scmo_banner_news.jpg


Wednesday 30 April 2008

Cardinal praises "dedication and commitment" of Catholic teachers

Speaking at the Conference of Catholic secondary Head teachers at Crief Hydro on Thursday 1 June 2008 Cardinal Keith O'Brien in a keynote address will pay tribute to the dedication and commitment of Scotland's Catholic Head teachers and their staff while acknowledging the continued success of Catholic schools.

Cardinal O'Brien will also highlight his disappointment that so few media outlets seem to provide positive coverage of Catholic education, preferring instead to give "disproportionate space for the expression of the old rhetoric of suspicion and hostility when there is so much ˜good news which could be aired and written." Citing a very low level of media coverage of this year's Cardinal Winning education Lecture delivered by First Minister Alex Salmond, the Cardinal will describe this as an example of the "determined and blatant bias is a sad phenomenon to which we have become all too accustomed in Scotland."

Cardinal O'Brien will also call on the leaders of Scotland's political parties to follow Alex Salmond's lead by celebrating rather than tolerating Catholic education. In a strongly worded call he will say; " I challenge them - quite simply - to tell the truth about Catholic schools in Scotland: to acknowledge their considerable contribution to Scotland s welfare, to recognise their distinctive provision, to praise their achievements and to pledge their support.   In the First Minister s own words, It s time to celebrate Catholic education in Scotland ; the time for grudging acceptance and outright hostility is in the past."

Cardinal O'Brien will also commend the work of the Scottish Catholic Education service under its Director Mr Michael McGrath, paying particular tribute to the recently developed ˜Called to Love   programme a teaching resource for use in Catholic schools when delivering sex and relationships education. He will describe the resource as " a distinctive vision to which young people can aspire - a vision of lives created and growing in love, living for love, being faithful and committed to God s call to love and being responsible in love." adding "This is another example of how Catholic schools are distinctive in the vision which we offer.   We are promoting responsible behaviour and we are providing factual information to young people but we are doing so in an unambiguous moral context. "

The full text of Cardinal O'Brien's address is shown below:

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



CATHOLIC HEAD TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF SCOTLAND CONFERENCE
 
ADDRESS BY CARDINAL KEITH PATRICK O BRIEN
 
CRIEFF HYDRO HOTEL
 
THURSDAY 1 MAY 2008
 
 
Introduction:  
The title for your conference - Promoting Values and Equality - is, I would suggest, not only appropriate to Scottish Catholic Education.   It could be argued that it refers to the great need of our time - vital in many areas of the life of our nation, and in nations across the world.
Today I want to speak about our understanding of ˜Equality in our world and about the kinds of ˜Values which all schools should be promoting.   I want to affirm you in your vital role in education and in the Church. And I want to encourage you as you continue to make your way on that seemingly never-ending journey to excellence.
Firstly, however, I want to thank you and your staff for your dedication and your commitment.   I see this first hand when I visit your schools and I meet young people who are clearly benefiting from the education which you are providing for them.   I know how much they gain from the opportunities you provide for them to live, learn and grow in an environment which does more than care for them.   It is clear to me that you and your colleagues clearly love these young people, and that you help them to love others.   ˜Love is a theme to which I shall return.
Today is an opportunity for me, on behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland, to add the Church s voice to those other expressions of recognition which you have heard this year.   Each of my brother Bishops appreciates the great work being done in Catholic schools across Scotland.   At meetings of the Bishops Conference we regularly discuss the significant achievements of Catholic schools. We hear regularly from Michael McGrath and Neil Roarty, who report on the work of SCES and of the Catholic Education Commission. In the various Dioceses, at meetings of Head Teachers, at Masses in Catholic Education Week and on other occasions, the Bishops pay tribute to all staff working in Catholic schools for their great efforts.   We recognise that you are under great pressure, that you have many priorities (not always of your own choosing) and that you are expected to deliver results of various kinds.
 
