Cardinal O'Brien visits Ukraine  

Cardinal Keith O Brien will visit the Ukraine from Saturday 25 June 2005, for six days, returning to Scotland on Thursday 30 June 2005.  

He goes at the invitation of Bishop Markijan Trofimiak, the Bishop of Lutsk, Ukraine. On the first full day of his visit, he will celebrate Mass at St Alexander s Cathedral in Kiev and his visit will conclude by celebrating High Mass in the Cathedral dedicated to Ss Peter and Paul in Lutsk. On the other days, the Cardinal will visit local parish communities and attend a concert in his honour on the evening of Tuesday 28 June 2005 in Lutsk.  

The visit commemorates the 4th anniversary of the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Ukraine. The Cardinal will speak of the help given by the Holy Father to the Ukrainian people. The peoples of the Ukraine consider that the Orange Revolution would have been impossible without this particular visit of Pope John Paul II.  

The Cardinal will also take this opportunity to emphasise the standards with regard to marriage and family life which should be observed, not only in the Ukraine, but throughout the world. He will also support the united front of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the Ukraine in opposing Government plans in the Ukraine whereby religion would be removed from the teaching of schools in the Ukraine and replaced by compulsory ethics classes, even in primary schools. He quotes the Church s statement that: The time has come for independent Ukraine to break with totalitarian Soviet tradition in which parents and children are Christian at home but must be atheists or indifferent to Christianity at school.  

The visit also continues during the Year of the Eucharist when the Ukrainian peoples are thinking of resurrection and new life brought about by Christ in the Eucharist.  

Cardinal O Brien has had longstanding links with the Ukrainian people. When he was an altar server in St Columba s Parish, Edinburgh, as a young boy and then man, he vividly remembers the Ukrainian peoples in exile celebrating Mass in St Columba s after the normal Sunday Masses for parishioners “ until they managed to purchase their own church within the city of Edinburgh.  

The full text of the Cardinal's homily in St Alexander's Cathedral in Kiev is shown below.  


Peter Kearney  
Catholic Media Office  
5 St. Vincent Place  
G1 2DH  
0141 221 1168  



SUNDAY 26 JUNE 2005  



It is indeed a very great pleasure for me being here with you to celebrate this Mass in St Alexander s Cathedral, Kiev before celebrating Mass on the feast of SS Peter and Paul in the Cathedral of Ss Peter and Paul in Lutsk.  

As a boy and as a young man I never ever thought that I would see this day “ I myself now a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church celebrating Mass in Cathedrals of the Church in the Ukraine, with the Ukraine being a free country.  

As a boy in Edinburgh, Scotland I quite literally grew up with the Ukrainian peoples in exile. The Ukrainian peoples shared our church dedicated to St Columba one of the first Christian missionaries to Scotland some 1400 years ago. The solemn Ukrainian liturgies used to be sung on Sundays and on other days after the principal Mass of the Roman Catholic Community. I got to know and love this liturgy as an altar boy and then as a young priest. Later as Metropolitan Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and now as a Cardinal in our Roman Catholic Church my affection for the peoples of the Ukraine has increased with the years. I had previously been asked to visit the Ukraine during its years of suffering; I now rejoice to be with you all at the time of your freedom.  

Purpose of Visit:  

You may know that the principal purpose of my visit is to thank Our Lord, along with you, for the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Ukraine, which took place some 4 years ago.  

Obviously, the visit of the Holy Father was very helpful for the Ukrainian people “ as his other visits behind what was then the Iron Curtain were so fruitful for many suffering peoples. Like nobody else, Pope John Paul II was able to give the peoples of the Ukraine hope and strength. One might say that the Orange Revolution would have been impossible without the visit of Pope John Paul II “ which was a turning point in the history of the Ukraine with so many peaceful changes taking place.  

We think also during this particular year of the Eucharist, the source of our strength, as it has been the source of the strength of the peoples of the Ukraine throughout their years of suffering and persecution. Now you are experiencing resurrection and new life. We all pray that that resurrection and new life may indeed lead to an ever closer union of you all with the life of Jesus Christ, strengthened through that life in the Eucharist.  

However, a further purpose of my visit to you is quite simply to be with you as a priest wants to be with his people, to greet you in love, and to celebrate the liturgy with you and for you.  

I was very happy to meet your own Bishop, Bishop Marian when we were together at a meeting of the Conference of the Leaders of European Bishops Conferences in Leeds, England last year. Then initially an invitation was extended to me. That invitation was renewed on the steps of St Peter s Basilica when we met in Rome at the first general audience given by Pope Benedict XV1 after his election as our new Holy Father.  

