scmo_banner_news.jpg


Friday 17 November 2017

 

Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have today (Friday 17 November) published a letter sent to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, urging her to engage in renewed discussions and dialogue on the issue of abortion.

 

Their letter, which is copied to Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport and Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport, follows the recent fiftieth anniversary of the Abortion Act (1967) which took place on 27 October, last month.

 

The Bishops write that “the Church continues to speak up for the intrinsic value of human life and the good of both the child in the womb and its mother.” Adding, “This is crucially important, in a world where the rights of the weak and vulnerable are increasingly called into question, undermined and attacked.” The Bishops’ letter, expresses “a willingness to engage with Government on this most important issue”

 

The Bishops also raise concerns about the provision of abortion services in Scotland to women from Northern Ireland and the recent announcement by the Scottish Government to allow some women to take misoprostol, the abortion pill, at home without any clinical support.

 

Their concerns echo a recent nationwide ComRes poll which found that most people do not support current abortion laws, including (60%) who would like to see time limits for abortion reduced (among women the figure is 70%) and 82% who believe the law should require a waiting period of five days between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion taking place.

 

The Bishops expressed their desire to work with the government to protect human life at all stages, and to speak up for the whole of humanity irrespective of age, colour, creed or socioeconomic status, and to move forward in a spirit of cooperation in search of the truth.

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

 


1. Text of the letter sent to the First Minister is copied below.

 

2. A copy of the recent joint statement on abortion by Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Philip Tartaglia is copied below.

 

3. ComRes Poll Findings are available here: http://www.scmo.org/index.php?page=news-releases&perma=1495378800&article=scots-support-reduced-abortion-  time-limits-and-sta

 

4.  Interviews with Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office are available on request.
Please contact: 
Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office
T: 0131 556 6771
M: 07903 952 985
5. Other Media Enquiries contact:
Scottish Catholic Media Office
0141 221 1168
Letter sent to First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
Dear First Minister

