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Scots support reduced abortion time limits and statutory waiting period

Posted on May 24, 2017 at 5:29 AM Comments comments (19)


A new poll out today (Sunday 21 May) shows that most people (60%) would like to see time limits for abortions reduced, among women the figure is 70%. ComRes interviewed 2,008 British adults online between 12th and 14th May 2017. Data was weighted to be representative of all GB adults. 

 
61% of Scottish respondents opposed any moves towards making it mandatory for doctors to have to participate in abortion procedures against their will, while 51% oppose moves to compel pharmacists to prescribe a pill against their will, if they believe that pill will end the life of an unborn child.

 
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”. 65% oppose tax-payer money being spent on abortions overseas, 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.

 
Responding to the findings, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said;

“This weekend (20/21 May) in parishes across Scotland a letter from the Catholic Bishops will be read at all Masses, urging voters to engage with our democracy and to remember that human life at every stage of development is precious and must be protected. As we remind our politicians that abortion is always morally unacceptable, it is heartening to see that a majority of our fellow citizens do not support the current abortion laws.”

 
Archbishop Tartaglia added:
“I welcome the fact that not only is there no demand for time limits to be raised but 70% of women would like to see them reduced, that 82% of Scots would like to see a statutory waiting period introduced after a consultation and before an abortion takes place and that over half of Scottish respondents do not believe that doctors (61%) or pharmacists (51%) should be compelled to participate in abortion procedures.”

 
“These findings are both sobering and heartening, they undermine the shrill calls of the so-called pro-choice movement that abortion laws should be loosened. They send a powerful message to Scotland’s politicians at a time when the Scottish Parliament has been given control over this legislation and they remind us that the pro-life cause is alive and well in our country.”

 
The poll results have been released to coincide with the launch of the “Where Do They Stand” website. The site will allow voters, to find out where your local candidates stand on life issues - abortion, assisted suicide and embryo research - by visiting www.wheredotheystand.org.uk 

 
Headline results

• Only 1% want the abortion time limit raised to birth

• 70% of women would like the current time limit for abortion to be lowered.

• 59% of women would like the abortion time limit lowered to 16 weeks or lower.

• 65% oppose UK taxpayer money being spent on abortions overseas.

• 93% of women want independent abortion counselling introduced.

• 91% of women want a sex-selective abortion ban.

• 79% of general population want a five-day consideration period before abortion.

• 84% of women want improved pregnancy support for women in crisis.

• 76% of population want introduction of doctors verifying women not coerced.

• 70% of parents want introduction of parental consent for girls 15 and under to get abortions.

 

Results by question

Parental or guardian consent should be required for girls aged 15 or under to undergo an abortion

• 65% general population agree (21% disagree) (“just under ⅔”)

• 70% of parents with children 18 or under in household agree (16% disagree)

• 73% Conservative voters agree (16% disagree)


Doctors should be required by new legislation to verify in person that a patient seeking an abortion is not under pressure from a third party to undergo the abortion

• 76% general population agree (11% disagree)

• 77% females agree (11% disagree)

• 77% 18-24 age agree (12% disagree)

• 81% Conservative voters agree (10% disagree)


In Great Britain the upper time limit for abortion is 24 weeks or approximately six months' gestation. By comparison, in most other EU countries the limit for most abortions is 12 weeks or lower. In light of this difference what do you think the time limit should be in Britain?

• General population

o 1% - It should be extended to birth

o 1% - It should be extended above 24 weeks

o 20% - It should remain at 24 weeks

o 10% - It should be reduced to 20 weeks

o 17% - It should be reduced to 16 weeks

o 21% - It should be reduced to 12 weeks (biggest group)

o 12% - It should be reduced to below 12 weeks


• Females

o 1% - It should be extended to birth

o 1% - It should be extended above 24 weeks

o 17% - It should remain at 24 weeks

o 11% - It should be reduced to 20 weeks

o 18% - It should be reduced to 16 weeks

o 24% - It should be reduced to 12 weeks (biggest group)

o 17% - It should be reduced to below 12 weeks

 
• Political

o It should be extended to birth

§ Below 1% - Labour

o It should be reduced to 20 weeks or lower

§ 60% - Conservatives

§ 60% - Labour

§ 65% - Liberal Democrats

 
• Parents with children 18 or under in household agree

o 69% - It should be reduced to 20 weeks or lower

 
Where a doctor believes abortion to be the intentional killing of a human being, would you support or oppose the Government making it mandatory for doctors to have to participate in abortion procedures against their will, if they want to remain in their profession?