Bonds of friendship grew up between us although neither of us speaks the language of the other. However, the language of Jesus Christ is but one language “ the language of love. And I am very happy to share that love here with you all on this feast day.  

Unity of goals of two Popes:  

I remind you first of all on this occasion of the similarity of the goals of our previous saintly Holy Father Pope John Paul II and our present happily reigning Pope, Pope Benedict XVI.  

Both emphasis in their teachings the dignity of the individual person and also emphasise the centrality which Jesus Christ should have in our lives. They have both emphasised our necessity to work ever harder to bring Christ back again into Europe. On the Ad Limina visit which the Bishops of Scotland paid to Pope John Paul II in 2003 the Pope reminded us of the standards which should be ours namely the standards of Jesus Christ “ and at that  

time questioned whether or not Scotland was indeed a Christian country or had rather degenerated into being a secular state.  

When we think back those few months to the election of Pope Benedict XVI, I vividly remember him saying to the Cardinals in Conclave the reasons why he was choosing the name Benedict. Among three reasons he emphasised that Benedict was the Patron Saint of Europe and it would be part of his endeavours to bring back Christianity into the Continent of Europe.  

I put before you two ways in which I think as members of the lay faithful you, in a very special way, can bring Christ back into the centre of Europe and into the centre of your country: I ask you to consider marriage and family life; and I ask you to consider the education of your children.  

Marriage and Family Life:  

I know that here in the Ukraine as also in Scotland many people have worries about marriage and family life at present. We know the present state of our society and we are also aware of tragedies affecting our own families although many of our young people have been baptized and brought up in the Catholic Christian faith. However, many of our young people are not asking God to enter their union in the sacrament of matrimony but are rather living together. Often children were not welcomed as a gift from Almighty God. Tragically even in Catholic marriages the evil of abortion is perpetrated when babies in the womb are killed.  

We are all aware that in our countries marriages break up at this present time, separations and even civil divorces take place, and the bond of marriage is broken.  

We must do everything possible in our own families, in our parishes and in our countries to ensure the standards which were handed on to us in past years are still the standards being observed today.  

Consequently I say to you that our young people must be prepared well for the sacrament of matrimony in their homes, in their parishes and by the Church and by the State in whatever way possible; children must be regarded as a gift from Almighty God in the sacrament of matrimony and must be brought up to know and to love and serve God as their Father in Heaven; There must be ongoing care for all in the family, for young married couples, for those more mature in age, and both care and respect for the elderly, the housebound and the sick.  

Perhaps in times of persecution families were bound evermore closely together in love. Now that you are free from external persecutions in the Ukraine you must ensure that there are no other persecutions at place in the world affecting you all here in the Ukraine breaking up the high standards which you have always had for marriage and family life.  

Education of Children:  

The second point which I wish to stress with you on this feast day is the way in which we must care for the education of our children.  

Yes we all regard children as a gift from Almighty God. As a very precious gift we must ensure that we form our children in the likeness of Almighty God and educate them in ways in which they will be strong in our faith.  

In Scotland we are intensely grateful that we have a strong system of Catholic schools. From time to time there are attempts that these schools be abolished and our young people all attend non-denominational schools. However, peoples of goodwill in our country resist strongly any attempts to destroy our Catholic schools.  

I know that there are Government plans here in the Ukraine to do similar things. There is an attempt to replace school religion with compulsory ethics classes even in primary schools “ and this has met with a united front of opposition from Catholic and Orthodox Churches. There have been appeals to President Yushchenko and your Premier Tymoshenko to reverse this Policy. It has been stated by the Churches that: The course proposed by the Education and Science Ministry suggest freedom of conscience as being ignored and the statement goes on to say: The time has come for independent Ukraine to break with totalitarian Soviet tradition, in which parents and children are Christian at home, but must be atheist or indifferent to Christianity at school .  

I give my wholehearted support to the Policy of your Catholic Church in collaboration with the Orthodox Church here in the Ukraine.  

Your beloved young children must not only be Christians at home they must be Christians at school, they must be Christians throughout their lives. There is no distinction at all as to what must be taught in the schools of this country “ it must not simply be a compulsory ethics course or any attempt to hand on atheistic communism “ teaching and formation of the Christian faith must continue on the foundations laid in Catholic homes!  


I began my words by speaking of the unity seen in the teachings of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Throughout the world wherever there are Catholics of goodwill we too must be unified in our faith and unified in the ways in which we hand on our faith while allowing of course for differences of culture within our countries. But I remind you of that basic teaching of our recent Popes: The importance of the individual and the centrality of Jesus Christ.  

In the Ukraine and in Scotland we do recognise the uniqueness of each and every individual made in the image and likeness of Almighty God with an eventual destiny of an eternity with God in Heaven. We must repeatedly remind our young people of our Christian heritage.  

