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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
Friday 26 July 2019 - Call Notice   The Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland (FODMS) are taking the Mercy Bus back out on the road for the third year this summer thanks to an overwhelming response in the past two years.   To date they have touched over 2,000 people on the streets of Scotland, over 400 people have boarded the Mercy Bus and over 2,000 Miraculous Medals and Divine Mercy Chaplets and many rosaries were given to the people the team met on the streets of Scotland.   This year, the bus will visit Johnstone, Coatbridge, Greenock, Cumbernauld, Glasgow and Paisley. Mass will be celebrated by Bishop John Keenan, of Paisley on board the bus at on Saturday 3 August 2018 at 2 p.m. in Paisley town centre.   Organiser Helen Border said:   “Pope Francis has urged the church to ‘leave her four walls behind and to go out in search of those who are distant, those essentially on the outskirts of life.’ We are taking up Pope Francis’s invitation in taking the Church to the people. Everyone is welcome to come along and visit our ‘Church on wheels!”    “Taking the church to the people shows them that the Lord loves, cares and wants them to return to him. People think that they cannot be forgiven for what they have done. No sin is too great for the Lord to forgive as long as there is repentance from the sinner. Stepping on board the bus could be the first step in changing their lives for the better and leaving the guilt on the bus. There will be priests hearing confessions on the top deck of the ‘Mercy Bus’ and the FODMS team will be welcoming visitors with tea, coffee and home baking.”   Commenting on the initiative, Bishop John Keenan said:    “Up and down the UK the Mercy Bus has been a great initiative of the New Evangelisation Pope John Paul II hoped for.  Its presence in the heart of town centres is welcomed by shoppers and workers of all faiths and none, as a joyful and hopeful presence of God in their midst. They see th...

SCMO | 18th July 2019 | News Releases
18 July 2019     The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert has written to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to express his concerns at the attacks launched against the SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron, following her vote against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland.     In his letter on behalf of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Bishop Gilbert calls on the SNP leader, on behalf of all those “who cherish freedom of conscience within the public square” to provide an urgent reassurance that freedom of conscience will be protected within the SNP and valued in Scottish public life, at every level.     The full text of the letter is shown below.     ENDS     Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH Tel:    0141 221 1168 Mob:  07968 122291 ISDN: 0141 204 4956 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Letter to the First Minister     Dear First Minister,     I write following recent public comments made by Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP Member of Parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow.     On Tuesday 9 July, Dr Cameron voted against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland. It is a long-standing parliamentary convention that votes on such ethical issues are considered matters of conscience and, thus, are not subject to the party whip. Indeed, this was confirmed in writing to Dr Cameron prior to the 9 July vote by the SNP Chief Whip, Patrick Grady MP.     In the days following the vote, however, Dr Cameron has been subject to a significant degree of hostility from many quarters, including ordinary members and officer bearers of the Scottish National Party, some of which she describes as being “...

SCMO | 02nd July 2019 | News Releases
Tuesday 2 July 2019   The Catholic Church in Scotland will welcome five more candidates into the priesthood in July.   Deacons Mark O’Donnell, Kevin Lawrie and Kieran Hamilton will be ordained for the Diocese of Motherwell; Deacon William McQuillan will be ordained for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh; and Deacon Ronald Campbell will be ordained for the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles.   Six of Scotland’s eight dioceses will receive men into the priesthood in 2019, bringing the total number of ordinations this year to ten.   Commenting on the news, Bishop John Keenan, President of Priests for Scotland said:   “I am delighted that the Catholic Church in Scotland is welcoming five men into the priesthood in July.”   “In recent years, there has been a steady and sustained interest from men of various ages and backgrounds, who have answered God’s call and approached our vocations directors to apply for seminary.”   “I am particularly grateful to the lay faithful for their prayers and support in encouraging our young men and women to enter religious life. We hope that the joy of several ordinations throughout 2019 will bring our people closer to the Church, to Christ and the teachings of the Faith.”   Bishop Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell said:   “It is a great blessing for the Diocese of Motherwell to have 5 men being ordained priests this summer. We thank God for the gift of their Vocations and look forward to their ministry among us. We are grateful also to all who accompanied them on their journey to priestly ordination - in their families, parishes and seminaries.”   Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles said:   “I am very much looking forward to ordaining Deacon Ronald Campbell to the priesthood in his home parish of St Mary’s, Benbecula this July. It will be a great occasion for Ronald, his family, his island and all the diocese.”   Other dioceses to receive men into the pr...

