scmo_banner_news.jpg


Cardinal O'Brien contributes to Summit on Sectarianism.  

Speaking at this morning's ' Summit on Sectarianism' hosted by Scotland's First Minister Jack McConnell Cardinal Keith O'Brien welcomed the initiative and stressed the willingness of the Catholic Church to contribute to such an anti-sectarian event.  

In his contribution, the Cardinal highlighted two themes; the Act of Settlement as a hindrance to religious tolerance and the benefits of a Charter of Religious Freedom.  

Referring to the Act of Settlement, the Cardinal said;  
"Although it may be argued that this is a piece of arcane legislation very unlikely to affect any of Scotland s Catholics directly “ that would be to miss the point, which is that its effect is indirect “ it causes offence and is hurtful. No other religious group in the UK is similarly excluded or stigmatized in law."  

He added;  

"While the Scottish Executive is not responsible in any way for this legislation nor able to repeal or amend it “ an acknowledgement from them that they; Accept it is offensive, and encourage their Westminster colleagues to repeal it, would be symbolically important and warmly welcomed."  

Cardinal O'Brien also proposed that consideration be given by the Executive to promoting a Charter of Religious Freedom containing six key principles.  

The full text of Cardinal O'Brien's contribution is shown below.  

ENDS  


Peter Kearney  
Director  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
Glasgow  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168  
pk@scmo.org  
www.scmo.org  




Cardinal O Brien  
Address to Summit on Sectarianism  

Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to this important event. I congratulate the First Minister and all in the Scottish Executive in their determination to challenge the bigotry which can accompany sectarianism. We all know that tensions and friction inevitability arise between individuals and between groups in society. Differences of opinion or customs or religious practice can sometimes be an excuse for some to resort to violence, intimidation or unjust discrimination.  

The Scottish Parliament made a notable contribution in combating unjust discrimination when it stated as far back as December 1999 That the Parliament believes that the discrimination contained in the Act of Settlement [1701] has no place in our modern society . It is beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament to make a change in this area but its powerful message was an important gesture in recognising the injustice of legislation which discriminates solely against Catholics. My predecessor Cardinal Winning spoke strongly on this issue declaring of the Act of Settlement, its continued presence on the statute books is an offensive reminder to the whole Catholic community of a mentality which has no place in modern Britain.  

I also raised the issue last week in regard to the announcement that Prince Charles is to marry when I said I am saddened to think that were Mrs Parker-Bowles a Catholic, the Prince of Wales would by marrying her, automatically lose his right to succeed to the Throne as would his heirs .  

Other forms of unjust discrimination can be manifest as anti-social behaviour and the Executive has made great efforts in tackling anti-social behaviour in our communities through recent legislation. It is consistent with that approach that various causes of anti-social behaviour be addressed. Today s conference highlights an important strand in that work.  

It is important that we work together in addressing the tensions that arise out of living together in society and encountering the diversity of faiths which are the reality in many communities. Where these differences lead to tensions of whatever level the answer is not to eradicate differences. The One Scotland Many Cultures campaign is I believe a good illustration of this fact. Diversity is often a strength and a good; it respects human freedom and dignity. Fostering the good of every member of society means protecting the legitimate rights of people to hold to their legitimate beliefs and values and to manifest these publicly with respect for the common good of all.  
I assure the First minister that his endeavour to do this, he has the support of the Catholic community.  

Recently we have had much media attention around the health of Pope John Paul II, it has been heartening to see and hear the concerns of so many people of all faiths. Only just over a week ago, Dr Alison Elliot, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland took the opportunity at the Time of Reflection in the Scottish Parliament to convey her good wishes for the pope. I think that exemplified the good relations among the Christian Churches in Scotland.  

I would like to make two proposals today.  

Firstly, that the Act of Settlement 1701 be the focus of investigation with a view as to how the offensive elements of it can be repealed.  

Secondly, I would like to propose that to foster goodwill among people of all faiths and none that a Charter of Religious Freedom be promoted.  

I say this following on the words of Pope John Paul II in a recent address to diplomats of the world.  

He said In your service as diplomats you are rightly concerned to protect the freedom of the peoples you represent ¦Freedom is a great good, because only by freedom can human beings find fulfilment in a manner befitting their nature. Freedom is like light: It enables one to choose responsibly his proper goals and the right means of achieving them. At the very heart of human freedom is the right to religious freedom, since it deals with man's most fundamental relationship: his relationship with God. Religious freedom is expressly guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ¦.  

There need be no fear that legitimate religious freedom would limit other freedoms or be injurious to the life of civil society. On the contrary: together with religious freedom, all other freedoms develop and thrive, inasmuch as freedom is an indivisible good ¦ Neither should there be a fear that religious freedom ¦ would intrude upon the realm of political freedom and the competencies proper to the State: The Church is able carefully to distinguish, as she must, what belongs to Caesar from what belongs to God  

In a charter of Religious Freedom, if it be accepted, I suggest the following principles as a basic model:  


1. The right to religious freedom is grounded in respect for human dignity.  

2. Individuals should not be forced to act in a manner contrary to their religious beliefs, nor should they be restrained from acting in accordance with their religious beliefs.  

3. Religious bodies have a right to manifest and teach the social relevance of their religious beliefs.  

4. Religious bodies have a right to establish and maintain corporate institutions and services and conduct them in accordance with their religious beliefs and values.  

5. Because the right to religious freedom is exercised within society, it ought to be subject to the laws which ordinarily safeguard justice and civil order.  

6. Civil authorities do not have the right to command or inhibit acts of religion which are outside their proper competence.  



In working for the common good of Scottish society a climate of tolerance in regard to the rights of others to follow their faith will contribute to a stronger nation. I sincerely hope today s efforts and the work surrounding this event will help bring about that climate.  

Subscribe to Updates
Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 72 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

Vatican appoints Motherwell priest as head of Missio Scotland

| 09th February 2018 | Blogging

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....

Church welcomes Bill on conscientious objection rights for medical professionals

| 30th January 2018 | Blogging

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/...

English and Scottish Bishops call on the Government for swift implementation of the Sandhurst Treaty

| 22nd January 2018 | Blogging

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  pk@scmo.org  www.scmo.org...

Aberdeen Priest, to become Spiritual Director of the Royal Scots College in Salamanca

| 20th December 2017 | Blogging

Aberdeen Priest, to become Spiritual Director of the Royal Scots College in Salamanca20 December 2017 Fr Stuart Chalmers has been appointed by the Scottish Bishops’ Conference as Spiritual Director of the Royal Scots College in Salamanca. Commenting on his appointment, the Bishop of Aberdeen, Bishop Hugh Gilbert said:“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Fr. Staurt for his great dedication and support, both to me personally, and to the Diocese and I wish him every blessing and success in his forthcoming Iberian endeavours.”Bishop Gilbert added;“The members of the Bishops’ Conference are most pleased that he has accepted this appointment and wish him every blessing and success in his new responsibilities.”Responding to his appointment, Fr. Stuart said;“I am delighted to have been appointed to this post and look forward to the new challenges it will bring. I hope to build on my experience of teaching in Salamanca over the last 5 years and supporting individuals in the diocese of Aberdeen as the prepared for the priesthood.”“I am very grateful to the Scottish Bishops for appointing me and to the parishioners of St. Joseph’s in Woodside and Holy Family in Mastrick for their support.”ENDSPeter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 116807968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org Notes to Editors:Fr. Stuart’s appointment is for a three-year period from 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2020.He will travel to Salamanca on 6 January 2018, where he will be responsible for directing candidates on the Pre-Seminary course in Spain before they continue their studies at the Scots College in Rome. ...