School Inspections:
Under such pressure, it is remarkable that - again and again - so many Catholic schools are praised by Her Majesty s Inspectors for outstanding achievements and for excellence in so many aspects of provision.   In this school session alone, Catholic schools have been praised not only for outstanding leadership, but for the promotion of a strong sense of tolerance and inclusion and for distinction in promoting equality, diversity and anti-sectarianism.   Our schools are frequently praised for their commitment to promote global awareness and to support the needs of developing countries.   One of my joys as Cardinal on visiting a great variety of countries abroad, is to hear teachers and pupils speak of our schools as wonderful, helpful neighbours in our global villages. In reporting on many of our schools, HMI Inspectors comment very positively on the strong sense of Gospel Values and on the promotion of faith communities, where schools work in partnership with local parishes, being supported by local clergy and religious, and providing good opportunities for daily prayers, liturgies and Masses.
Media Coverage:
It is little wonder, then, that occasional articles appear in some newspapers highlighting this significant pattern - the excellence of performance in so many Catholic schools.   What is remarkable is that - in the face of a mountain of evidence provided by HMI who are independent assessors - we are still more likely to read newspaper articles and letters which condemn Catholic schools as being the major contributory factor (if not the root cause) of sectarianism in Scotland.   It is disappointing that our media outlets seem to provide disproportionate space for the expression of the old rhetoric of suspicion and hostility when there is so much ˜good news which could be aired and written.
We were given some spectacular examples of this imbalance in the media coverage of Catholic schools when First Minister Alex Salmond gave the Cardinal Winning Lecture at the end of Catholic Education Week in February this year.   The week began inauspiciously when Michael McGrath was invited onto a Radio Scotland programme to take part in a discussion about schools.   He was assured that the issue of Catholic Education Week would be covered in the item, but, in fact, it was all about a proposal to create a shared campus school in East Ayrshire.   As soon as it became clear in the course of the broadcast that there was no great dispute between the Church and the Council, the BBC could not finish the item quickly enough.
Later that week BBC Newsnight Scotland ran a garbled item which showed no understanding of Catholic schools and their contribution to Scottish society.   It would make a fascinating case study in a Media Studies course - of how not to do it.
By the weekend, when the First Minister of Scotland was due to deliver a lecture entitled ˜Celebrating Catholic Education , you might have expected the media to be interested, if not enthusiastic.   With their production centres just a few miles from the University campus, neither BBC nor STV managed to send a camera crew to cover the lecture.   (Meantime BBC had sent two camera crews at inordinate expense to the island of St Kilda where a trawler had run aground and there were fears that rats from the sinking ship would destroy nesting seabirds.   It later turned out that there were no rats!)
Even if our TV companies didn t manage to travel to Glasgow University, most of the Scottish Sunday broadsheets covered the lecture. However, the Sunday Times could only find space for 47 words devoted to the event.   This is the same Sunday Times who - just over a year previously - had tried over a number of weeks to stir up a ˜national debate over the future of Scotland s Catholic schools;   the same Sunday Times who were prepared to feature extensively the words of a few ex-politicians who had suddenly discovered their principled objections to Catholic schools;   the same Sunday Times who failed to publish any views which might offer some counter-balance to the bias of the other contributors.
Such determined and blatant bias is a sad phenomenon to which we have become all too accustomed in Scotland.   What we are less used to is the phenomenon of a politician actually speaking out in favour of Catholic schools.   Well, this year, in the lecture given by Scotland s First Minister we could not have asked for a clearer advocacy of Catholic schools. Those of you who were present were probably as astonished as I was to hear such words of praise and admiration. Not that anything he said was untrue or exaggerated.   It was just astonishing that he was prepared to turn out at a public event, during Catholic Education Week to celebrate Catholic Education in Scotland. Scottish politicians don t do that sort of thing!
Neither do they express admiration for the contribution of Scotland s Catholic schools, for their work in endowing children with a strong moral foundation, with a positive and distinctive identity, with a keen sense of personal responsibility and the common good, with a strong commitment to charity, and with a belief in the principle that each of us can and should make a positive contribution to our world.
But Alex Salmond did all of that.   And I expect him to do it again.   And I call on the leaders of Scotland s other political parties to do likewise.   I challenge them - quite simply - to tell the truth about Catholic schools in Scotland: to acknowledge their considerable contribution to Scotland s welfare, to recognise their distinctive provision, to praise their achievements and to pledge their support. In the First Minister s own words, It s time to celebrate Catholic education in Scotland ; the time for grudging acceptance and outright hostility is in the past.
 
