Bishop Gilbert said;   “Our lives remain greatly restricted by this crisis in a way that is painful and difficult for us as Christians. As bishops, we want to offer our thanks to our clergy, religious and laity for their patience and forbearance during these testing times.”   “Throughout these weeks of lockdown, there have been many signs of hope and faith and it is in the hope that we will recover, that we must plan for the future and find a safe pathway to the resumption of our sacramental life.”   “The bishops are keen to benefit from the advice of experts in medicine and public health and are very grateful to Sir Harry Burns for agreeing to chair our Working Group. In the interests of everyone’s safety we will proceed cautiously and carefully in step with public health guidance.”   Commenting on the group, Sir Harry said;   “The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires innovative and informed thinking. I am glad that the Catholic Bishops are acting proactively to develop Infe...

SCMO | 06th April 2020 | News Releases
6th April 2020 (Monday in Holy Week)   Scottish Church Leaders Forum on the Joint Statement by Leaders of Churches across Britain and IrelandOn behalf of the Churches in Scotland, we welcome the Statement by the Leaders of Churches from across the nations of Britain and Ireland.Within Scotland, as elsewhere, we are faced with a series of unprecedented challenges that are impacting upon every aspect of the fabric of our society.In the threat to life and livelihood being experienced by so many at this time, we are conscious of the need to remain open to the life of God and to the life of the world.In the course of this Holy Week, we know that we shall hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ The experience of being abandoned and forsaken is not absent from the life of God lived out in this world.Equally, we are conscious that our faith affirms that this experience does not mark the boundary of the love of God.As we journey through this week, through Good Friday and on to the day of Resurrection, we pray:Lord of Creation,Be with us on this journey towards the healing of your world and people.hold us when we feel alone,carry us when we lose our strengthand heal us when we are afraid.Let people of faith speak today with a voice of love,The love shown to us through the power of the Spiritand in the love and sacrifice of our Saviour Jesus Christ.Amen.Signed by:Rt. Rev. Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of ScotlandMost Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic ChurchMost Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal ChurchLt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation ArmyAdwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of ScotlandRev. Dr David Pickering, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of ScotlandRev. Mark Sl...

SCMO | 18th March 2020 | News Releases
Wednesday 18th March   In an unprecedented move, Scotland’s Catholic bishops have announced that with effect from Thursday 19th March, no public Masses will be celebrated in Scotland. In a statement released today (Wednesday 18 March) the bishops announced, that priests would continue to celebrate Holy Mass in private, praying for those suffering from Covid-19 and those who care for them. Churches will remain open for personal prayer and parish priests are asked to welcome individuals who seek consolation and encouragement from the Lord and to be available for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion as and when they are needed especially for the sick and housebound. For the celebration of baptisms, funeral Masses and weddings the bishops ask that only close family are invited.    The bishops’ statement encourages Catholics where possible to access the live streaming of Holy Mass from local parishes which have that facility. The bishops advise that Holy Week liturgies may be curtailed but ask Catholics to remain together in spirit and in prayer and to join with all Scotland’s Churches in a National Day of Prayer this Sunday 22nd March, Mothering Sunday, to pray for our country and our world in this time of need.   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:   The full text of the Pastoral Letter is shown below:   National Pastoral Letter and Statement from the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland   18th March 2020   Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,   In this time of trial, we, the Bishops of Scotland, wish to send you a word of reassurance and encouragement. We are all facing much uncertainty, anxiety and an unpredictable future. This situation touches on every aspect of our lives, individually and collectively. Sacred Scripture calls us repeatedly not to fear...

SCMO | 17th March 2020 | News Releases
17 March 2020   In a strongly worded response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on its Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, Scotland’s eight Catholic Bishops have unanimously opposed the proposed legislation. Following a meeting of the Bishops’ Conference, they released the following statement:   “Together with a growing number of voices in society, the Church believes that sex or gender cannot be reduced to a mere construct of society that is fluid and changeable. Denying the biological reality of sexual difference and redefining something as fundamental as male and female is not within the purview of government or parliamentarians. Like marriage, it is part of the natural law: an unchanging principle of human existence.”   “Sex is constituted by biological organisation and reproductive functioning, and is recognised at birth, not assigned, government should not proceed with radical legal reforms or expose children to radical treatments. Caution and sensitivity is required.”   The bishops also point out that;    “Gender dysphoria is a condition that can cause significant distress and anxiety. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, of the American Psychiatric Association continues to recognise gender dysphoria as a genuine, troubling medical condition. By de-medicalising legal transition and moving to a self-declaratory model, as proposed in the consultation, society may fail to provide the necessary support for those affected by gender dysphoria in the form of contact with health professionals. De-medicalisation removes a vital protection and safeguard for vulnerable individuals, exacerbated by the proposal to reduce the time a person is required to live in their acquired gender from two years to just three months. By supporting these changes, the Scottish Government risks failing vulnerable people. “   The church’s consultation response points out that since the Scottish Prison Service issued...

