scmo_banner_news.jpg


Thursday 9 December 2010

Cardinal calls for "freedom of religious expression"

In a homily to be delivered later today at Westminster Central Hall in London, Cardinal Keith O'Brien will call on politicians and wider society to; uphold "freedom of religious expression" which he will describe as "a basic human right, (which) is not upheld in our midst as widely and as completely as it should be" With reference to a recent campaign by Christians in the UK to promote our Christian heritage and an ongoing debate in Scotland, where "Catholics have raised their voices against sectarianism and intolerance directed against the Church" Cardinal O'Brien will urge his listeners to "respect, uphold and protect the rights of Christians to hold their beliefs and to act according to their Christian conscience"

The full text of the Cardinal's homily is shown below.

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

CAROL SERVICE: CHRISTIANS IN GOVERNMENT
WESTMINSTER CENTRAL HALL, WESTMINSTER, LONDON
THURSDAY 9TH DECEMBER 2010
HOMILY PREACHED BY CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN


INTRODUCTION:

It is indeed a very great privilege being with you for your annual Carol Concert “ realising just how many of you in the midst of busy lives are willing to give this time to share your Christian faith with one another as we think over that most tremendous event in the history of the world “ God becoming man. In this enormous hall crowded with peoples of goodwill, with the bustling City of London around us, we give time to think of the birth of Jesus Christ, son of God and son of man, born of the Virgin Mary. We think of the implication of that still in our own lifetime “ and we pray that in some way or another at this time of the year we may follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, ever more closely and radiate something of his love and concern to all those around us.  

VOCATION TO SERVICE:

During this service, I would like to think with you on that common vocation which we all share “ whether Priest or Politician, Cardinal or Cabinet Minister. By virtue of our Christian baptism, our baptism into the Body of Christ, we try to follow his way. As God became man so man is called upon to become like God and perhaps the realisation of something of our tremendous vocation comes home to us at this particular time each year.  

I bring before your minds at this time also the example of St Thomas More “ who was prepared to give his life for God rather than betray his conscience. As you know our Church proposes Thomas More as role model for politicians due to his exemplary exercise of public office. It was in the great jubilee year of 2000 that Pope John Paul II declared St Thomas More as the Patron Saint of Politicians commenting that: His life teaches us that government is above all an exercise of virtue . I think that the message of the sacrifice of Thomas More is as pressing today as it has ever been, and his final words inspire us to this day: I die the King s loyal servant, but God s first .
I am of course fully aware that no politicians in our country today, risks loss of life for holding to their beliefs “ although that does indeed still exist in other countries at this present time. However our own Christians in politics do sometimes risk public ridicule, loss of office, being overlooked for promotion, and so on because of their beliefs. It is reassuring to know that there are so many in public life who are not afraid of being true to their consciences and who are only too willing to stand up and be counted.
 
WESTMINSTER 2010: DECLARATION OF CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE:

I know also of the forthcoming launch of a Declaration of Christian Conscience entitled Westminster 2010 . It is equivalent to the so-called Manhattan Declaration which was launched last year and which has now been signed by over 400,000 United States Christians. The Westminster 2010 declaration is aimed to appeal to United Kingdom Christians of all denominations who subscribe to the historic Christian faith and who hold Orthodox Christian beliefs about life, marriage and conscience. No doubt you will be hearing more about this forthcoming Declaration, which I ask you to consider endorsing as it does uphold the rights of conscience of all peoples particularly those in positions of responsibility and especially concerning Christian beliefs and values, and the dignity of human life and marriage. The Declaration calls upon all those in positions of leadership, responsibility and influence in the United Kingdom to pledge to respect, uphold and protect the rights of Christians to hold their beliefs and to act according to their Christian conscience. It is a timely initiative. Within the last week Christians across the United Kingdom have endorsed the Not Ashamed campaign urging us all not to be ashamed of our Christian heritage, while in Scotland Catholics have raised their voices against sectarianism and intolerance directed against the Church. Clearly, these actions show that freedom of religious expression, a basic human right, is not upheld in our midst as widely and as completely as it should be.