• 56% general population oppose (22% don’t know, 22% support) “only 1/5 of the population support”

• 61% Scottish oppose (23% don’t know, 15% support)

• 66% of Liberal Democrat voters oppose (19% don’t know, 16% disagree)

 
In your opinion, would you support or oppose requiring a pharmacist to prescribe a pill against their will, if they believe that pill will end the life of an unborn child?

• 45% oppose (23% don’t know, 32% support)

• 51% Scottish oppose (22% don’t know, 27% support)

 
Over the past five years, abortion provider Marie Stopes International have been given more than £160 million of taxpayer money to spend overseas, some of which has been used directly to fund abortions. Do you support or oppose tax-payer money going to fund abortions overseas?


• General population

o 65% oppose tax-payer money being spent on abortions overseas (20% support)

§ 46% oppose and feel this money would be better spent back in the UK on other Government priorities

§ 19% oppose and feel this money should be instead spent on other areas of need in developing countries such as basic health care and education

 
• Political

o 79% Conservatives oppose tax-payer money being spent on abortions overseas

 
In the Netherlands, the law requires 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. To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree that in this respect British law should be brought into line with the Netherlands?

• 79% general population agree (12% disagree)

• 82% Scottish agree (8% disagree)


A woman considering abortion should have a legal right to independent counselling from a source that has no financial interest in her decision.

• 89% general population agree (4% disagree)

• 93% women agree (2% disagree)

 
Women who want to continue with their pregnancies, but are under financial pressure to have an abortion, should be given more support to help them through their crisis

• 79% general population agree (10% disagree)

• 84% women agree (7% disagree)

• Younger cohorts have highest support

o 18-24 - 84%

o 35-44 - 83%

o 45-54 - 81%

o 55-64 - 74%

o 65+ - 76%

• 86% of parents with children 18 or under in household agree (7% disagree)

• 90% of Labour supporters agree (4% disagree)


Aborting babies because of their gender should be explicitly banned by the law

• 89% general population agree (5% disagree)

• 91% females agree (4% disagree)

• 93% Scottish agree (4% disagree)

 
ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

This text was taken from the Catholic Parliamentary Office Facebook page.


Catholic Bishops call for faithful to reflect on beauth and goodness of Church teaching ahead of General Election

Posted on May 15, 2017 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)


In a pastoral letter which will be read at all 500 Catholic churches in Scotland this weekend (20/21 May) Scotland's Catholic Bishops, will urge parishioners to participate in the 2017 General Election and to be informed by the teachings of the Church.

 
The detailed statement will invite Catholic voters to consider a number of key issues ahead of casting their vote at the election on June 8th.

 
Commenting on the letter, the Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, Anthony Horan said; “This General election provides an opportunity for Catholics to take their beliefs into the polling station and elect members of parliament who share their concerns.”



The full text of the letter is as follows:


This General Election presents us with an opportunity to reflect on Catholic social teaching. As Christians, we have a civic and moral duty to engage with our democracy. As Catholics, we believe that the primary goal of society should be the common good; that is the good of all people and of the whole person. Indeed, the common good is the very reason political authority exists.

This election provides an opportunity to reflect on the beauty and goodness of Church teaching and to keep that teaching at the forefront of our minds as we engage with candidates across all parties. During elections, a range of issues compete for your attention; we highlight some of them here in the hope that you will reflect on them and raise them with your candidates.

Human Life

Human life at every stage of development is precious and must be protected.  Any laws which permit the wilful ending of life must always be rejected as reprehensible and unjust. We must create a culture of life where the most vulnerable are valued and their dignity respected. The undeniable value of human life, created in the image and likeness of God, is fundamental to the Catholic faith. We should remind our politicians that abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are always morally unacceptable.