SCMO | 03rd June 2019 | News Releases
3rd June 2019   Homily delivered by Bishop Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell, during the Funeral Mass for Bishop Emeritus Joseph Devine, at Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral, Motherwell on Monday 3rd June 2019   A few moments ago, we listened to a beautiful passage from the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, and the image of the new eternal Jerusalem from St John’s Vision, gave us a picture of the Church in heaven which then reflects onto its structure here on earth. The temple is the Lord with the Lamb by his side - through the Lamb worship and glory is offered to God and all the sacrificial offerings due to God and expressed in the one eternal offering of the Lamb. The new Jerusalem has 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel above them and the 12 foundation stones with the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb inscribed upon them. We sense in St John’s vision the central place of the Old and the New Testaments, the Old and the New Covenants. In the dispensation of the New Covenant the community of faith stems from the Apostles of the Lamb and the testimony they lived and died for. Just as their place of honour is acknowledged eternally in the heavenly city so their position as the first witnesses to the faith and upholders of the full tradition of that faith falls to their successors here on earth - the bishops of the Church. It is a very high calling we have received as bishops and one in which we depend on the grace of the Holy Spirit and the gifts given to us to lead the Church in our own Dioceses. It is proper therefore today at his Funeral Mass to give thanks to God for Bishop Devine’s ministry as the Bishop of Motherwell and all it entailed through his 30 years of ministry in this Diocese, and his earlier years as Auxiliary in Glasgow Archdiocese. A lot of responsibility is placed upon a Bishop’s shoulders, as he strives to be moulded in the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and it is proper to be grateful for all the good done while a...

SCMO | 01st June 2019 | News Releases
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ   From a like to an Amen– From social network communities to the human community   In his message for World Communications Day this year, Pope Francis returns to the theme of the internet and the world of social communications, reminding us that no matter what technology might offer us the human person does not want to be left isolated and alone. I urge you to read his text in full, which is available on the website of the Catholic Media Office at www.scmo.org.   In his letter, Pope Francis draws our attention to an ambivalence in social media that we have begun to experience ourselves. We appreciate greatly that online sources represent an extraordinary possibility of very speedy access to knowledge and information. Just think, for instance, of how we use the internet to travel.  At the same time, we have also awakened to the fact that through social media we may beexposed to disinformation and to the conscious and targeted distortion of facts. Hence, the widely used term ‘fake news’. Sadly, it seems, the shared data that helps us to connect can all too easily be manipulated in order to gain political or economic advantages.   As Pope Francis points out, this is a complex scenario. The Holy Father advises that the positive potential of social media is based upon two of its original reference points: the net and the community.The internet was invented to connect human beings together in a supportive network and in a closercommunity. A community that is life-giving and healthy will be animated by feelings of trust. It will pursue objectives that benefit everyone. The responsible use of language and means of communication will be pivotal to the good of the community linked by internet and social media.   As we now know, however, online identities and communications are all too often based on opposition to the other, on de-legitimising the other, and on severely limiting their freedom of speech. We have...