We must teach them the ways of Jesus Christ “ the ways of love. We must help them in everyway by our word and example.  

May those two great leaders of our Church “ St Peter “ our Leader in the faith; and St Paul the fearless preacher of our faith “ continue to help and inspire us as we grow ever closer to Jesus Christ in this life as a preparation for our final union with him for ever in Heaven.  

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 73 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

Dunkeld Priest to become Spiritual Director of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome

| 24 hours ago | Blogging

Fr James Walls, currently parish priest of St. Pius X parish in Dundee, has been appointed by the Scottish Bishops’ Conference as Spiritual Director of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome.      Commenting on the appointment, Bishop Stephen Robson, the Bishop of Dunkeld said:       “I am absolutely delighted that the Bishops have decided to appoint Father James Walls as spiritual director to the Pontifical Scots College in Rome. As a former Spiritual Director in Rome myself, I can recognise great qualities, spiritual, intellectual and moral in Fr Jim’s priestly ministry.  He has been well trained in spiritual direction and accompaniment, and together with his pastoral experience as parish priest in a large North Dundee Catholic Parish Community, I believe him to be an ideal choice to serve the community of seminarians there and as an effective collaborator with Fr Fitzpatrick the Rector and Fr Parkes the Vice Rector.”        Bishop Robson added;       “Fr Jim will be going to Rome, Salamanca and for training in the USA from the end of May onwards and will take up his new role in September. Fr Jim has my full support and I wish him many blessings and congratulations.”        Reacting to his appointment, Fr. James Walls, said:       “I would like to give thanks to God, and the bishops of Scotland, in appointing me as Spiritual Director in the Scots College. I would also like to give thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for taking my mum into their home; without this generosity, the decision would have been much more difficult. I look forward to getting to know those men who have generously put themselves forward for the priesthood.”       Responding to the appointment, Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick, Rector of the Scots College said:       “I am very grateful to Fr Jim for generously accepting the post of spiritual director here at the Pontifical Scots College. He brings with him his experience of parish ministry, spiritual direction and priestly life. I am sure he will find great joy and fulfilment in his important role of helping the men here in the College discern and prepare for service as priests in Scotland.  As the community gets ready to welcome him, I would also like to thank Fr Mark Cassidy, our departing spiritual director, for his hard work, enthusiasm and positive contribution to our seminarians and to the College during his seven years here. Our prayers are with him as he returns to the Diocese of Dunkeld and I would like to thank Bishop Stephen Robson for his on-going support for the College.”       ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291   Note to Editors:   1. An image of Fr. Walls can be downloaded here:

Scottish bishops offer condolences to Cardinal’s family and friends

| 2 days ago | Blogging

The President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and Bishop Joseph Toal have offered their condolences on the death, earlier today (Monday 19 March 2017) of Cardinal Keith O’Brien.     Archbishop Tartaglia said;     “We have received the sad news of the death of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Emeritus Archbishop of  St Andrews & Edinburgh.  On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland I wish to express my sincere sympathy on the death of the late Cardinal to his family and close friends. I ask for prayers for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace.”     Bishop Toal said;     “I will pray for the eternal repose of the soul of Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, who died early this morning – may he rest in God’s peace. I extend my sympathy and prayerful support to his family, friends and all who mourn his passing. With constant hope in the Lord’s goodness and mercy.”     ENDS     Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291

Archbishop Emeritus Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien (1938-2018) RIP