Equality:
 
Returning to the theme of your conference - Equality and Values - I want to take this chance to make something very clear.   We in the Catholic Church are absolutely committed to Equality.   We recognise the equal dignity and worth of all humans, because we believe that we are all made in God s image and likeness. This belief provides the moral foundation of any decent society which values and respects human life. Sometimes we are misrepresented as being dismissive of people whose views we do not share.   Or we are accused of treating them unfairly because we don t accept their point of view.   This is a basic and serious error of logic.   Equality is not synonymous with uniformity.   We are all entitled to our own views, our values and our beliefs; and we are equally entitled to express these, even when they are at odds with the views we hear expressed by others.  
In this country - and in Europe more widely - there is a very strong Equality and Diversity agenda which now underpins social policy.   Now it is absolutely right that the dignity of human life is recognised and that people s rights are protected. However, sometimes Equality and Diversity is used as a badge of convenience to gain recognition for particular interests.   The desire for Equality has been used by some as an instrument of intolerance, to hinder the expression of beliefs which are at odds with their own views. On the other hand Diversity seems only to be valued by some when it protects particular interests.
The contradictions are well exemplified in the debate over Catholic schools in Scotland.   Some argue that the provision of Catholic schools is unfair because it endows Catholics with a privilege not shared by others.   Of course, they show their ignorance of the Law when they fail to understand that any religious body in Scotland can establish schools in the interest of any denomination.   Indeed, the Episcopalian Church still has a small number of such denominational schools.   Some members of the Muslim community wish to make a case for state-funded Muslim schools on the same equitable basis.
In the case of Catholic schools, significant numbers of parents in this country freely choose to send their children to Catholic schools. This is a right enshrined in Scots Law but also recognised in European Law - the right to have their children educated in accordance with their religious, philosophical and moral convictions .   This is a perfectly legitimate expression of diversity.   Yet it is a freedom which some people want to remove - supposedly in the interests of Equality .
 
 
Values:
 
Such muddled thinking is also prevalent today when people talk about values, the other aspect of your conference theme.   It appears that some people want to lay claim to any particular personal preference or the latest trend and label it as a value which deserves respect and legitimacy.   The late Pope John Paul II used to speak of the crisis of values which has overtaken Western civilisation, where people have abandoned any notion of absolute truth.   Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of the modern phenomenon of the dictatorship of relativism where people demand the right to justify any moral choice based on their individual human rights.   In this way, any action can be justified if it might potentially - in some distant future - lead to the possibility of improving some aspect of human life.  
As Christians, we are fortunate to have a moral framework - expressed in Sacred Scripture and in Sacred Tradition - which guides our words and actions.   The Ten Commandments provide clear guidance on right and wrong.   The Beatitudes express, through paradox and oxymoron, the values which Christ espouses for us.   These Gospel values are unconventional; they run counter to the trends of society.   Jesus uses them to challenge our priorities, to help us to learn that, in order to be happy - to be Blessed - we must be peace-loving, merciful, pure of heart and meek.  
 
We are supported in our efforts to live by these values in the teachings of the Church about Virtues - those personal habits which each of us needs to develop if we are to live moral lives, doing good for ourselves and for others.   The teaching of the Catechism on virtues such as faith, hope, love, prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance is rich in its wisdom and demands our careful consideration.
 
For this reason the Bishops were delighted to welcome the CEC s publication of the ˜Values for Life resource, a package designed specifically to help teachers to understand values and virtues.   We recommend that you engage teachers fully in making good and considered use of ˜Values for Life over the next few years in particular.   I hope that it will feature in your programmes of staff development and in your school improvement plans.   It will be of vital support to you as you plan for new curricular structures in the light of ˜Curriculum for Excellence .   It spells out for you how and where you can deliver the values which are supposed to be at the heart of young people s learning - the values of Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity.
 