SCMO | 31st May 2019 | News Releases
Friday 31 May 2019     Call Notice – You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/camera crew     The Mortal Remains of Bishop Emeritus Joseph Devine will be received into the Diocesan Offices in Coursington Road on Sunday 2nd June at 9.00 am, where they will remain until 5.00 pm, to allow the faithful to pay their respects.     His remains will be received into the Cathedral of Our Lady of Good Aid for the Service of Vigil and Reception that same day at 5.00 pm.     The Requiem Mass will take place in the Cathedral on Monday 3rd June at 12 noon, when the Principal Celebrant will be Bishop Joseph Toal, who succeeded Bishop Devine as Bishop of Motherwell.     All of Scotland’s 8 Diocesan bishops are expected to attend together with Bishops from England and Ireland. The Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s Presbytery, Rev Kevin McKenzie, will attend together with Canon Andrew Sheriden of the Scottish Episcopal Church.     Among the guests will be: Council leaders from North and South Lanarkshire, Members of both the Scottish and Westminster Parliaments and the Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire.     ENDS     Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 1168 07968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Notes to Editors   A picture of Bishop Devine is available to download here https://flic.kr/s/aHsmDUVnif.     Biography   Born in Glasgow 7th August 1937;   Educated at St. Ninian’s Primary School, Kirkintilloch, St. Mary’s College, Blairs, St Peter’s College, Cardross.   Ordained priest in Glasgow, 29th June 1960.   Studied in Scots College, Rome (Ph.D., 1964, Gregorian University, Rome)   Served as:   Private Secretary, Archbishop of Glasgow, 1964-65   Assistant priest, St. Robert Bellarmine, Glasgow, 1965-67   St. Joseph’s, Helensburgh, 1967-72   On staff of St. Peter’s College, Cardross, 1967-74   Assistant chaplain, ...

SCMO | 24th May 2019 | News Releases
Death of Bishop Joseph Devine 24 May 2019   Tributes have been paid to Bishop Joseph Devine, former Bishop of Motherwell, who died on Thursday 23 May at Wishaw General Hospital, aged 81.   Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said:   “On behalf of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland I would like to offer Bishop Devine’s family our deepest and most prayerful sympathies. During his active years as a bishop, he made a lasting and significant contribution to work of the Bishops’ Conference. I will pray for the repose of his soul and celebrate Mass for him today (Friday 24 May).”“We ask God to grant him eternal rest after his distinguished ministry as a priest and bishop in Scotland – and give thanks for all that he did for the Church in our country over the past 59 years of his priesthood. May God rest his soul.”   Bishop Joseph Toal, Bishop Devine’s successor as Bishop of Motherwell said:   “All in the Diocese of Motherwell feel the sadness of the death of our Bishop Emeritus, Rt Rev Joseph Devine, yesterday evening. He served as Bishop of Motherwell for 30 years, and for 6 years before that as Auxiliary Bishop of Glasgow Archdiocese, so we acknowledge and give thanks to God for his faithful and very full ministry as a bishop and priest.”   “I heard of the news of his death in Wishaw General Hospital as I was about to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation, something  which Bishop Devine celebrated hundreds of times, and it is for this that many in the Diocese remember him best. Through his years as Bishop, Bishop Devine served the Catholic Church in Scotland through his full participation and valued contribution to the work of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, particularly in regard to Catholic Education.”   “Although he was very ill through the last days of his life he was still very alert and very much himself. I suspect he would have liked to have lived another couple of days...

SCMO | 24th March 2019 | News Releases
Sunday 24 March 2019   The Catholic Church has questioned the use of specific aggravations in the prosecution of hate crimes in Scotland. In a submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on hate crimes, the church has raised concerns about the growing use of specific aggravations in law, which risk creating a growing “hierarchy of protected characteristics”.   In an endorsement of the right to freedom of expression, the church submission warns that in a climate of heightened sensitivity, the definition of ‘hate’ has become contentious and open to misuse. The submission states: “care must be taken to allow room for debate and a robust exchange of views, ensuring that ‘hate’ doesn’t include the kind of ordinary discourse where people reasonably hold divergent views. The fundamental right to freedom of expression, and the right of an individual to hold and express opinions, even if they are considered by some to be controversial or unwelcome must be upheld.”   While questioning the use of statutory aggravations in principal, the church accepts that; “in the absence of a better and fairer system of recording base offences (including evidence of any specific prejudicial behaviour involved e.g. anti-Catholicism), we appreciate the practical benefits of the use of statutory aggravations to record specific types of offending behaviour and to monitor trends.”   Catholic Parliamentary Office Director, Anthony Horan said;   “We do not believe there is a need for sectarianism to be specifically addressed and defined in hate crime legislation. Existing legislation, including existing statutory aggravations, are adequate. We would oppose any move to shift existing protections to an unnecessary sectarianism aggravation and agree with Lord Bracadale that the absence of such an aggravation would not leave a gap in the law as both race and religion statutory aggravations can be attached to any base offence if proven.”   Mr Horan ...