Marriage and the Family

Society relies on the building block of the family to exist. The love of man and woman in marriage and their openness to new life is the very basic cell upon which society is built. The wellbeing of society depends on the flourishing and health of family life and those in authority should respond to this with policies that create economic and other advantages for families with children.

Poverty

Sadly, poverty continues to be a scourge for many at home and abroad. Too many people still struggle to make ends meet. This sad reality cannot and should not endure in our country in the twenty-first century. Our concerns should also extend to providing international assistance, while ensuring that aid is not used to support immoral practices such as those which compromise the basic right to life.

Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigration The United Kingdom should be a place where the most vulnerable are welcomed and given the resources necessary to rebuild their lives. At the same time, we should provide for those people living in and around conflict zones, and commit to working towards the peaceful resolution of conflict.

Living in Europe

There are millions of EU citizens living in the UK and millions of UK citizens living across the EU.  Mindful of the uncertainty affecting them, candidates should commit to working towards delivering stability and security for them in future.  Our politicians should forge and renew international partnerships and establish rights for those who wish to work in the UK, in a spirit of cooperation and friendship.

Freedom of Religion and Conscience

Millions of people worldwide are persecuted for their beliefs. People of faith, including Christians, should be able to freely practise their faith and bear witness to it in their lives, without fear of prejudice, intolerance, abuse or violence. Candidates should be committed to the right of people not to be forced to act against their conscience.

Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Trade

The use of any weapon that causes more than individual and proportionate harm to civilians is immoral and, thus, rejected by the Church. The use of weapons of mass destruction is a serious crime against God and against humanity. While states are entitled to possess the means required for legitimate defence, this must not become an excuse for an excessive accumulation of weaponry which becomes a considerable threat to stability and freedom.

Respectful Politics

Often, politicians are tempted to score points or resort to insults. We need politicians who are willing to change this and to take politics in a new direction, where dialogue is respectful, and where different points of view, including those of a religious nature, are tolerated.

As we cast our votes this election, let us bear in mind the words of Pope Francis when he said, “The greatness of any nation is revealed in its effective care of society’s most vulnerable members.” Our nation, our Parliament, and our Government will be judged on how it treats its poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

 
Yours devotedly in Christ,

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

 


With Christianity dying out in Europe we need the family more than ever

Posted on April 6, 2017 at 4:44 AM Comments comments (0)

The prophetic words of John Paul II

It's a real wake up call. Jesus is losing his influence in Europe. Christianity is dying out.


We've known for some time now that Christianity is on the decline in Europe, but recent data released by the Pew Research Center reveals just how stark that decline is.


Indeed, it is the only decline in any religion in any part of the world between 2010 and 2015. But for Christianity's decline in Europe, every religion across all continents witnessed an increase in numbers, including Christianity itself, which is growing rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Islam is also growing rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as Asia Pacific.


But it is in Europe where the real story lies. An astonishing drop of 5.6 million Christian births to deaths has seen the religion plummet across the continent. There are many reasons for this, not least a much greater prevalence of lukewarm Christianity and an increasingly secular culture.


Across the world Islam will continue to grow in greater numbers than Christianity, with a fertility rate of 2.9 compared to 2.6 for Christians. Islam also has the youngest median age in terms of adherents to the faith, at just 24. Hindus are at 27 with Christians at 30.


We have known for some time that Islam would eventually catch up with Christianity in terms of numbers, and within twenty years births to women of Islamic faith will outnumber Christian births. But it is in Europe where there must be deep concern for Christians. Why is the faith struggling so much in that continent?


For European Christians there is undoubtedly a crisis when it comes to the family. Europe's secular influence, with its liberal laws around contraception, abortion and marriage, has chipped away at the hearts and minds of the faithful, giving them an excuse to focus on the self and to set aside the call of Christ to first and foremost love God and neighbour. Families now come in all different shapes and sizes; their constitution often based on the ideological whim of selfish individuals. The idea that a young man and a young woman can look lovingly into one another's eyes, establish a firm and beautiful friendship that leads to the great sacrament of marriage and the bearing of fruit through the birth of new life is dumbed down by the culture of want. And we have all bought into it. It is a sad reflection on our lack of faith.


As Pope John Paul II said, "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live."