SCMO | 30th January 2020 | News Releases
Thursday 30th January 2020   An independent audit of safeguarding processes in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh and the Diocese of Galloway published today (Thursday 30 January 2020) has been welcomed by both dioceses.   The audit was commissioned by the Independent Review Group (IRG) established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland in 2017. Its role is to help ensure the implementation of recommendations made in a comprehensive report into safeguarding in the Catholic Church in Scotland by the McLellan Commission in 2015. The IRG is an autonomous body that works separately from the Catholic Church and is chaired by Baroness Helen Liddell.   Two of Scotland’s eight dioceses are chosen randomly and audited each year, so that all of them are audited over a four-year period. The audits are designed to support the ongoing commitment to safeguarding improvements within the Catholic church.   Commenting on the publication, Bishop Joseph Toal, President of the Commission for Pastoral and Social Care said;   “On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, I welcome the publication of the IRG report and thank the IRG for their work. I know the audits have been both thorough and rigorous and that they will be studied carefully by both dioceses.”   “Safeguarding is at the heart of the church’s mission and the maintenance of high standards is only possible through independent scrutiny and a commitment to implement any recommendations proposed.”   A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh said:   “We very much welcome the work of the Independent Review Group for Safeguarding and the external review that SCIE has completed for our Archdiocese. We found the process helpful and constructive.”   “We are reassured and encouraged that the safeguarding improvements we have implemented over the last six years have been recognised and validated and we look forward to developing these proces...

SCMO | 30th January 2020 | News Releases
In January 2019, the Independent Review Group established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to ensure the full implementation of the McLellan Commission on the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in the Church announced that professional audits of two randomly chosen dioceses would be carried out by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Children in Scotland (CiS). This process would be repeated each year until all 8 Dioceses had undergone rigorous investigation.  The purpose of these audits is to monitor progress on the McLellan Commission recommendations as well as seeking to ensure a robust system of safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults in the Church that can be measured against the best international standards.   No exercise such as this has been carried out by any other organisation in Scotland although 42 have been carried out in the Church of England and SCIE also audited the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham.  A proven methodology, the “Learning Together” approach, has been used in this process. The different legal, social care and safeguarding systems between Scotland and England slowed the process, but now that the methodology has been adapted, two further dioceses will be audited in 2020, these will be the Diocese of Motherwell and the Diocese of Aberdeen.   The final audit conclusions for each diocese, unamended, are attached to this release.  There is also an appendix detailing the skills and background of the members of the Independent Review Group.   Helen Liddell, Chair of the IRG said:   “It takes courage to expose yourself to the kind of rigorous audit published today, and to be the first is even more difficult, so I am grateful for the cooperation of the Dioceses and the support of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland (BCOS).   This is a learning exercise, and, although we can never take away the pain of those who have suffered abuse, hopefully survivors of abuse will be reass...

SCMO | 14th January 2020 | News Releases
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 Maguine...

SCMO | 17th December 2019 | News Releases
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 Ch...

SCMO | 17th December 2019 | News Releases
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 worse...

SCMO | 27th November 2019 | News Releases
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 debat...