How wonderful it would be if every Scottish school articulated its curriculum and developed its planning with particular reference to these values.   This is precisely what the Bishops expect of every Catholic school in Scotland and we look forward to seeing explicit reference to values in school handbooks, in development plans and in report on standards and quality.  
 
Called to Love:
 
Another CEC resource which has been provided recently also supports you in articulating a distinctively Christian understanding of life.   ˜Called to Love provides you with a coherent package of advice and teaching materials, built on a Catholic Christian vision of human love and relationships.   In Pope Benedict XVI s first encyclical Deus Caritas Est, he wrote:  
Today the word love is so tarnished, so spoiled and abused, that one is almost afraid to pronounce it with one s lips. . . We cannot simply abandon it, we must take it up again, purify it and give back to it its original splendour.
˜Called to Love is our humble attempt to re-claim the central place of Love in human lives.  
 
Of course, I well understand that teaching young people about Relationships is not without difficulty today.   We live in an age where young people seem to have been abandoned to find their own way through the moral maze.   We allow them to be assailed by sexually explicit imagery and stark messages which promote casual sex as a recreational pastime.   We condone immoral and sometimes illegal sexual activity, preferring to encourage harm-reduction policies and deluding ourselves about safe-sex.   And the statistics tell the tragic story of lives blighted by increasing sexual infections, unwanted teenage pregnancies and abortions.  
 
Recent research carried out for the Scottish Government s Health Promotions Agency, NHS Health Scotland cast serious doubts on the quality and effectiveness of sex and relationships education in the non-denominational sector. There is no question that underlying this failure is the absence of a moral framework through which the subject can be addressed. This is in stark contrast to the approach taken by ˜Called to Love .
 
The Bishops of Scotland commend ˜Called to Love for its efforts in this difficult field of sexual education.   The programme offers a distinctive vision to which young people can aspire - a vision of lives created and growing in love, living for love, being faithful and committed to God s call to love and being responsible in love.   This is another example of how Catholic schools are distinctive in the vision which we offer.   We are promoting responsible behaviour and we are providing factual information to young people but we are doing so in an unambiguous moral context.       All young people have a right to learn about love and to learn how to love.  
 
When I last spoke to this conference, some three years ago - in May 2005 - I promised you the support of the Church in the provision of resources in this area.   I hope that you will agree that ˜Called to Love will most effectively support teachers and parents in helping young people to understand their vocation to love.   I thank you for your efforts to enrol staff in the various training days which have been offered so far.   I thank you for your commitment to purchase materials for staff, pupils and parents.   I also thank all those who have contributed to the development of such a fine resource.
 
Through the offices of the Apostolic Nunciature, His Excellency Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, the Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Institutions, Seminaries and Institutes of Study, was informed of the recent publication of ˜Called to Love , produced by the Scottish Catholic Education Service.   Archbishop Bruguès asked the Nuncio to convey to our Bishops Conference the commendation of his dicastery of SCES for their commitment in formulating these texts in light of Gospel values and for taking into account the ages and levels of maturity of the children concerned.   He also expressed gratitude to the Bishops Conference of Scotland for our endeavours in promoting Catholic teaching on this delicate issue.   The Congregation thinks that these publications will serve as reliable resources for instilling and upholding the dignity and gift of life in Scottish Catholic youth.   And while conveying the sentiments of the Archbishop, our own Apostolic Nuncio also offers all who collaborated in that recent project, his own congratulations.
 
   
 
Religious Education:
 
I understand that, later this month, details will be published of proposed learning outcomes and experiences which should be provided through religious education in Catholic schools. The publication of these proposals will provide an excellent opportunity for you to reflect upon the centrality of religious education in the life of your school.   The proposals will also challenge you and your colleagues to reflect upon your own personal understanding of the Gospel message and of how it can be communicated to children and young people.   I encourage you to engage fully in this work and to involve your colleagues in it as fully as possible.  
 
The development of particular proposals for religious education in Catholic schools has not been uncomplicated.   There were significant pressures to agree a common framework for religious education in all schools.   There were also pressures to teach non-faith stances as comprehensively as we would wish to teach Catholic Christianity. There are strong voices claiming that, out of respect for people of other faiths and none, it is time for schools to be prohibited from favouring any particular faith, or, indeed from teaching religious education at all.
 
