scmo_banner_news.jpg


Clarification on sexual health strategy sought  

Speaking to a meeting of Catholic Youth Officers tomorrow, Cardinal Keith O'Brien will comment on his recent intervention into the debate on Scotland's sexual health strategy.  

The Cardinal will welcome assurances given recently by the First Minister and call for; "urgent clarification on a number of issues which are of intense interest to me and to those who have written to me"  

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

ENDS  


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


On Sunday 29 August 2004, I addressed the issue of Scotland s sexual health strategy in an article published in a Sunday newspaper. Although a public consultation on the subject ran for six months earlier this year, there had not, to my knowledge, been wide public debate or detailed media interest in the topic.  



I suggested, that sexual health policy in Scotland was in crisis. I argued, that although a variety of detailed submissions containing compelling evidence had been prepared by many individuals and groups, including the Catholic Church to the formal consultation, evidence from around Scotland and across the world, left me doubting whether we really were likely to change course or deploy new thinking in this area.  



As a former teacher, now a Bishop and a Cardinal, I realised that the proposals and the eventual decisions of the Scottish Executive, were of vital importance to my own Catholic community, as also for the good or otherwise of the whole people of Scotland. Publication of my article ignited wide public interest and debate. It was indeed stated that following my article more debate had taken place in the 48 hours after the article than in the previous 48 weeks . Comments were made by other Church leaders, leaders of other faiths, our First Minister, Health Minister and MSPs, as well as by those involved in the teaching profession, in trade unions and, of course, by parents themselves. It was very heartening to see so many people at last entering into public debate on such an important subject.  



Newspaper headlines on Tuesday 31 August, stating: ˜Sexual Disease soaring in the Lothians , brought home to me again just how urgent this debate has become. The report stated: Sexually transmitted disease cases are rising ˜alarmingly in the Lothians, infection rates have doubled for some conditions over the past five years, with herpes, gonorrhoea, syphilis and Chlamydia all on the increase.  



As the days have passed, I have considered how best I can clarify my concerns in the hope of moving the debate forward.  



Before clarifying my concerns, I would first like to welcome the recent assurances from the First minister. I do admire the integrity of the First Minister and his clear statement that despite the recommendation in the consultative document in paragraph 4-17, that: sex education should be defined as sex and relationships education (SRE) (and) introduced in pre-school , the Scottish Executive had no intention of seeing that there were sex education lessons to pre-school children.  



The First Minister also restated an earlier assurance, that the Scottish Executive had no plans to approve the distribution of the morning after pill in schools. Again, this statement was issued despite the implication of increased health service activity in schools given by the consultative document in paragraphs 4.20 and 4.21, where it speaks of: plans to improve links between schools and sexual health services and evidence which has been produced of school girls being given the morning after pill outwith school hours with assistance from the schools health services.  



The fact that the Minister for Health, Malcolm Chisholm MSP endorsed and repeated these  

assurances was most reassuring “ but I would ask him to consider the ways in which the sexual health services are operating within schools and indeed whether or not they are encouraging  

under-16-year-olds to break the laws of our country by indulging in under-age sex.  



The wider debate however, concerning as it does, the future health, physical and moral, of the young people of Scotland, must continue. Again, I ask the Scottish Executive to urgently consider alternative approaches to sexual health, which set sexual activity within a moral context and provide young people with negotiating skills to resist peer pressure and support to enhance their self esteem. As the Sexual Health Strategy is soon to be produced, I would also seek urgent clarification on a number of issues which are of intense interest to me and to those who have written to me:  




1. Iwould like confirmation that sex and relationships education resources andapproaches which use suggestive role-playing, graphic imagery or intimatequestioning will not be used in pre-school or primary schools and that noapproach will be used in isolation from any guidance on basic moral values.  

1. Iwould also like confirmation that The MorningAfter Pill will not be made available in confidence to schoolchildrenwithout parental consent, either within schools or facilitated by healthworkers in and around schools  

1. Willparents as the primary educators of their children, be involved indiscussions with regard to the values being imparted to their children andgiven access to the resources used in schools for teaching sex andrelationships education  

1. Willthe right of denominational schools to set protocols governing the work ofhealth professionals be respected. This will require, among other things,a commitment on the part of all those working in Catholic schools, touphold the moral teaching, faith tradition and sacramental life of theCatholic Church.  


5. Will consideration be given to the preparation of new guidelines to be issued to all health agencies setting out the criteria under which confidentiality when dealing with minors should apply.  



6. Will abstinence-based approaches as a matter of urgency now be piloted in Scotland.  





The Catholic Church has prepared various resources for use in sex and relationships education over the years, always respecting the young people themselves and the rights of their parents, their primary educators. To further bring forward this debate, I offer an assurance that all agencies of the Catholic church stand willing to share best practice with other agencies operating in the field of sexual health, particularly involving children and young people. I remain committed to encouraging dialogue between agencies operating in this field. Likewise, along with the First Minister and many others, I share a concern for the wellbeing of our children, for the rights of the parents of our children, and for the sexual health of all in our country. My conviction remains however, that these needs will be best served through abstinence-based approaches and support for and the promotion of the institution of marriage, the basic building block of our society.  