POPE BENEDICT XVI IN WESTMINSTER:
It is only some few months since Pope Benedict XVI preached in Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster addressing politicians, diplomats, academics and business leaders. As you may remember when he entered Westminster Hall to address leaders of civil society he paused at the spot at which St Thomas More was tried and condemned to death in 1535 for refusing to acknowledge the King as also the Head of the Church.

It was an unforgettable moment for so many of us when the elderly slightly stooped figure of the Pope clad in white was outlined against the vivid red carpet in a packed Westminster Hall “ reminding so many of us of that figure of Jesus standing before Pilate as he was condemned to death. One might say that Pope Benedict XVI had similarly been condemned over the years and especially since his election as Pope for his views and for his outspoken ways of proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ and his teaching. It almost seemed that, as his words were proclaimed, that he was in turn defending his message of truth.

And when speaking at the great Mass at Bellahouston Park the Pope mentioned St Ninian whose feast day we were celebrating and indicated: St Ninian was himself unafraid to be a lone voice. In the footsteps of the Disciples whom out Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good news of Jesus Christ .
And the Pope did not hesitate to stress the responsibility on our shoulders as Christian Leaders and as Christians in politics to have that same strong faith as those early Disciples of the Lord had.  

In very strong and stirring words, the Pope proclaimed to that great audience in Westminster Hall: Religion is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation. In this light, I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance .
And he went on to state that: There are those who would advocate that the voice of religion be silenced, or at least relegated to the purely private sphere. There are those who argue that the public celebration of festivals such as Christmas should be discouraged, in the questionable belief that it might somehow offend those of other religions or none. And there are those who argue “ paradoxically with intention of eliminating discrimination “ that Christians in public roles should be required at times to act against their conscience .
Strong words indeed from our Pope and he continued to emphasise that there is a legitimate role for religion in the public square. And then the challenge comes to each one of us from Pope Benedict XVI: I would invite all of you, within your respective spheres of influence, to seek ways of promoting and encouraging dialogue between faith and reason at every level of national life .

CONCLUSION:
I am sure you realise that over the years I myself have not been slow in proclaiming the Christian message. One Easter Time in my own Cathedral I indicated that I saw the initials letters P and C as standing not for political correctness but rather for proclaiming Christianity . That is certainly at the basis of our vocation as Christians in politics.

In the coming weeks, we will indeed look at and pray before the cribs and various nativity scenes in our homes, our churches and public places. As we do let us pray for those whom we are called upon to serve and for our own role in service; let us pray that we will have the strength of character of people like St John Fisher and those of his time who were called upon to act according to their consciences.   Let us ask the good Lord to strengthen us in our own living out of our baptismal vocation so that we will never be afraid to proclaim Christ so that in our acts and our words we live out the message of the Saviour of the world born among us in poverty and simplicity 2000 years ago.    

Subscribe to Updates
Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 61 times   Liked 0 times

Subscribe to Updates

If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe to free email updates ?

Subscribe to News updates

Enter your email address to be notified of new posts:

Subscribe to:

Alternatively, you can subscribe via RSS

‹ Return to News

We never share or sell your email address to anyone.