Joint Statement of Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales on the fiftieth anniversary of the Abortion Act 1967
Friday 27 October, marked the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the 1967 Abortion Act. To coincide with this the Bishops of Scotland and England & Wales released a joint statement on abortion, which we enclose for your information. 
The Church continues to speak up for the intrinsic value of human life and the good of both the child in the womb and its mother. This is crucially important, in a world where the rights of the weak and vulnerable are increasingly called into question, undermined and attacked. We urge political leaders, governments and secular authorities to see that all humanity is worth protecting; a task which is the responsibility of us all. Refusing to recognise the intrinsic value of both lives is profoundly destructive of humanity.
The Church remains deeply concerned about the continued use of the Abortion Act and its consequences, including the tragic compromising of human life and the damage done to women who feel that they have no other choice than to have an abortion. It is also concerned about the provision of abortion services to women from Northern Ireland and the recent announcement of the Scottish Government to allow some women to take misoprostol, the abortion pill, at home without any clinical support. With respect to this matter in particular, since abortion is never the answer to a crisis or unwanted pregnancy, making abortion easier ignores the disturbing reality that an innocent human life is ended. 
Additionally, this decision is at odds with a recent nationwide ComRes poll which found that most people (60%) would like to see time limits for abortions reduced, among women the figure is 70%. The poll also showed overwhelming support (76%) for the proposal that doctors, should “verify in person that a patient seeking an abortion is not under pressure from a third party to undergo the abortion”, while 82% of Scots believe the law should require a waiting period of five days between an initial consultation with a doctor and an abortion taking place, in order to ensure that the mother has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her. Since it is clear, that a majority of our fellow citizens do not support the current abortion laws, the decision to ease them further appears to be in conflict with public opinion.
The Church seeks to speak up for the whole of humanity, for each individual, irrespective of age, colour, creed, or socioeconomic status. The right to life of each human being is not dependent on any particular personal characteristic or of the status of another. It is rooted simply in the reality of their humanity. This is equality at its most fundamental.
On behalf of the Church in Scotland we express a willingness to engage with Government on this most important issue. With our shared desire to protect humanity, to tackle the damage done by abortion, and to give each individual every opportunity to flourish, we believe that we have a starting point for dialogue and we would be delighted to meet with you to discuss this further.
May this anniversary be the catalyst for renewed discussions on the issue of abortion in Scotland and may it serve as an opportunity to bring people together to go forward in the search of truth.
Yours sincerely
+ Philip Tartaglia, President, Archbishop of Glasgow
+ Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh
+ Joseph Toal, Vice-President, Bishop of Motherwell
+ Hugh Gilbert, Episcopal Secretary, Bishop of Aberdeen
+ Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld
+ John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley
+ William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway
+ Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles
Encl. 
Cc Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport
Cc Aileen Campbell, Minister for Public Health and Sport
Cardinal Vincent Nichols & Archbishop Philip Tartaglia sign joint statement on abortion
23 October 2017
The Presidents of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales & The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland have released a joint Statement on Abortion to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Assent of the Abortion Act which takes place on Friday 27th October 2017. The full text of the statement together with an executive summary are shown below:
Executive Summary
This statement, published by the Catholic Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 UK Abortion Act, is addressed not only to Catholics of our countries, but more broadly to all people who seek to uphold the dignity of human life and protect the unborn child.  Over the last fifty years, the bishops of our countries, along with many other people, have spoken consistently in favour of the intrinsic value of human life and both the good of the child in the womb and the good of the mother.  This anniversary provides an opportunity to lament the loss of life due to abortion and seek a change of minds and hearts about the good of the child in the womb and the care of mothers who are pregnant.
Fifty years ago, few envisaged the possibility of that there would be almost 200,000 abortions in Great Britain in 2015.  Every abortion is a tragedy and few consider that abortion is the desirable or best solution to a pregnancy, which may be challenging on account of many different factors.  The complex set of conditions in which a woman finds herself pregnant and may consider having an abortion may limit the exercise of freedom and diminish moral culpability.  When abortion is the choice made by a woman, the unfailing mercy of God and the promise of forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation are always available.  There is always a way home to a deeper relationship with God and the Church, as recent Popes have emphasised, which can heal and bring peace.

Today the language of ‘choice’ dominates discourse about marriage, gender, family and abortion. This needs further exploration.  Choice has come to mean doing whatever I feel to be right for me - a very subjective view of the good - rather than taking into account a wider set of fundamental values.  This is a very inadequate understanding of free choice, which requires an education in important truths about what is truly good and the possibility of other options.  In this case, these must include the good of the unborn child, care and support for pregnant mothers, and the responsibility of the father.

This statement presents a number of different challenges for the future: a new understanding of the intrinsic value and worth of every human life in the womb, a better protection of unborn children diagnosed with a disability, a great need for education in moral responsibility about human sexuality and the meaning of sexual expression within marriage. Many professionals face the challenge that respect for conscientious objection against abortion has been eroded. Personal conscience is inviolable and nobody should be forced to act against his or her properly informed conscience on these matters. We encourage greater debate about this right and these challenges in our society.

 

Finally we thank many people, of religious faith and none, who have sought to protect unborn life and the life of the mother over the last fifty years; mothers who have continued their pregnancies in difficult circumstances, politicians who have sought to reform the legislation to better protect unborn life, those people whose prayers have been offered for greater respect to be shown to the wonder of the life in the womb, for mothers and those whose lives are cut short by abortion. Together let us better cherish life.

 

Statement on Abortion

 

This statement, published by the Catholic Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland is addressed primarily to the Catholics of our countries, but more broadly to all people who seek to uphold the dignity of human life and protect the unborn child. The anniversary of the 1967 UK Abortion Act provides an opportunity to reflect on abortion through the experiences of women and families over the past 50 years, in light of medical and social advances and the ethical issues involved.