Subscribe to Updates

Subscribe to:
Like   Back to Top   Seen 104 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

IRG Press Release

| 7 days ago | Blogging

Monday 3 December 2018     The Independent Review Group (IRG) established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland held a meeting today, (3 December 2018), with stakeholders from throughout the Catholic Church to announce and prepare for a professional audit of safeguarding in two Dioceses in Scotland to be conducted by Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Children in Scotland (CIS).     The Dioceses randomly chosen from the 8 in Scotland are the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and the Diocese of Galloway. The outcome of this detailed work is intended to ensure full implementation of the McLellan Commission’s recommendations and put in place a robust system of safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults that can be measured against the best international standards.     Helen Liddell, Chair of the IRG commented: -     "We cannot eliminate the pain of those who experienced abuse in the past, but we can put in place not just procedures but a culture that both supports them and protects all those who most need our care and compassion in future".     “I chair a group of outstanding and experienced professionals who are committed to making sure children and vulnerable adults come to no harm when in the care of the Church. They have reviewed in considerable detail the self-administered audits of all the Scottish Dioceses and that knowledge, together with the professional audits announced today, will form the basis for putting in place procedures that meet the requirements of the McLellan Commission recommendations and that can stand up to the most rigorous analysis.”     “I am grateful that the Bishops Conference of Scotland have recognised the independence of the Review Group and have agreed to these procedures. The results of the audits will be made public at the same time as they are released to BCOS”.     ENDS     Note to Editors:     For further information, contact Richard Riley rileyofnorthiam@aol.com- 07817 540144   The Social Care Institute for Excellence is an independent charitywhich advises on; Safeguarding, social care, health, housing and support to children and adults.https://www.scie.org.uk   IRG Members Biographical details:   Helen Liddell (Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke) Chair, is a former Member of Parliament and Secretary of State for Scotland. She is a member of the House of Lords.    Bartolomeo Biagini is an educational consultant with extensive experience of leadership of children’s services, inspection and review.  He was formerly a lead HM inspector of education with responsibility for inclusion and was involved in child protection inspections.    Gordon Jeyes OBE was the UK's first Director of Children's Services and retired recently as the first Chief Executive of Ireland's Child and Family Agency (Tusla).     Roisin McGoldrick is a former member of the McLellan Commission. She is a registered social worker and is currently employed as a teaching fellow in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at Strathclyde University.     Lesley Ann Russell is an experienced charity trustee and manager, specialising in organisation change, management of risk and safeguarding.      Donald Urquhart is the National Safeguarding Adviser to the Scottish Episcopal Church.  He is a retired police officer and has worked as both a lead officer and an independent chair of child protection committees in Scotland.     Lisa Markham is a safeguarding professional with extensive experience including work within the Church.     McLellan Commission’s 8 principal recommendations:     Support for the survivors of abuse must be an absolute priority for the Catholic Church in Scotland in the field of safeguarding. The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland should make a public apology to all survivors of abuse within the Church.     The ...

Minister backs ‘enormous contribution’ of Catholic Church to life in Scotland

| 27th November 2018 | Blogging

Tuesday 27 November 2018     This evening (Tuesday 27 November, 6pm) the Catholic Bishops of Scotland will join members of Parliament at a special exhibition in Holyrood to mark the significant contribution of the Church to Scottish society and beyond.     The event highlights the extensive work carried out by agencies and commissions of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and its associated organisations.     Speaking ahead of the event, Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government who will welcome the exhibition said:     “I am delighted to be able to help celebrate the enormous contribution the Catholic Church makes to life in Scotland, and further afield. The Church has a hugely positive impact on the lives of so many people, including supporting many of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, and we greatly value our relationships with the Catholic community. I am looking forward to meeting and working with the new President of the Bishop’s Conference, Bishop Gilbert, as well as representatives from the diverse range of organisations attending.”     Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office said:     “When you talk about the Catholic Church you don’t often think of the innumerable instances of selfless charity that go unnoticed each and every day. Feeding the poor, tending to the sick and the lonely, standing up for the vulnerable and the defenceless.      “Day in day out the Church is doing this great work and is making a significant and positive contribution to Scottish society. And it’s all out of love. This event, highlighting some of that work to our parliamentarians is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the continuing influence of Christ in our society.”     ENDS     Peter Kearney  Director  Catholic Media Office  5 St. Vincent Place  Glasgow  G1 2DH  0141 221 1168 07968 122291  pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to editors:     You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/camera crew to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 27 November at 6pm.   The relics of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, will also be welcomed to the Scottish Parliament for the evening from the National shrine of St Andrew, St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.   Students from Holyrood Secondary School, Edinburgh will provide musical entertainment on the night.   All of Scotland’s eight Catholic Bishops will be in attendance.   Images will be available from the Scottish Catholic Media Office at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/albums/with/72157666531058155   A full list of exhibitors is available at: https://www.scmo.org/index.php?page=news-releases&perma=1543241700&article=church-highlights-vital-work-at-holyrood-exhibitio ...