We Christians have let down the family, and Europe is the nation Pope John Paul refers to. It is going and if we don't reclaim it the world will eventually go with it.


Europe, to coin a famous song, is most definitely losing its religion and losing Christ. If it is to recover, radical change in attitude is required. Starting with the family.

Cadbury, don't let the bullies win

Posted on April 4, 2017 at 10:07 AM Comments comments (0)

So chocolate maker Cadbury and the National Trust have decided to drop the word 'Easter' from their annual egg hunt events across the UK. Is this a disgrace? Is it absurd? Or is it quite simply "absolutely ridiculous" as Theresa May put it.


I guess companies like Cadbury can do what they want when it comes to their own events and the marketing of their own products which, Cadbury claim, will continue to bear the word 'Easter' on packaging.


I personally think the whole thing is just a little disappointing but not in the least bit surprising. It's disappointing that tradition has been kicked into touch in favour of what I suspect Cadbury see as a more 'inclusive' approach. I mean, who on earth is going to refuse to attend an event simply because the title bears the word 'Easter'? And, if they did, would their hyper sensitive presence be missed?


It's also disappointing, but not altogether surprising, that the real meaning of events like Easter has been lost in our increasingly secular culture of relativism. Is it any wonder terms like 'Easter' are being gradually removed in a world that has no interest in objective reality and truth? We are infinitely obsessed with ourselves and what effect certain things may have on us without any consideration whatsoever for others, or for the common good. A simple, harmless word is suddenly and no less conveniently turned into a term of intolerant discriminatory speak. For the poor sensitive souls who do not align with its meaning, they simply cannot bear the horror it brings. The only logical solution, it seems, is to kill it (oh how this resonates with the real Easter message).


It is, of course, complete nonsense that people can somehow be hurt or offended by the word 'Easter'. But this is the culture that has been created by those who desire no religion in their lives nor indeed the lives of anyone else for that matter. Their goal is an authoritarian regime where religion is no more, and they are carefully taking very small steps towards that goal.


Perhaps Cadbury and the National Trust will see sense and not let the bullies win in this rather sorry pointless debacle. But, in the meantime, lest us rest easy in the comfort of the reality of Easter and the salvation it brings.




Peaceful and prayerful: 40 Days for Life returns to Scotland this Lent

Posted on February 7, 2017 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (1)

During the season of Lent, a number of people will gather outside four hospitals in Scotland in quiet, prayerful vigil to stand up for the inherent dignity and value of human life. The 40 Days for Life vigils will be held outside the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, the Royal Infirmaries in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and Ninewells in Dundee. It is peaceful, it is calm, and there is certainly no aggression or scare tactics adopted, despite what the mainstream media try to portray.

 
For those who claim that the 40 Days for Life event is anything but peaceful and prayerful, I urge them to attend the event and to see for themselves precisely the manner in which this so called ‘protest’ is undertaken by those involved. There is no desire to harass anyone, and there is certainly no desire to be abusive. It is better to witness first hand the reality of the situation, rather than buy the lies of those who would prefer that this vigil was something that it clearly isn’t.

 
There will, of course, be times when someone has recently undergone an abortion or suffered a miscarriage and, in coming across the vigil, they experience distress and upset. I don’t think anyone attending the event would feel anything but sympathy and compassion for those in such a situation. The pro-life movement would not be in keeping with its belief that all human life is precious if it did not feel for those who suffer and did not offer them support and consolation. The question is then whether or not, given these instances of distress, the vigil is appropriate. We can put forward a number of arguments for and against, and this will tend to be guided by which side of the abortion debate we sit on. But the reality is this…science is almost entirely settled on the fact that a distinct new human being with their own DNA comes into existence from the moment of conception. This human being is alive and is growing. The baby's brain, spinal cord, heart and other organs begin to form a mere 2/3 weeks following conception. This is why people participate in the 40 Days for Life vigils. They genuinely do not think that it is acceptable for the state to allow for the untimely death of an innocent, defenceless human being at its most vulnerable stage in life.

