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23 February
Feb 23
23rd February 2018

In a new national initiative, the Director of the Catholic Church’s Parliamentary Office Anthony Horan has written to Scotland’s Catholic priests asking them to encourage their parishioners to get involved in politics and to make sure politicians are aware of what’s happening in their parishes.       The call to greater political action provides each parish in Scotland with full contact details of their MSP’s and MP’s and suggests inviting local representatives to events such as special Masses, charity events, coffee mornings, and youth clubs to make them as much a part of parish life as possible.        Commenting on the letter, Mr. Horan said:       “The Catholic parish is the centerpiece of the community and it exists to serve all people, including feeding the poor, ministering to the sick, accompanying the lonely, and engaging with young people”.       Mr Horan added:       “Building positive relationships between parishes and elected representatives, will help reveal the truth about the immensely positive contribution the Catholic Church makes to Scottish 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     Notes to Editors:     An image of Anthony Horan is available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/28347749242/in/album-72157670624194861/   2. The letters will be sent to all of Scotland’s 500 Catholic parishes.   3. Full text of the letter is copied below:     Dear Father   Catholic Parliamentary Office     I refer to the above agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and I am pleased to enclose some leaflets telling you a little more about the work of the office.       I am keen to increase the level of involvement of Catholics in political life, and in relation to matters of both national and local interest.     The primary purpose of this letter is to invite your parish to engage with local politicians and consider making them as much a part of parish life as possible. For example, inviting them to parish events such as special Masses, charity events, coffee mornings, and youth clubs. You may also want to contact them to make them aware of parish initiatives which serve the community such as the activities of St Vincent de Paul, food banks and so on.      I believe that it is incredibly important for Parliament to know about the great work being done in our local parishes and the most efficient way to do this is to involve elected representatives at a local level and to make them feel part of the parish community, irrespective of whether or not they are Catholic. Your MSP or MP is also able to put forward motions in Parliament and this can be a very useful tool for raising awareness of local matters, such as the success of a St Vincent de Paul project.     I have enclosed a list of your local MSPs and your local MP. If you haven’t already done so I would encourage you or a representative of the parish to make contact with them. I also invite you to join our Catholic Parliamentary Office mailing list to receive our monthly e-newsletter and information on campaigns which might be of interest to you and your parishioners. You can subscribe to the mailing list via our website at rcpolitics.org or by emailing office@rcpolitics.org and entering ‘Subscribe’ in the subject line.       I would also be delighted to hear any feedback you might have in relation to contact you have with politicians.     In the meantime, if I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me using the details, below.     Yours sincerely     Anthony Horan Director...

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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  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org   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  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org     Note to Editors:   Further information on the Bill and its progress can be found here: http://www.freeconscience.org.uk   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: https://www.supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2013_0124_Judgment.pdf   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: http://www.comresglobal.com/polls/where-do-they-stand-abortion-survey/...

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