Church highlights vital work at Holyrood exhibition

| 26th November 2018 | Blogging

Monday 26 November 2018     CALL NOTICE     Tomorrow evening (Tuesday 27 November) the Catholic Bishops of Scotland will join members of Parliament at a special exhibition in Holyrood to mark the significant contribution of the Church to Scottish society and beyond.     The event, sponsored by Elaine Smith MSP, highlights the extensive work carried out by agencies and commissions of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and its associated organisations.     Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland said:     “The bishops of Scotland are very grateful to Elaine Smith, MSP, for sponsoring this event and to Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, for her support. The Church in Scotland welcomes this opportunity to showcase at least something of what we do. The Church is a world-wide, complex and many-faceted institution but in the end, it is people; names, faces, bodies and souls. It is people helping people, not just from cradle to grave, but from before birth to after death, and everything in between. What we could never do as individuals we can do together from prayer to food banks, from the kind word to the very hands-on practical, from here to places in the world hit by disaster or oppression. It’s often parallel or complementary to the social provision of Government and the many agencies of civil society and the good works of our fellow-Christians of other denominations.”     Bishop Gilbert added;     “The word ‘Catholic’ means universal. And I think all of what will be on display at the special exhibition in Holyrood reflects our desire to reach out and create unity. At our best, all we want to be is at the service of each and every human being, created in the image and likeness of God, endowed with an innate dignity and inalienable rights, which neither we nor the law nor government create, but which we can strive to recognise and serve.”     Elaine Smith, MSP, said;     “Having hosted the first ever mass at the Scottish Parliament this year during Holy Week, I am now delighted to sponsor this prestigious event, showcasing the vital charitable and valuable community work undertaken by the Catholic Church.”     Agencies in attendance include Blairs Museum which houses a collection of church textiles, sacred silver and paintings belonging to the Church and Missio Scotland which provides financial support to communities in mission countries.     Other lay catholic organisations such as The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP), which seeks to combat poverty and promote social justice, will also be present. In 2015/16, its 2,000 members carried out 53,493 home visits, 12,261 hospital visits and financially assisted 6,196 families across Scotland’s eight Catholic dioceses.     ENDS     Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 1168 07968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to editors:     You are invited to send a reporter/photographer/camera crew to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 27 November at 6pm.   The relics of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, will also be welcomed to the Scottish Parliament for the evening from the National shrine of St Andrew, St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.   Students from Holy Rood Secondary School, Edinburgh will provide musical entertainment on the night.   All of Scotland’s eight Catholic Bishops will be in attendance.   Images will be available from the Scottish Catholic Media Office at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/139632090@N07/albums/with/72157666531058155     A full list of exhibitors is shown below:   The Anscombe Bioethics Centre - The Anscombe Bioethics Centre (www.bioethics.org.uk) is a Catholic academic institute that engages with the moral questions arising in health care and medical research.    Blairs Museum - House...

Pax Christi Scotland launches with inaugural conference in Glasgow

| 14th November 2018 | Blogging

Wednesday 14 November     Pax Christi Scotland, a newly-formed peace project, will officially launch later this month (23-25 November) with its inaugural conference at the Conforti Centre in Coatbridge, hosted and funded by the Xaverian Missionaries.       Its mission is to promote peace in the family, the school, the parish, and the wider community. The project will fall under the guiding principles of Pax Christi International (the Peace of Christ) a global, Gospel-based faith movement, whose mission is to create a world where people can live in peace, without fear of violence in any form.      Key speakers at the event include Liz Dornan of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, who will address the issue of promoting an environment of peace in our schools.     Marian Pallister, member of the Pax Christi Scotland steering group said:      “Pope Francis has encouraged us to create a society in which nonviolence pervades all aspects of our lives. It is no longer enough to demonstrate against nuclear weapons and campaign against arms sales. We must start at grass roots level to instil an ethos of nonviolence in the home, the playground, and the parish. If we can be at peace with our physical neighbour, it becomes easier to reach out in peace and love to the ‘neighbours’ Christ suggests - the migrant, the refugee, the stranger.     “Pax Christi Scotland aims to nurture nonviolence at every level.”     ENDS     Peter Kearney Director Catholic Media Office 5 St. Vincent Place Glasgow G1 2DH 0141 221 1168 07968 122291 pk@scmo.org www.scmo.org     Note to Editors:   For further information about Pax Christi Scotland contact Marian Pallister, marian.pallister@zen.co.uk, or 07768 731145     If you would like to attend the conference please contact Anna at Conforti, anna@confortiinstitute.org. Registration will be from 5pm on the Friday and all meals from Friday supper to Sunday lunch are included.  ...