 
These vigils are peaceful and the only desire of participants is to see that all human life is given a chance. A chance to be someone: to see their very first sun rise; to feel the first snowflake on their hand; to experience the nervous excitement of that first day in school; to get behind the wheel of their first car; to find the love of their life; to perhaps even have children of their own. They may even be lucky enough to grow old and enjoy the perfect smiles of their grandchildren at Christmas time. This is life and this is what we seek to protect.



Because the state supports the killing of unwanted children in the womb, 8.7 million human beings in the UK never got the chance to experience these simple, yet poignant moments in life. No matter how much we try to deny or distance ourselves from that reality, we can never hide from the truth that abortion extinguishes the life of a beautiful, precious little human being who simply wants to be loved.

 
The 40 Days for Life is a worldwide movement and it will take place at the four Scottish hospitals throughout Lent from 1 March until 9 April. There will also be official opening and closing events, including one in George Square, Glasgow on 25 February. Click here for full details.

Vocations Magazine Launched in Scotland

Posted on January 31, 2017 at 11:22 AM Comments comments (0)

Is God calling you?


Catholic Parishes throughout Scotland will be receiving copies of a new magazine this week, aimed at encouraging young men to consider the Priesthood. A total of 15,000 copies of the magazine which focuses on young men who are currently studying for the Priesthood at the Scots College in Rome, will be available in all parishes by next weekend 4/5th February 2017.
 
 
The A4 publication titled ‘Priests for Scotland’ will be distributed free to all of Scotland’s 500 parishes. Commenting on the launch, Bishop John Keenan, the President of the Church’s national Vocations Agency, ‘Priests for Scotland’ said:
 
“As I go round our parishes, schools and youth events I see, every day, young or single men who’d make ideal priests and I’m sure God is calling many of them to be priests for Scotland.  But they won’t come forward unless they hear God’s call. Today God calls them through modern media so I want everyone to take a copy of Priests for Scotland and put it in the hands of a man you think might be being called.  You just might have found Scotland a new priest and God won’t forget it!”
 
 
Father John Morrison, Assistant Director of Priests for Scotland, said “We wanted to let people know that there are still men who are being drawn to the Priesthood. We wanted to communicate some of the joy and happiness they have felt in responding positively to that call.” The free magazine will be available at parishes throughout Scotland.


Priests for Scotland website: http://priestsforscotland.org.uk/


(text from the Scottish Catholic Media Office)

 

Vice President Mike Pence tells pro-life campaigners that 'life is winning' in America

Posted on January 27, 2017 at 3:44 PM Comments comments (0)

Mike Pence at March for Life

Today Vice President Mike Pence spoke to hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates gathered for the annual March for Life on the National Mall. He is the first Vice President to address the March in person. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway also spoke at today’s March.

Vice President Pence’s remarks reflected his deep roots in the pro-life movement and the Trump-Pence Administration’s commitments to the right to life cause:

“Today, because of all of you and the many thousands who stand with us in marches like this all across the nation, life is winning again in America. That is evident in the election of pro-life majorities in the Congress of the United States of America. But it is no more evident in any way than in the historic election of a president who stands for a stronger America, a more prosperous America, and a president who I proudly say stands for the right to life, President Donald Trump. “President Trump actually asked me to be here with you today. He asked me to thank you for your support – to thank you for your stand for life and for your compassion for the women and children of America.
“At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue we are in the promise-keeping business. That’s why on Monday President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy to prevent foreign aid from funding organizations that promote abortion worldwide. That’s why this administration will work with the Congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers, and we will devote those resources to health care services for women across America. And that’s why next week, President Donald Trump will announce a Supreme Court nominee who will uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution.
“I have long believed a society can be judged by how we care for our most vulnerable: the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn.
“Life is winning through the steady advance of science that illuminates when life begins more and more every day. Life is winning through the generosity of millions of adopted families who open their hearts and homes to children in need. Life is winning through the compassion of caregivers and volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers and faith-based organization who minister to women in the cities and towns across this country. And life is winning through the quiet councils between mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, between friends across kitchen tables and over coffee at college campuses. The truth is being told. Compassion is overcoming convenience and hope is defeating despair. In a word: life is winning in America because of all of you.”