| 2 days ago | Blogging

Death Notice   Archbishop Emeritus Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien (1938-2018) RIP     At 1am on Monday 19 March 2018, His Eminence Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien, Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews & Edinburgh, died at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne surrounded by family and friends and fortified by the rites of Holy Church. RIP. He was 80 years old.     Commenting upon the news, Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh said: “In life, Cardinal O’Brien may have divided opinion – in death, however, I think all can be united in praying for the repose of his soul, for comfort for his grieving family and that support and solace be given to those whom he offended, hurt and let down. May he rest in peace.” ENDS Notes to Editors: 1.   For more information, contact David Kerr, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh, on 07903 621232 m.     2.   Archbishop Leo Cushley will be available for interview at 11am at the Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1BB.     3.   CV of Archbishop Emeritus Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien: Born at Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, Ireland, 17 March 1938, educated St Patrick’s High School, Dumbarton, Holy Cross Academy, Edinburgh; University of Edinburgh (BSc, 1959; Dip.Ed., 1966); St Andrew’s College, Drygrange; ordained priest at Edinburgh, 3rd April 1965, assistant priest, Holy Cross, Edinburgh 1965- 66; St Bride’s, Cowdenbeath and Chaplain to St Columba’s Secondary School 1966-71; St Patrick’s, Kilsyth, 1972-75; St Mary’s, Bathgate 1975-78; spiritual di- rector, St Andrew’s College, Drygrange 1978-80; rector, St Mary’s College, Blairs 1980-85; nominated Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh 30 May 1985, and ordained by Cardinal Gordon Gray, Archbishop Emeritus of St Andrews & Edinburgh, at Edinburgh, 5 August 1985. Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Argyll & the Isles 1996-99; created Cardinal 21 October 2003. Resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh 25 February 2013.     4.   Following a series of allegations relating to his personal life, Cardinal O’Brien resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh 25 February 2013 and issued a media release on 3 March 2013 in which he announced his retirement from public life, stating: “I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal. To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland." With the agreement of the Holy See, he subsequently moved to the north of England. 5.  Following an apostolic visitation to Scotland led by Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Holy See announced on 20 March 2015 that Pope Francis had "accepted the resignation of Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the rights and duties of a Cardinal". The Holy See Press Office O'Brien stated that Cardinal O’Brien would not take part in future papal elections, act as papal adviser, or take part in Vatican congregations and councils and would lose other roles of a cardinal. 6.  Funeral arrangements for Cardinal O’Brien are still to be finalised but will be done so in coming days in consultation with the Holy See and Cardinal O’Brien’s family. 7.    Suggested commentators and potential interviewees for the media;       * Ian Dunn, former Editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer. Ian was 10 years with the Scottish Catholic Observer until January 2018. Tel: 07908 871858   * John Deighan, former Parliamentary Officer for the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland. John worked alongside Cardinal O’Brien for many ...

Civic office requires Christian belief and principle like never before

| 06th March 2018 | Blogging

The abusive criticism aimed at politicians like Elaine Smith and Tim Farron might be enough to put Christians off political office for good, warns Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office in The Scotsman.     This follows recent derision of Elaine Smith’s appointment as shadow cabinet secretary for the eradication of poverty and inequality, which some have claimed is untenable because she voted against the redefinition of marriage in 2014.     Mr Horan echoes Pope Francis’ concerns that there is a sustained and ongoing “persecution” of traditional religion.     “For dissenters like Elaine Smith the persecution tends to take the form of bullying and abuse, some of which is obvious and some of which is a little more insidious”, he writes.     He argues that a secular, allegedly progressive religion has taken hold in Scotland attempting to convince people, particularly the young, that it is the only belief system that guarantees freedom; “that its tolerance knows no bounds. The truth is that it guarantees neither”.        He calls on politicians and people of all faiths and none to return to the basics and recognise “the inherent dignity of the human person and the common good”, and to encourage and support those who sacrifice a much easier life to uphold these values and ideals in public office.   Full text of the Friends of the Scotsman article is copied below.      ENDS   Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291       Notes to Editors   1. An image of Anthony Horan is available at:   2. Full text:     Friends of the Scotsman by Anthony Horan, Director, Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office     The thought police are on the prowl once again, this time criticising the Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard for giving Elaine Smith the portfolio for the eradication of poverty and inequality. Mr Leonard was challenged publicly on his choice and criticism has inevitably followed.     Elaine Smith, an MSP for Central Region, voted against the redefinition of marriage and this, it seems, is unforgivable. Like Tim Farron, Mrs Smith must now prepare herself for the very real possibility of a distasteful, humiliating and painful public inquisition until she is dethroned from her shadow cabinet post and perhaps even forced out of political office altogether. Her crime was to break from the stifling political orthodoxy by which we are all bound.     Even some politicians have taken to social media to join the throng of critics anxious to question Mr Leonard’s judgement and to attack Mrs Smith. Social media, by its very nature, painlessly facilitates the mob culture, giving it a soap box to spew forth intolerant attitudes with the sole intention of damaging anyone who strays from the orthodoxy. It is, in many respects, a secular progressive religion; its doctrine is fundamentalist, imposing on everyone ridicule and abuse if they do not adhere. This new religion also unashamedly clambers for a favoured place in officialdom, seeking favourable legislation and government policy. But unlike other religions, there is little room for forgiveness. It is a zealous faith and it brooks no dissent.       Pope Francis recently spoke of a “polite persecution” of traditional religion. There is indeed a persecution, but it is not necessarily polite. In fact, it is quite the opposite. For dissenters like Elaine Smith the persecution tends to take the form of bullying and abuse, some of which is obvious and some of which is a little more insidious. But it is bullying nonetheless.       The new orthodoxy simply wants to silence those who might hold a view contrary to its doctrine. For example, Elaine Smith has in the pas...