By SCMO in News Releases, Blogging | 17th December 2019
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...
By SCMO in News Releases, Blogging | 27th November 2019
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.”
“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.
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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...
By SCMO in News Releases, Blogging | 25th November 2019
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...
By SCMO in News Releases, Blogging | 19th November 2019
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.