I've already subscribed / don't show me this again

Recent Posts

Two former Anglicans to be ordained Catholic priests in Scotland

| 4 days ago | Blogging

Two former clergy who served as Anglican ministers will be ordained as Catholic priests this week as part of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, set up in 2011 by Pope Benedict to bring former Episcopalian and Anglican clergy and their people into the Catholic Church.     Rev Simon Beveridge who lives near Whithorn in Dumfries and Galloway will be ordained a priest in Whithorn in Galloway by Bishop William Nolan on Thursday 14th December.  Before being received into the Catholic Church he served as a Vicar in the Church of England from 1987 before becoming a Royal Navy Chaplain in 1993 serving with the Commando Royal Marines and latterly as Regional Navy Chaplain (North), based at Faslane on the Clyde.     There is one ‘secret occupation’ that Deacon Beveridge is very proud of.  He was an amateur jockey!  As he explained, “I trained as an amateur jockey at the British Racing School at Newmarket attending the Amateur National Hunt Course, with race horse trainer, Jimmy Frost, enjoying my first full season racing Point to Point 2006-7 and achieved a winner at Wadebridge in Cornwall.   “That season culminated in me representing the Royal Navy in The Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown Park where I met a spectacular end by being run out into the rails by two loose horses when leading nine lengths clear of the rest of field!  I have firm intentions to provide a home for a couple of retired race horses once our new home, the Mill, is completed and the paddocks are ready.”   The head of the Ordinariate in the UK is Monsignor Keith Newton.  He was a former Church of England Bishop and is married and cannot therefore be a bishop in the Catholic Church.  Although he has the authority of a bishop in many things, he is not able to ordain men to the priesthood and invites other bishops to do so on his behalf.     Monsignor Newton said, “I am delighted by the welcome the Ordinariate has been shown by Bishop Nolan and Archbishop Cushley.  Their willingness to ordain these me on my behalf to serve the Catholic Church in the Ordinariate as well as their understanding of our unique situation and their words of encouragement have been much appreciated and I look forward to being with them for these ordinations.” Fr Beveridge will begin the task of forming an Ordinariate presence in Galloway while assisting, when available, in the parishes of Kirkcudbright, Dalbeattie, Whithorn, Wigtown, Newton Stewart, with Gatehouse of Fleet and Castle Douglas. Rev Cameron Macdonald, who lives in Nairn, was ordained as an Episcopalian minister in 1990 and served at St Columba’s Episcopal Church in Nairn before becoming an Army chaplain in 1995. He served with 3 and 4 Regiment Army Air Corp in Suffolk and then in Croatia as part of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force and later in Germany with the Royal Green Jackets, going on a Tour of Duty to Bosnia. He later served with the 39 Engineers and in Cairo, Gibraltar, America, Oman and Canada. He will be ordained priest on Saturday (16th December) by Archbishop Leo Cushley in St Columba’s, Edinburgh, and will assist Fr Len Black, the senior Ordinariate priest in Scotland, in serving the growing number of Ordinariate people in Scotland. Fr Black said, “This is an exciting time for the Ordinariate in Scotland and having these two new priests working with me will allow us to provide more opportunities for people to experience our unique liturgical traditions which Pope Benedict described as “a prophetic gesture” that would contribute positively to the developing “the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all”. 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 ...

Catholic Church suggests Hate Crime review, offers opportunity to consolidate rather than separate legislation

