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9 February
Feb 9
9th February 2018

The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has appointed Fr Vincent Lockhart as the National Director for Scotland of the Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio Scotland). Announcing the appointment, Bishop Joseph Toal, the Bishop of Motherwell said:     “I am pleased to announce that Fr Vincent Lockhart has been appointed by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples as the National Director for Scotland of the Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio Scotland). Fr Vincent has been acting Director for some time and it is good that his five-year term of Office has been confirmed by the Holy See.”       Bishop Toal added;     “The bishops gratefully acknowledge the dedication and commitment of Fr Tom Welsh to the work of Missio Scotland until his untimely death last year.”     Commenting on his appointment Fr. Lockhart said:     “I feel very honoured and grateful to have been appointed as the National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Missio Scotland, and look forward to serving God and the Church in this role together with the bishops, the diocesan directors and the staff of Missio.      Missio is the Pope’s personal mission charity and is an expression of the fact that the Church is a family.  The work of Missio Scotland is to deepen that family bond between the Church here in Scotland and the Church in those countries where it is in need of our spiritual and material support. I place my trust in Pope Francis' prayers and ask for those of the Catholic community of Scotland."   ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291   Notes to Editors   Bio: Fr Vincent Lockhart   Fr Vincent Lockhart has been the parish priest of St Monica’s in Coatbridge since 2003 and is the diocesan director for Missio in Motherwell Diocese. In June 2016, he was asked by the bishops to carry out a caretaker role of Missio Scotland until a new national director was appointed.   Born and brought up in the west and north of Scotland, he was ordained a priest in 1983 for Motherwell Diocese after working for a year as a deacon in Cameroon, West Africa. After ordination he returned to Cameroon. In all he spent 16 years living with the Bangwa, Mundani and Bayang peoples in a remote area in the mountains and rain forest in the south western part of the country. As well as being involved in normal parish work and youth ministry, he ran 12 primary schools and was engaged in road and bridge building projects.   In the mid-1990s he studied at Edinburgh University and gained an M.Sc in African Studies and an M.Th. in the study of Non-Western Christianity with a particular focus on social change and inculturation....

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30 January
Jan 30
30th January 2018

The Catholic Church in Scotland has welcomed Baroness O’Loan’s Conscientious Objection (Medical Activites) Bill which seeks to ensure conscience rights for all medical professionals and received a second reading in the House of Lords on Friday. The Director of the Church’s Parliamentary Office has also called for similar legislation in Scotland.     The Bill clarifies the law to ensure conscience protections are in place for all medical professionals to protect them from discrimination, enabling them to fully participate in their chosen professions and care for patients to the best of their ability.     Commenting on the Bill, Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office said;     “This Bill could restore the fuller right of conscientious objection that was lost when the UK Supreme Court ruled that Glasgow midwives Mary Doogan and Connie Wood did not have a legal right to object to involvement in the abortion process. It is quite astonishing that anybody would deny another this basic right of conscience, a denial which flies in the face of Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights which protects the ‘right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion’.”     Mr Horan added;     “While the Bill only applies to England and Wales, its progress should be of interest to people in Scotland, where hopefully a similar bill could be presented to the Scottish Parliament. Conscientious objection is a widely respected concept with considerable international and national laws, guidance, and conventions protecting the right, a Scottish Bill would bring Scotland into line with international norms.”     Under the existing law, some medical professionals are not protected from unjust discrimination. GPs, as well as many nurses, midwives, pharmacists, and other medical professionals have limited statutory conscience protection. As a result, some areas of the healthcare profession are becoming increasingly inhospitable for those with certain deeply-held moral, philosophical or religious views.     Mary Doogan, one of the two midwives in the Greater Glasgow Health Board case said:     “I am very glad to see that there is finally Parliamentary action taking place to restore the conscience rights of those who work tirelessly day in and day out to serve and care for others. As medical professionals, we owe patients not only our efforts but also our best moral judgement, and this Bill would allow us once again to practise with the greatest integrity. I fully support this important legislation and commend it to Parliament and the wider public”.     Dr. Mary Neal, leading conscience expert, senior lecturer at Strathclyde University said:     “There is a pressing need for statutory conscience rights which actually protect those who need protection. The current law fails to do this, so this Bill is a necessary and timely step. I am heartened to see our legislators turning their attention to this issue, and I welcome this Bill as a necessary and timely step.     ENDS     Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291     Note to Editors:   Further information on the Bill and its progress can be found here:   The conscience rights of midwives was undermined by a 2014 Supreme Court judgment, which held that the conscience provision in the Abortion Act 1967 did not cover aspects of their employment:   A recent ComRes poll found that a majority of the public oppose forcing doctors to participate in abortion procedures against their will if they want to remain in their profession:

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22 January
Jan 22
22nd January 2018

Following their visit to Calais last year, Bishop Paul McAleenan, the Lead Bishop for Asylum and Migration for England and Wales and Bishop William Nolan, President of Justice and Peace Scotland, issued a joint statement calling for a commitment by the UK Government to help migrants in Calais. Following recent developments, they have issue a further joint statement.     “We welcome the positive aspects of the Sandhurst Treaty which will come into force on 1st February. This agreement, the first treaty on the Calais border in 15 years, will streamline the process of migration from France to the UK. Where currently migrants are forced to wait up to six months, adults will now be able to transfer within 1 month and children within 25 days.     The Government and the Civil Service must be held to account in implementing this decision, especially in applying the Dublin III Regulations which will allow children to be reunited with their families in the UK. This opportunity to bring greater humanity and compassion to the migration system must be grasped by the Government.     We also welcome the UK’s commitment to support France in its provision of accommodation to those previously in the Dunkirk and Calais areas and to greater co-operation in the fight against organised crime, including those responsible for human trafficking. Improving the legal means by which migrants can access the UK will in itself reduce the amount of criminal activity.     However, we are clear that the additional £44.5 million of funding being promised by the UK to France and a proposed tightening-up of border security must not result in further violence and brutality against young migrants whose lives are already marked by destitution and suffering.     We are very pleased with the announcement made by Amber Rudd that the timeframe for the Dubs Amendment has been brought forward to January 2018. However, we strongly regret that this opportunity has not been used to commit to an increase in the number of unaccompanied minors that will be welcomed into this country. We call on the Government to reconsider this position. The innate God-given dignity of all human life, especially that of innocent children, must not be ignored.”     ENDS       Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291

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