So, it is vital that all Catholic schools consider these R.E. proposals in detail; that staff engage in opportunities to develop their own understanding of faith and of how it can be transmitted to young people today; that school leaders are faithful to their mission to catechize and evangelise.   The proposals published by Curriculum for Excellence will be accompanied by supplementary guidance published by SCES.   This guidance will provide additional information about the nature of religious education in our schools.   There will also be opportunities for teachers to meet and discuss these proposals and to consider the resources which can deliver the vision of faith which is being promoted.
 
Earlier this session, the Vatican s Congregation for Catholic Education published a document called ˜Educating Together in Catholic Schools .   This document highlighted the need for Catholic schools to provide young people with the experience of being members of a community of faith, in the midst of a world which is increasingly diverse. It called for education in communion , in which young people have a strong experience of sharing, are encouraged to search for truth and meaning, to come to know themselves and to recognise the signs through which God leads them to the fullness of existence.
 
Of course, we understand that living in communion is not in any way an exclusive activity.   It is welcoming to all people, encouraging them to know that God loves them.   It encourages all to see, in the light of the Gospel, what is positive in the world, as well as what needs to be transformed.   It helps to form people in such a way as to respect the identity, culture, history, religion and especially the sufferings and needs of others, conscious that we are all really responsible for all , as the Vatican document says.
 
This is the vision - of life, of faith and of education - which I hope to see at the heart of the Curriculum for Excellence proposals.  
 
Final remarks:
 
Since May 2005, when I last spoke to you, there have been some significant changes to the leadership profile of our secondary schools.   Quite a number of well-kent faces have been replaced by fresher faces - some only very recently. And by the next time I speak to you, I suspect, even more changes will have taken place.   I want to put on record my appreciation of all those teachers who have retired after giving years of dedicated service to Catholic education.   May God bless them and reward them for their goodness.  
 
To those of you who are here today - and particularly to those of you who are relatively new to these positions of great responsibility - I offer you my continuing support in your work.   I promise you the full support of the Church, particularly through the work of our own Education Service and through that of the Diocesan R.E. Advisors.     I do not underestimate the impact which your personal commitment and example can have, not only on young people but on your colleagues and on parents. As witnesses to faith, you are living signs of hope in a world which, at times, seems to have abandoned hope. In living your vocation, in leading a community of faith inspired by the Gospel, you will provide others with opportunities for living in communion with God and with each other.  
 
May God bless each of you in your work. May we continue, in the words of the First Minister at that recent Catholic Education Week Conference, to which I have already referred:   Celebrate Catholic Education in Scotland .

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 99 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

Bishop calls on UK Government to sign and ratify Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