 

1. The 50th Anniversary of the Abortion Act

 

The Abortion Act was passed fifty years ago, in part to address the problem of illegal abortions. In 2015 alone, in England and Wales, 185,824 abortions took place. In Scotland, in the same year, there were 12,134. Even despite the concerns raised at the time, it would, perhaps, have been difficult to predict that the number of abortions in our countries would have increased to such an alarming level. With this, there has also been a significant broadening and interpretation of the grounds on which abortions can be carried out. In spite of these statistics, few truly consider that abortion is desirable or the best solution to a pregnancy which may be challenging on account of many different possible factors. Indeed, there is widespread unease among many people who recognise that a woman’s decision to have an abortion carries with it tragic consequences. At the same time, there are strong voices that advocate a woman’s choice. Together, these different views express something of the complexity and dilemmas surrounding abortion and its legislation.

 

2. What does it mean to choose?

 

Over these last fifty years, we, the Catholic Bishops of Scotland, England and Wales, have spoken consistently in favour of the intrinsic value of human life and of the good of the child in the womb and the good of the mother. The lives of both are precious, valued and to be protected. This position differs considerably from that of those who hold that the freedom to choose in the question of abortion must focus on the good of one of these lives alone.

 

During these fifty years, the appeal to freedom of choice in our society has become increasingly centred on the resolution of dilemmas and difficulties according to their emotional impact and our immediate desires. This is a very narrow understanding of choice which ignores any reference to more fundamental values. In this, a subjective desire is often claimed to be a rightful choice. This inadequate interpretation has become a dominant factor which shapes our society's conversation about marriage, gender, family and indeed abortion. Following slogans is never a firm basis for good decisions. Rather, we hold that such decisions require a grounding in good formation and sound perspectives which both adhere and aspire to important truths about what is genuinely good.

 

In making choices, we should always seek to do that which upholds human dignity in the service of human life. Our choices should be the fruit of mature consideration, fully informed of the consequences and implications of our action. We have the gift of free will and also the capacity and responsibility to exercise it well, unless something inhibits our freedom. Good decisions and choices are difficult to make if we are under pressure, frightened, alone, and deeply unsure about what to do. 

 

Each individual’s choice must take into account the wider ramifications of their decisions which, inevitably, have a profound effect beyond the person making them. In the case of abortion, decisions and choices need to acknowledge the duty to cherish human life and to foster its flourishing beyond the circumstances of any one person, however challenging these may be.

 

3. Recognising the difficulty of decisions

 

Deciding to have an abortion is a grave decision. The process of decision making occurs in diverse circumstances and is influenced by different considerations: a perceived threat to mental or physical health; not knowing how to cope with the situation of being pregnant; being alone or pressurised; not knowing where your support will come from; the diagnosis of disability for the child in the womb; knowing that a child will bring extra financial burden on already stretched means. The issue of abortion not only has consequences for mothers, but also affects fathers, both in terms of taking responsibility to protect and care for the children they have conceived and in coping with the impact of abortion. In such situations, the capacity to exercise choice can be compromised with a consequent limitation on a person’s moral culpability.

 

Echoing the teaching of Pope St John Paul II, in his letter The Gospel of Life, paragraph 99, Pope Francis has written of those who have had an abortion:

 

“I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonising and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope.” (Letter to Archbishop Fisichella for the Year of Mercy, 1 September 2015)

 

Both Popes, however, recognise the burden of guilt that often accompanies the decision to destroy a human life in the womb. Both speak insistently of the unfailing mercy of God for all who turn to Him in repentance and with a desire for forgiveness. As Pope St John Paul II said:

 

“If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child.” (The Gospel of Life, paragraph 99)

 

4. The Intrinsic Value and Worth of Every Human Life

 

The 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the truth about the dignity of human life and the vitality and potentiality of the child in the womb. The Church’s consistent affirmation that human life begins at conception emphasises this unique beginning of human existence. The challenge that faces our society today is to recover an understanding of the immeasurable good of each unborn child and to value his or her life with even greater respect.

