Summary of Meeting and Decisions
The Bishops' agreed to endorse a letter drafted by the Christian Institute on the subject of a proposed change in Sunday trading law in England & Wales. Although Employment Law is a reserved power to Westminster it could have knock on effects on the rights of Scottish workers. The letters are addressed to Scottish MP's. The text of the letter is shown below:
On Wednesday the Westminster Parliament will vote on whether or not to liberalise Sunday trading laws in England and Wales.
Some might suggest that this is not a matter for Scotland but this is plainly not the case.
The shop workers union USDAW has clearly demonstrated that any further liberalisation of Sunday trading law in England and Wales will cost Scottish workers dearly as a result of the consequential erosion of Sunday premium pay in Scotland.
The expert legal opinion written by the leading employment lawyer John Bowers QC, meanwhile, makes it clear that the new Sunday trading employment provisions - introduced to protect people in England, Wales and Scotland from being compelled to work on Sundays - are flawed. While at first glance, therefore, this might not seem to be an issue for Scotland, we submit that it most certainly is.
We would call on all Scotland’s Members of Parliament to stand up for Scottish workers and for Scotland this Wednesday and to vote for the amendment to delete the Sunday trading provisions from the Enterprise Bill."
Director of SCES, Michael McGrath reported on efforts being made to encourage Catholic students to consider teacher training. Archbishop Tartaglia's letter on the subject had generated interest and it was hoped that similar appeals would be made in future.
Consideration is being given to how best to celebrate/commemorate the transfer in 1918 of Catholic schools into the state sector. SCES will establish a planning group to investigate possible activities and events.
The Bishops accepted Michael McGrath's request to retire from his position as Director of SCES from 1 August 2016 and thanked him for his consistent and valuable input to the work of Catholic education in Scotland.
Archbishop Tartaglia said;
"On behalf of the Bishops' Conference, I would like to thank Michael for his dedicated service to the church in the field of Catholic education and wish him a long and restful retirement."
The Conference discussed the text of a statement on the renewal of the Trident weapons system.
A report was presented on the work of the Scottish Catholic Safeguarding Service, by the National Safeguarding Coordinator, Tina Campbell. Updates and information were provided on the operation of the National Counselling Service, the PVG scheme, training programmes for safeguarding trainers. A discussion took place on whether Clergy Conferences on Safeguarding should be diocesan or national events.
PONTIFICAL SCOTS COLLEGE ROME
The 400th Anniversary of the College's transformation into a seminary will take place on 10 March 2016, Archbishop Tartaglia and Bishop Nolan will travel to Rome that week to concelebrate Mass with the college community.
Fr. Tom Kilbride, Rector of the Scots College in Salamanca has agreed to take on the role of Director of Priests for Scotland, with responsibility for: vocations awareness and promotion, ongoing priestly formation and the seminary applicants year.
F. John Morrison of the Diocese of Paisley, based in Scotland, will assist with this work.
Deacon Graham Kelly will succeed Deacon Charlie Hendry as the national Director of the National Commission for the Diaconate.
The Tribunal Officialis, Mgr Peter Magee is hoping to recruit a number of Catholic civil lawyers to act as Advocates in the nullity process, ideally, located reasonably close to the Tribunal in order to minimise travelling.