| 25th May 2018 | Blogging

25 May 2018   Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway and President of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Bishops Conference of Scotland, will tomorrow (Saturday 26 May) at 12 noon join other Church leaders and campaigners in calling for the Secretary of State to sign and ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.   Taking part in the Pentecost Witness at Faslane Naval Base alongside representatives of the Church of Scotland and Scottish Episcopal Church, Bishop Nolan will call on the Secretary of State to urgently develop and publish a transition plan so that the UK is ready to sign and ratify the Treaty.   Commenting ahead of the event tomorrow, Bishop Nolan said:   “We believe in the dignity and right to life of every human being. The threat of nuclear arms poisons the soul of humanity, and their use by any state or leader would be an immoral act against humanity and against God’s creation.”   The Treaty opened for signature at the United Nations on 20 September 2017. Once ratified, it will make the possession, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law.   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: 1. Full text of the letter sent to the Secretary of State is copied below 2. An image of Bishop Nolan is available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/25508101134/in/album- 72157666531058155/ Full text of Letter Dear Secretary of State, As you are aware, the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at the UN on 20 September 2017. Once ratified, this treaty will make the possession use and threat of use of nuclear weapons illegal under international law. We believe in the dignity and right to life of every human being and that nuclear weapons violate that dignity and threaten that life. It is evident that the use of nuclear weapons would have indiscriminate and devastating humanitarian consequences that would extend beyond the borders of any single nation state. The World Council of Churches has stated ‘that as long as such weapons exist, they pose a threat to humanity and to creation’. Pope Francis has condemned not just the threat of use, but the possession of nuclear arms as they serve to create a culture of fear for all humankind and consume vast amounts of human and financial resources that could be better used for human development. The threat of nuclear arms poisons the soul of humanity, and their use by any state or leader would be an immoral act against humanity and against creation. Those signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons agreed not to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, stockpile, transfer or receive nuclear weapons. The 122 governments so far who have signed the Treaty recognise along with countless numbers of people throughout the world that we have lived with these weapons for far too long and that they must now be outlawed and eliminated. Successive governments of both major parties have affirmed their commitment to multilateral disarmament for the last 50 years, however the decision by Parliament to spend billions of pounds renewing the UK’s arsenal of mass destruction in times of austerity is not a commitment to peacebuilding and is contrary to our commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The British Government, by signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, would be taking a positive step towards fulfilling those commitments. We, the undersigned, ask you to urgently develop and publish a transition plan so that the UK is ready to sign and ratify the treaty at the earliest opportunity. We pledge to continue to do our part to realise a world without nuclear weapons. Bishop William Nolan President of the Scottish Catholic Bishops’ Justice and ...

New Safeguarding Manual comes into force

| 21st May 2018 | Blogging

In a letter sent to all Catholic parishes over the weekend, Bishop Joseph Toal, who is responsible for Safeguarding on behalf of the Bishops ofScotland,has marked the publication of new national Safeguarding standards which come into force on Monday 21stMay.   In his letter, Bishop Toal commends the publication of ‘In God’s Image’, a new and extensive manual which offers comprehensive guidance and instruction on every aspect of Safeguarding in the Catholic Church.   On behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland, he writes:   “Your Bishops want you to know that we aspire to the highest standards of care and protection of all, and we are committed to rebuilding trust and confidence in the ways in which we ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults are kept safe.”   The publication of these new materials marks the end of a period in which the Church has been implementing the recommendations of the McLellan Commission that reported in 2015, with rigorous oversight by an Independent Review Group chaired by Baroness Helen Liddell.   Bishop Toal states that engagement with survivors will continue to be an important task for the Church:   “For some years now, each Bishop has been meeting with survivors and will continue to do so. Given the profound and sensitive nature of this issue, such encounters take place discreetly, at times and paces suited to the needs of survivors.”   Adding:   “Through the protection and care we show to all, and through the compassion, healing and justice we offer to those who have survived abuse, we must continue to renew, rebuild and restore faith and hope in the church by offering faith and hope to one another. “   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:   The new manual can be viewed here:    https://ingodsimage.bcos.org.uk/      Full text of the letter sent to parishes is copied below.   Pastoral Letter for distribution to Congregations on Pentecost Sunday 2018   My Dear People,   I write, on behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland, to draw your attention to the publication of our Church’s new Safeguarding materials which come into force on 21stMay 2018.  These include ‘In God’s Image’, the document which offerscomprehensive guidance and instruction on every aspect of Safeguarding, including compliance with new Safeguarding standards.  This hasbeen shaped by the recent experience and developing expertise of those involved in the front line of Safeguarding in the Church, both in Scotland and internationally.In ratifying this publication, the Bishops have taken the opportunity to repeat and renew apologies made to those who have suffered any form of abuse, at any time, by anyone representing the Church.     Your Bishops want you to know that we aspire to the highest standards of care and protection of all, and we are committed to rebuilding trust and confidence in the ways in which we ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults are kept safe.  We are most grateful to the teams of Safeguarding personnel in all Dioceses and to over 9,000 trained volunteers who support the work of parishes and religious congregations across Scotland.     The publication of these materials marks the end of a period in which the Church has been working quietly, but tirelessly, to implement the recommendations of the McLellan Commission that reported in August 2015.     Since 2013 we have published annual audits of allegations reported to us each year. Last month, we also published a historical review of non-recent cases of abuse, covering the period 1943–2005. The publication of our annual audits, the historical review and our new Safeguarding materials demonstrate our ongoing commitment to openness and transparency.     We recognise, however, that pu...