SCMO | 25th November 2019 | News Releases
Scottish Parliament to debate the “Positive Contribution of Catholic Schools”Monday 25 November 2019 The Scottish Parliament will tomorrow Tuesday 26th November 2019 debate Motion S5M-19246, on the Positive Contribution of Catholic Schools to Scotland. The motion proposed by Elaine Smith, Central Scotland, Scottish Labour, states that“the Parliament recognises the positive contribution that Catholic schools have made to Scotland’s education system, in particular since the historic Education (Scotland) Act 1918 came into force, when the schools became part of the state education system in return for, among other things, the right to retain their Catholic ethos; acknowledges what it sees as the contribution and the positive impact that it believes that this has had on society; considers that denominational schools continue to play a vital role in Scottish education” The motion which has already received cross party support, also states;“that sectarianism predates the existence of Catholic schools and that they are not a cause of it and instead they contribute to an open, tolerant, diverse and inclusive education system in Central Scotland and across the country; considers that anti-Catholicism has no place in Scotland, and acknowledges the calls that it must be challenged in all its forms.”Commenting ahead of the debate, Elaine Smith said:“Given the evident increase in intolerance towards the Catholic Community in Scotland, it is important that the Scottish Parliament leads the way in fully supporting and recognising the beneficial contribution of Catholic Education, and ensures that faith schools will be a valued part of our education system for the foreseeable future.”Responding to the motion, Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, Barbara Coupar said:"Between the feasts of St Margaret, Queen of Scotland, and St Andrew, Catholic schools are celebrating how they promote Gospel values in their local communities and across Scottish soci...

SCMO | 19th November 2019 | News Releases
Tuesday 19 November 2019   In a pastoral letter which will be read at all 500 Catholic churches in Scotland this weekend (23/24 November) Scotland's Catholic Bishops, will urge parishioners to participate in the 2019 General Election and to “elect an individual representative who reflects as closely as possible our beliefs”. Scotland’s Catholic Bishops warn that “a creeping intolerance towards religious belief” has become “a part of life”.   The letter goes on to reflect on a range of issues and urges catholic voters to raise them with their candidates. Among the subjects highlighted are:   Human Life - Voters are reminded that abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are, as the Church has consistently taught, always morally unacceptable. The letter describes the funding of abortion programmes in developing countries as “ideological colonisation.”   Marriage and the Family – candidates are urged to support policies that create economic and fiscal support for married couples and families with children.   Poverty - Reliance on food banks, particularly for families, is described as “a telling criticism of a society that has forgotten its poor people in its midst.”   Freedom of Religion and Conscience – Potential MPs are urged to legislate for a liberal and tolerant society that is truly welcoming to all faiths and none, the next UK Government should campaign against religious persecution and intolerance around the world.   Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Trade - The use of weapons of mass destruction is viewed as “a serious offence against God and against humanity.” Excessive accumulation of weaponry is described as “a considerable threat to stability and freedom as well as a misuse of public funds that could serve to address the needs of the disadvantaged.” The next UK Government is asked to work actively and seriously towards elimination of the UK’s nuclear arsenal.   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Ca...

SCMO | 25th October 2019 | News Releases
25 October 2019   Bishop William Nolan of Galloway, President of the Catholic Church’s Justice and Peace Commission, has called on the UK Government to make “safe and legal routes” available for refugees attempting to come to the UK. Bishop Nolan expressed his concerns ahead of the three-year anniversary of the refugee camp known as ‘the jungle’ in Calais being demolished, he said:   “Three years ago, the French and UK governments demolished the refugee camp known as ‘the jungle’. Many thousands of people were dispersed across France, and the infrastructure of support and solidarity provided by so many volunteers was destroyed. Three years on, the situation in Calais, Dunkirk and other areas is more desperate than ever. The policies of attrition - wearing down refugees through harsh treatment, including eviction from places of shelter; confiscation of possessions; assault and use of pepper spray - are forcing already vulnerable people to increasingly desperate measures, pushing them into the arms of people smugglers and human traffickers.”   Bishop Nolan added;   When I visited Calais in 2017, just over one year after the jungle had been demolished, I witnessed the situation of many young refugees sleeping rough. The statement we issued at the time called on the authorities ‘to recognise that these are our fellow human beings, regardless of their [immigration] status, and that their intrinsic dignity must be upheld.’ Now, three years since the jungle was destroyed, and with no progress being made, I once again join the calls made on our government that safe and legal routes must be established, and that an infrastructure which allows for dignified living for those in Calais must be a priority”.   Bishop Nolan’s remarks come after Amnesty International has reported on the “unprecedented restrictions, including threats and violence, denunciation in public discourse, and criminalization” being faced by volunteers and staff i...