| 29th November 2017 | Blogging

Catholic Church suggests Hate Crime review, offers opportunity to consolidate rather than separate legislation     Church comments come in response to the Scottish Government’s Review of Hate Crime legislation, chaired by Lord Bracadale: http://www.gov.scot/About/Review/Hate-Crime-Legislation     The review is charged with considering whether existing hate crime law represents the most effective approach for the justice system to deal with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill-will or prejudice.     Commenting on the review, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan who submitted a detailed response on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said:     “This process is an opportunity, ultimately, to ensure that the legislation is just and that every group is protected. This does not have to be a “zero sum game” where one group “wins” and another “loses” but rather could be an opportunity to rationalise and simplify legislation. A desirable outcome would be a single aggravation such as section 74 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. Applied to all protected characteristics equally, it would be a simple and straightforward “message.” which would foster harmony in that all groups would be treated equally in the eyes of the law.”     Mr Horan added;     “It is important that any legislation, preserves judicial discretion recognising that Scotland has a Criminal Justice System populated by highly trained prosecutors and Judges. They are best placed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of individual cases and should be free to do so in the absence of their decision being “politicised” by legislation which creates a perceived “scandal” where none exists.”     The Church response also highlights Scotland’s long history of anti-Catholicism and urges Government recognition be given to the historic roots of present conflicts. Pointing out that for over twenty years successive Scottish Governments have dedicated significant resources into programmes and projects designed to tackle the symptoms of sectarianism. The submission adds, that in the same period the growth in such funding has been matched by an increase in religious hate crime.       The response notes, that “an opportunity exists to acknowledge that anti-Catholic sectarianism is qualitatively and quantitatively different from other types of religious hate crime in Scotland. Instances of anti-Catholicism outnumber all other type of religious hate crime combined, in a country where Catholics represent only 16% of the population. This is a product of the Reformation Parliament of 1560 and its condemnation of Catholic doctrine and worship including the ban on the celebration of all Catholic sacraments. No other religion or belief has ever been so proscribed in Scotland, the legacy of this proscription continues to the present day. A recommendation by this review, that the Scottish Government consider issuing a collective, retrospective apology could go some way towards building, repairing and renewing bonds between communities harmed by historical wrongdoing. It could also be the first step in addressing historical iniquities.”     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 Note to Editors: The full text of the response to the Hate Crime Review, is shown below: Response ID ANON-T58X-H9EZ-S Submitted to Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland Submitted on 2017-11-22 14:43:00  What do we mean by hate crime legislation and why does it exist?  Do you consider that the working definition, discussed in this chapter, adequately covers what should be regarded as hate crime by the law of Scotland?  Yes Please give reasons for your answer.:  The definition discussed in this chapter is only ...

Archbishop Leo Cushley delivers Time for Reflection in Scottish Parliament

| 28th November 2017 | Blogging

Delivering the Time for Reflection in the Scottish Parliament today, (Tuesday 28 November 2017), Archbishop Leo Cushley, the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh celebrated Scotland’s Patron, Saint Andrew.   Commenting on the legacy of St Andrew he said: “the university town, his name, and his flag, all remind us of something that’s been here, doing a lot of good for a lot of people, for many centuries: and that is the civilizing influence of fair laws, of just courts, of a belief in objective truth, of standards of behaviour, of mutual respect, of helping others who need a hand.”   “No matter your beliefs”, he added, “there are still one or two of these things that we can all agree are worth holding on to.”   Commenting on Archbishop Cushley’s reflection, Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office said:     “As we approach the feast of St Andrew it is fitting that Archbishop Cushley be invited to deliver the Time for Reflection. It is important that as a society we honour our saints and there is no doubt that St Andrew has a special place in Scottish hearts.     “I am personally delighted to see our Catholic bishops in the Scottish Parliament and I am extremely grateful to the Presiding Officer and his team for their warm welcome and kind hospitality. It is also a fitting opportunity to thank all those politicians who work for the common good of our society, particularly our Catholic MSPs who commit themselves to loving service in an increasingly testing environment.”     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: Full text of Archbishop Cushley’s Time for Reflection is copied below. Time for Reflection by Archbishop Leo Cushley As we all know, 30 November, just around the corner, is St Andrew’s Day.  It’s our national day, just as the English choose to celebrate St George, the Irish St Patrick and the Welsh St David. The Welsh found a local lad to celebrate as their national patron; the English have an Armenian soldier, popular among the Crusaders of the high middle ages; the Irish chose a Briton, maybe even from what is now Scotland; and the Scots have a Galilean fisherman.   Who got the best patron? Well, the English picked someone brave and chivalrous; the Welsh picked someone holy; the Irish picked someone fiery and outspoken; and we picked… a fisherman.  Why a fisherman?  Well, I have a theory, and it’s nothing to do with smokies: so, get comfortable, because here it comes.   You see, the English used to have St Peter as their national patron, and he was the first Pope.  At that time, the Scots had St Columba as their national patron; good local choice, but not quite up to competing with the first Pope; so, the Scots changed their national patron to St Andrew.  Now, Andrew wasn’t the first pope, but he was the first man to be called to follow Jesus.  And in the middle ages, that counted for something… Over a thousand years ago, his relics were brought to the town known now St Andrews, and the kings and people of this country built a cathedral in his honour there.  I’m told that, for centuries, St Andrew’s Cathedral was the largest building in the whole of Scotland, and pilgrims came from all over Europe to visit it.   Today, we’re still proud of Andrew, but in a vague, distant way. Yet he, the university town, his name, and his flag, all remind us of something that’s been here, doing a lot of good for a lot of people, for many centuries: and that is the civilizing influence of fair laws, of just courts, of a belief in objective truth, of standards of behaviour, of mutual respect, of helping others who need a hand.  And that’s probably the best thing about having Andrew as national patron: no matter your beliefs, there are stil...