SCMO | 15th January 2019 | News Releases
Tuesday 15 January 2019   A Scottish Bishop has called on Scots to visit the Holy Land in order to help beleaguered Christian communities there who are dependent on pilgrims and tourism. Bishop William Nolan, the Bishop of Galloway is currently visiting the Holy Land as part of an international delegation in support of Christians in Israel and Palestine.   The “Holy Land Coordination” delegation is made up of Bishops from across Europe, North America and South Africa, who have made an annual pastoral visit to Israel and Palestine for the past 20 years.    Speaking from City of Haifa, Bishop Nolan said:   “In many parts of the Holy Land the indigenous Christian populations are declining or at risk. Many of them depend on pilgrims and tourism.” “I pray that Christians at home will consider visiting the land of Christ’s birth and in so doing give their support to Christian communities here.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org   Notes to Editors:   For images of Bishop Nolan in the Holy Land: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/albums/72157704279758571     The Holy Land Coordination group’s annual meeting is taking place from 12th-17th January. The meeting will be held in the City of Haifa, including visits to Christian hospitals, schools and villages. The bishops will also take part in Inter-faith encounters.    The bishops visit Catholic communities and share in their Sunday liturgy, meeting with them. In difficult times, the visiting bishops have often heard pleas for more pilgrims to come from their home countries, and there has been a concerted and successful effort on the part of bishops’ conferences to encourage pilgrimages, assisting many whose livelihoods depend on pilgrims.   The bishops also speak at a high-level to their own governments,...

SCMO | 21st December 2018 | News Releases
20 December 2018   On the 30th anniversary of the Lockerbie Air Disaster, Holy Trinity RC Church, Lockerbie will be open tomorrow (Friday 21 December) from 10am to allow visitors to call in for quiet reflection, to light a memorial candle or to have a chat and a cup of tea. The day will end with the celebration of Holy Mass at 7pm led by Bishop William Nolan with Canon Pat Keegans the former Parish Priest as guest preacher together with Fr Jim Hayes the current Parish Priest.   Bishop of Galloway, Bishop William Nolan said;   “Although 30 years have passed since the tragic events of 21 December 1988, the memories of the community of Lockerbie have not faded or diminished. The church today as then offers solace and support to all those affected and will continue to be present in the community of Lockerbie, praying for and supporting the town and its people as well as the American victims and their families.”   Canon Keegans who was parish priest in Lockerbie in 1988, will speak movingly of the aftermath of the disaster in his homily and say of the 270 who died;   “You are not just a distant memory.  You are not from the past.  You are precious people who live on in our hearts, for that is where your names are truly engraved.”   He will add;   “Some say that you have received justice.  I am not at all convinced.  What I can promise is that we will not close the book on the story of your lives, for the last chapter is still to be written:  Pan Am 103.  The truth must be known.  The whole truth.”   Canon Keegans will conclude his sermon by saying;   “30 years ago in the darkness we kept the lights on; the light of our love.  As Christmas approaches again this year we will hear the beautiful words concerning Christ.  “A light shines in the darkness, a light that darkness could not overpower.”  (John 1:5) Our loved ones who died now experience the fullness of life and light with God.”   ENDS   Peter Kearney...