SCMO | 20th September 2019 | News Releases
20 September 2019   The Bishop of Galloway, Bishop William Nolan wants them to urge local councillors to support Ayrshire’s Catholic community and vote against any such moves to ensure its schools catholic ethos is maintained.   He warned that if the proposal to remove voting rights from church reps, advanced by the National Secular Society and the Humanist Society Scotland was passed, it would “would weaken the Church’s voice and would do nothing to enhance Catholic education”.   In a message to be distributed at Sunday Mass in churches across Ayrshire this weekend  (21 & 22 September 2019) Bishop Nolan says: “given that the Diocese of Galloway and East Ayrshire Council have always had a harmonious relationship regarding education, it is not clear why the Council should consider this proposal worthy of consideration."   The bishop goes on to ask parishioners to contact their local councillor as a matter of urgency to ask them to vote against any such motion.   ENDS   Peter KearneyDirectorCatholic Media Office5 St. Vincent PlaceGlasgowG1 2DH0141 221 116807968 122291pk@scmo.orgwww.scmo.org   Note to Editors:   The full text of Bishop Nolan’s message to Ayrshire Catholics is shown below:   “Once again in Scotland the very existence of Catholic schools is being called into question. Two newspapers, the Scotsman and the Times, both had front page articles last week written by those calling for the abolition of Catholic schools.   Sadly, in this hostile environment, East Ayrshire Council has decided to discuss whether to remove the voting rights of the Church representative on the Cabinet which determines education matters. The Council is doing this in response to letters received from the National Secular Society and the Humanist Society Scotland. Since both these societies wish to see an end to Church influence in education it is understandable that they should propose this. However, given that the Diocese of Galloway an...

SCMO | 16th September 2019 | News Releases
16 September 2019   The relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux which have been in Scotland since Thursday 29th of August, as part of a three-week tour of Scotland’s eight Catholic dioceses, arrived at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow today, Monday 16th September.   The relics arrived at HMP Barlinnie, one of Scotland’s largest prisons at 2.00pm on 16th September where Archbishop Philip Tartaglia celebrated a Mass for staff and inmates.   In his homily, the Archbishop urged inmates to follow the example of St. Therese and to “do little things, little acts of goodness here and there throughout the day that in the end make a big difference.” He suggested prisoners could “offer a kindly word to a fellow inmate who is struggling with prison life. You could cooperate more readily with prison staff. You could perform your duties more perfectly for the sake of all.”   Archbishop Tartaglia recognised that “Prison life is not easy” but suggested to prisoners, that they could “offer up to God your hardships and sufferings for the sake of your fellow prisoners. You could say a kind word rather than a harsh one. You could make more of the opportunities that you are given to prepare for life on the outside.”   Marie-Francoise-Therese Martin (St. Therese of Lisieux) who is patroness of the Missions, the sick and prisoners entered the convent aged just fifteen and was canonised a saint in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Many miracles of healing have been reported throughout the world, including Scotland, through her intercession.   Archbishop Tartaglia explained to staff and inmates why the relics were visiting a prison;   “Famously, as a girl of 14, St Therese prayed for the conversion of a convicted murderer, who, although he never admitted his guilt, at the last, kissed the figure of the crucified Jesus just before his execution. Later, when she wrote about this, St Therese took this to be a sign that her prayer had been answered and that the man had ask...

SCMO | 28th August 2019 | News Releases
28 August 2019   The relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux arrive in Scotland for the first time on Thursday 29thof August, where they will begin a three-week tour of Scotland’s eight Catholic dioceses.   Marie-Francoise-Therese Martin entered the convent aged just fifteen and was canonised a saint in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Many miracles of healing have been reported throughout the world, including Scotland, through her intercession.   She is a Doctor of the Church, Patroness of the Missions and of the sick. Her relics will be brought to Barlinnie Prison for a special Mass on Monday 16thof September.   Fr Jim Grant, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland who has coordinated the visit said:   “People today are fascinated by the idea of pilgrimage, of travelling to a holy place or site associated with a holy person. This once in a lifetime visit of the relics of Saint Therese to Scotland is a pilgrimage in reverse, where a holy person comes to us. We can expect many graces from this visit including healing, conversion and discovery of true vocation to God.”   The relics are in the Diocese of Motherwell from 29thof August until 1stof September.   Bishop Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell, said:   “I hope the Pilgrimage of the Relics of St Therese will encourage us, through the inspiration and intercession of St Therese, to have confidence in God’s merciful love for each of us, and to share that love daily with all with whom we share our lives. In bringing St Therese’s relics to Scotland we will pray that we will be inspired by her to recognise and live to the full our vocation in the mission of the Church in our country as joyful witnesses of Jesus Our Lord.”   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   You are invited to send ...

SCMO | 13th August 2019 | News Releases
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...

SCMO | 26th July 2019 | News Releases