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia backs ‘journalism of moral integrity’

| 10th May 2018 | Blogging

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Communications Commission of the Bishops Conference of Scotland, has written to all 500 Catholic parishes this weekend (12/13 May) to mark World Communications Day.     This year, Pope Francis has chosen ‘Truth’ as the theme of his Communications Day message and bemoaned the persistent spread of “fake news”. In his letter, based on the Pope’s theme, Archbishop Tartaglia writes:     “Pope Francis reminds us that Communication is part of God’s plan for us, allowing us to express and share all that is true, good and beautiful.”     Pope Francis has urged Catholics to:     “…contribute to our shared commitment to stemming the spread of fake news and of rediscovering the dignity of journalism and the personal responsibility of journalists to communicate the truth.”     Calling on Catholics to be partners in this quest for truth Archbishop Tartaglia says: “Truth is not just a conceptual reality that regards how we judge things, defining them as true or false. Rather truth involves our whole life…it carries with it the sense of support, solidarity and trust. Journalists are called to be protectors of news and to promote the truth”     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 1. Full text of Archbishop Targtaglia Letter is copied below. 2. Full text of Pope Francis message for World Communications Day is copied below. My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ In his message for Communications Sunday this year, Pope Francis reminds us that Communication is part of God’s plan for us, allowing us to express and share all that is true, good, and beautiful. But he warns us, that when we yield to our own pride and selfishness, we can distort our ability to communicate. The capacity to twist the truth is a human failing. Today we are witnessing the spread of what has come to be known as “fake news”. This has caused the Pope to make truth the theme of this year’s communications message, when he urges us to: “contribute to our shared commitment to stemming the spread of fake news and to rediscovering the dignity of journalism and the personal responsibility of journalists to communicate the truth.” The term “fake news” refers to the spreading of disinformation online or in the traditional media based on non-existent or distorted data designed to deceive and manipulate the reader by mimicking real news. Social networks can allow untrue stories to spread so quickly that even authoritative denials fail to contain the damage. Such disinformation can discredit and demonise while fomenting conflict and spreading arrogance and hatred. Preventing and identifying the way disinformation works calls for a profound and careful process of discernment. So how do we defend ourselves? The most radical antidote to the virus of falsehood is purification by the truth. In Christianity, truth is not just a conceptual reality that regards how we judge things, defining them as true or false. Rather, truth involves our whole life. In the Bible, it carries with it the sense of support, solidity, and trust. We discover and rediscover the truth when we experience it within ourselves in the loyalty and trustworthiness of the One who loves us. This alone can liberate us, as in the words of the Gospel according to John: "The truth will set you free". To discern the truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness. I would like to quote at length from the Pope’s message and urge you to read his text in full which is available on the website of the Catholic Media Office at www.scmo.org. The Pope says; 'The best antidotes to falsehoods are not strategies, but people: people who are not greedy but ready to listen, people...

Archbishop Leo Cushley celebrates first ever Mass in Scottish Parliament

| 28th March 2018 | Blogging

28 March 2018     Today, 28 March, at 12.30pm Archbishop Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh, will celebrate what is believed to be the first ever Mass in the Scottish Parliament. All MSPs are invited to attend mass, which takes place during Holy Week.     Commenting on the occasion, Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office said:     ‘The celebration of Holy Mass, the summit of Catholic life, is an opportunity to express prayers for the work of our elected representatives and for the common good of society. Of course, Holyrood means Holy Cross, so in that sense, parliament is a most fitting place for this historic celebration.’       Archbishop Leo Cushley said:     "It is a great privilege to be officially invited to offer Holy Mass within the Scottish Parliament, the first such invitation since the parliament's re-establishment 19 years ago. It is a generous gesture which seems to recognise that Catholics are valued participants in the civic life of contemporary Scotland, where we seek to work with others in advancing the common good."      ENDS   Peter 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: 1. Images will be available from Paul McSherry on at paul.mcsherry@ntlworld.com or 07770393960....