Scottish Bishop to visit Calais migrant camp

| 27th November 2017 | Blogging

Scottish Bishop to visit Calais migrant camp.Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway, and President of Justice and Peace Scotland, will travel to Calais with Danny Sweeney, Justice and Peace Scotland’s Social Justice Co-ordinator, on 28th and 29th November, to the visit the migrant camp there. The visit is in unity with the work of the Catholic community in Calais, along with many others, and in solidarity with those in Calais seeking asylum and safety from situations of persecution and conflict.The Justice and Peace Scotland representatives will be guests of the Maria Stobkova Catholic Worker House in Calais, where local authorities have imposed measures to limit the distribution of food, provisions for showers, and possession of tents for migrants, to prevent the establishment of another camp.The visit is in response to increasing numbers of predominately unaccompanied young people returning following the destruction of the migrant camp, usually referred to as ‘the jungle’ in October last year. Speaking ahead of the visit Bishop Nolan said;“Though the migrant camp has been removed from Calais, and the media have moved on, there are still vulnerable young people there, unaccompanied children. Our visit is to see at first hand the plight of these children and to highlight the need for the British and French governments to care for them not neglect them.”Danny Sweeney said:“The situation in Calais, and other areas of northern France should be a national shame to the UK. We take in far fewer refugees than other European nations, particularly the countries which border conflict regions who bear the brunt of the current situation. “Pope Francis has recently reminded church and political leaders across Europe that we have to reflect seriously on Jesus’s words ‘I was a stranger, and you welcomed me’. To leave these children forgotten and abandoned in Europe, at risk of abuse, exploitation, and modern slavery is a damning indictment of our country. As we approach the season of Advent, all of us need to remember who we’re seeing when we set up our nativity cribs - a displaced, migrant family searching for shelter, who had to flee the powers of the state to Egypt to keep Jesus safe.”Bishop Nolan is undertaking this visit in order to witness first-hand the work being done to support young migrant and asylum seekers in Calais by the Catholic community and others, and to meet with those living in Calais seeking sanctuary. The visit is also to express solidarity with the young people who appear to have been abandoned by both French and British governments, and raise the profile of this issue in both public and political discourse in Scotland. Bishop Nolan will be joined in Calais by Bishop Paul McAleenan who chairs the English and Welsh Bishops’ Office for Migration Policy.Honor Hania, Chair, Justice and Peace Scotland, said "As a strongly prolife organisation, Justice and Peace Scotland has watched with growing concern the situation for refugees in and around Calais, with especial concern for the children. We hope this visit will raise awareness of their plight and that something positive and practical can be done to help.”Notes to editors:1. For further information, contact: Daniel Sweeney - on 07891579831 oroffice@justiceandpeacescotland.org.uk Tel : 0141 333 0238Facebook : Justice and Peace Scotland Twitter : @JandPScotland2. A background briefing on the Calais camp is shown below.ENDSPeter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.orgBriefingBackground(This background summary is taken from the Human Rights Watch report ‘Like Living in Hell’; Police abuses against child and adult migrants in Calais, July 2017 .)Until the end of October 2016, a sprawling, squalid shantytown on the edge of Calais, known colloquially as “the Jungle,” held between 6,000 and 10,000 refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants, including many unaccom...