 

A particular contradiction occurs in relation to the legislation permitting the abortion of an unborn child diagnosed with a disability.  The law of the United Kingdom permits the abortion of a child with disability up to birth and stands in stark contrast to the protection and respect shown to people who experience disabilities after they are born. The past fifty years have witnessed a deepening of society’s respect and understanding for people with disability, and legislation has helped disabled people achieve fulfilling lives. The witness of those who compete in the Paralympic games shines out as a way in which people with disability excel and compete, using their gifts to the full. We hope that greater reflection and consistency in the approach to unborn children with disabilities will lead to a change in understanding, with greater protection provided through new legislation.

 

In comparison with 1967, the prenatal care of unborn children has improved remarkably. Indeed, the survival and healthcare of premature babies has seen significant medical breakthrough and advances. We hold in high esteem all those who dedicate their lives to serving in antenatal and special care baby units for their commitment to nurturing human life in its early stages.

 

The 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act invites further reflection on how women are supported and helped during pregnancy. In comparison with fifty years ago, our society and Church have a much greater acceptance of single mothers, and often provide assistance for those who need it. Much more, however, needs to be done.

 

We recognize that there has also been an erosion of respect for those with conscientious objections against abortion. This has affected members of the medical and healthcare professions who face increasing difficulty in being able to combine their dedicated professional work with their personal conviction. So much talent is being lost to important professional areas. Personal conscience is inviolable and no-one should be forced to act against their properly formed conscience in these matters. This is something which needs greater debate in our society. Most recently we have witnessed the possibility of pharmacists losing their right not to dispense abortifacients if it is against their conscience or religion.  

 

5. Learning to respect life

 

Parents and educators in schools have a particular duty to help shape the values and attitudes of children and young people. Against the dominant cultural trend that often sees abortion as being about “the right to an obvious and free choice,” there is an urgent need to teach about the inviolability of human life, from conception to its natural end, and to help everyone appreciate the value of every human life, without exception.

 

We thank those generous young people who strive to promote pro-life values. They are a real encouragement and inspiration, in the Church and in society. It is vitally important for young people to gain a deep understanding of the meaning of human sexuality and the place of the sexual relationship as an expression of love within marriage. We know that formation in chastity helps young people to flourish in a mature and genuine way. The Church’s continuing work in developing programmes of Love and Relationships Education will help young people to appreciate the beauty of a sexual relationship in the context of marriage, and the gift of parenthood as a vocation in the Lord.

 

6. Giving thanks and looking ahead

 

We have the highest regard for every woman who, in difficult and adverse conditions, has made the courageous decision to continue her pregnancy and give birth to her child. We thank the charities, and those who donate to them, for their solidarity and support.

 

It is our desire and aim that those who face agonising decisions surrounding pregnancy should be fully informed of both the positive alternatives which would enable them to keep their child and the tragic consequences of abortion.

 

We are grateful to all those who work through our political system to protect human life from the moment of conception. We urge those who seek to reform the current abortion legislation to continue their good work.

 

We are aware that people of all faiths, and of many different convictions, uphold the duty to protect the unborn child. This 50th anniversary needs to bring about a new debate to change attitudes towards human life in the womb, to promote what it means to make good and authentic choices, and to protect and care for mothers and their children.

 

As Catholics, we urge that, throughout our countries, prayer and fasting be used for the protection of human life, especially for life within the womb, for all expectant mothers, for fathers and families. We ask the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St Raymund Nonnatus, the patron saint of childbirth, midwives, children, pregnant women.

 

Let the final word come from Pope Francis, preaching in 2005 on the Feast of St Raymund, when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires:

 

“All of us must care for life, cherish life, with tenderness, warmth…to give life is to open our heart, and to care for life is to give oneself in tenderness and warmth for others, to have concern in my heart for others. Caring for life from the beginning to the end. What a simple thing, what a beautiful thing…So, go forth and don’t be discouraged. Care for life. It’s worth it.”

 

Vincent Cardinal Nichols        
President               
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of         
England and Wales
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia
President
The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 132 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....