Kellyanne Conway said:

“It is such an honor to stand with the Vice President of the United States and with so many leaders, families, and students from places near and far to defend the unborn. Your courage, your conviction, your resolve and your faith are impressive and consequential. . . . It is no coincidence that the first right stated in the Declaration of Independence is the right to life. It is not a privilege. It is not a choice. It is God-given. . . . This is a new day, a new dawn for life. . . . To the March for Life 2017, allow me to make it very clear: we hear you, we see you, we respect you, and we look forward to working with you. And, yes, we walk, we march, we run, and we endeavor forward with you.”

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, onsite at the March for Life, offered the following comment in response:

“Today’s pro-life march is a very clear and unified call to protect unborn children and mothers. It comes from a diverse group: conservative, liberal, young, old, believers, non-believers. It grew organically over decades out of frustration with the Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton mandate of abortion on-demand, up until birth. The March for Life is not a singular burst of energy. It is a consistent and persistent insistence that our government live up to our nation’s promises to the vulnerable and those who live in the shadows.

“We are so proud of our friends and longtime allies Vice President Pence and presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway. Being pro-life and speaking out for the voiceless is part of their core beings. Their leadership in the White House is an outward sign of the strength of the pro-life movement. It is why pro-life grassroots nationwide worked so hard to elect this administration. Together, we are in position to make great gains, but only if we see the mission through. President Trump has made four commitments to the pro-life movement but all require the continued involvement of activists across the country, calling on their representatives and Senators, to make it happen. The mandate laid out at the election must continually be repeated.”

(from Susan B Anthony List)

Church commits to anti-bullying efforts

Posted on January 27, 2017 at 3:32 PM Comments comments (0)
The Catholic Church in Scotland has reaffirmed its commitment to tackling all forms of bullying in its schools.

However, this article by The Times fails to cover the Church's clear message that Catholic Schools will never compromise Catholic teaching.

You can access the article here: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/lgbti-pupils-to-have-safe-spaces-at-catholic-schools-9kwz5869r

Looking anew at the Nativity scene (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 8th January 2016)

Posted on January 7, 2017 at 3:37 PM Comments comments (0)


After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of King Heron, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. “Where is the infant king of the Jews?” they asked. “We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.”

Today's Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12):

'After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah,for out of you will come a leaderwho will shepherd my people Israel.’Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared, and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.'



In contrast to the wise men in today’s Gospel, we live in a world of instant access to news.  Through television and the internet, we have access to the most up-to-date news of all genres 24 hours a day.  Indeed we are bombarded by news from across the world and it is difficult to disconnect from this stream even with concerted efforts.  The wise men were likely men of contemplation. Before setting out on a long and arduous journey, carrying with them precious belongings, they would have spent much time noticing and pondering the meaning of the star rising in the west.  They likely discussed this at length between them, having their own doubts and misgivings about their quest.  How puzzled would they have been to find their journey’s end, not in a palace, but in a stable – had they got this right? And there, in the silence of the night, their efforts and faith were rewarded as they saw the wondrous sight.  They saw that which prophets had long foretold and nations sighed for.  The Lord at his birth.


What would we be willing to do or sacrifice to see this sight?  To us, Jesus’ birth may seem like “old news”.  Repeated re-enactments and a multitude of nativity images can numb us to the awe we should rightly feel when contemplating this scene.  We face different challenges from the magi in our time. Theirs was a time of quiet and contemplation, of expectation and hope.  They saw this wondrous sight for the first time, having no idea what they would see.  Our is a time of noise, instant gratification and cynicism. We have ‘seen it all before’.  Plus Christmas is really over now isn’t it? It’s time to move on to a new year! But like the wise men we are asked in the readings today to search in the silence for signs of our Saviour’s coming and to remain open minded about where and when we might encounter Jesus.  Taking the promptings of our innermost soul and no little share of faith, Jesus will guide us through uncertainty and darkness, to behold His face in all its glory.  It is worth spending time contemplating what the wise men saw and asking God to give us the grace to see this scene anew, so that we can honour and praise him with all our hearts as they did.

Pope's message for 50th World Day of Peace

Posted on December 13, 2016 at 8:22 AM Comments comments (18955)
Picture: zenit.org


Pope Francis asks "God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values."

Read the entire message here: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-message-for-50th-world-day-of-peace/


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