SCMO | 10th December 2018 | News Releases
10 December 2018     The Bishops of Scotland have appointed Fr Jim Grant to be the new General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference. Fr Grant is currently Parish Priest of Holy Family Parish in Mossend, Bellshill in the Diocese of Motherwell. He succeeds Mgr Hugh Bradley who was appointed in 2012.     Commenting on the appointment, Bishop Joe Toal, Bishop of Motherwell said:     “I am happy that Fr Grant has accepted the Bishops’ request to succeed Mgr Hugh Bradley as General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. I am sure he will carry out his duties as General Secretary very well and will bring his long experience as a Parish Priest to assist wisely the Bishops and all who work for the Conference in the time ahead. Of course, we will miss his ministry in Motherwell Diocese but we are happy to contribute generously to the National Church in allowing Fr Grant to serve as General Secretary.  He will still be resident in the Diocese and will continue to have an active role where possible. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide him as he accepts this new challenge.”     Reacting to his appointment, Fr Grant said:     “It came as quite a shock to me to be asked to undertake this role. I never sought nor expected to be anything but a parish priest. It is the everyday pastoral work in a parish setting which energises me and where I have found great fulfilment and it is with a very heavy heart that I will leave parish ministry albeit for even a short time. I shall miss enormously being part of a parish community. This new role will be something completely different, however, I do see a pastoral element in the role of General Secretary to the Bishops’ Conference which is to support, encourage and affirm all the different agencies and individuals who do such great work for the Bishops’ Conference and indeed for Catholic Church in Scotland. In a sense, these people will become my new ‘parishioners’.”     Fr Grant ...

SCMO | 03rd December 2018 | News Releases
Monday 3 December 2018     The Independent Review Group (IRG) established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland held a meeting today, (3 December 2018), with stakeholders from throughout the Catholic Church to announce and prepare for a professional audit of safeguarding in two Dioceses in Scotland to be conducted by Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Children in Scotland (CIS).     The Dioceses randomly chosen from the 8 in Scotland are the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and the Diocese of Galloway. The outcome of this detailed work is intended to ensure full implementation of the McLellan Commission’s recommendations and put in place a robust system of safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults that can be measured against the best international standards.     Helen Liddell, Chair of the IRG commented: -     "We cannot eliminate the pain of those who experienced abuse in the past, but we can put in place not just procedures but a culture that both supports them and protects all those who most need our care and compassion in future".     “I chair a group of outstanding and experienced professionals who are committed to making sure children and vulnerable adults come to no harm when in the care of the Church. They have reviewed in considerable detail the self-administered audits of all the Scottish Dioceses and that knowledge, together with the professional audits announced today, will form the basis for putting in place procedures that meet the requirements of the McLellan Commission recommendations and that can stand up to the most rigorous analysis.”     “I am grateful that the Bishops Conference of Scotland have recognised the independence of the Review Group and have agreed to these procedures. The results of the audits will be made public at the same time as they are released to BCOS”.     ENDS     Note to Editors:     For further information, contact Richar...

SCMO | 27th November 2018 | News Releases
Tuesday 27 November 2018     This evening (Tuesday 27 November, 6pm) the Catholic Bishops of Scotland will join members of Parliament at a special exhibition in Holyrood to mark the significant contribution of the Church to Scottish society and beyond.     The event highlights the extensive work carried out by agencies and commissions of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and its associated organisations.     Speaking ahead of the event, Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government who will welcome the exhibition said:     “I am delighted to be able to help celebrate the enormous contribution the Catholic Church makes to life in Scotland, and further afield. The Church has a hugely positive impact on the lives of so many people, including supporting many of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, and we greatly value our relationships with the Catholic community. I am looking forward to meeting and working with the new President of the Bishop’s Conference, Bishop Gilbert, as well as representatives from the diverse range of organisations attending.”     Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office said:     “When you talk about the Catholic Church you don’t often think of the innumerable instances of selfless charity that go unnoticed each and every day. Feeding the poor, tending to the sick and the lonely, standing up for the vulnerable and the defenceless.      “Day in day out the Church is doing this great work and is making a significant and positive contribution to Scottish society. And it’s all out of love. This event, highlighting some of that work to our parliamentarians is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the continuing influence of Christ in our society.”     ENDS     Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org   ...

SCMO | 26th November 2018 | News Releases
Monday 26 November 2018     CALL NOTICE     Tomorrow evening (Tuesday 27 November) the Catholic Bishops of Scotland will join members of Parliament at a special exhibition in Holyrood to mark the significant contribution of the Church to Scottish society and beyond.     The event, sponsored by Elaine Smith MSP, highlights the extensive work carried out by agencies and commissions of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland