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Scots Catholic

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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 (79)


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

 


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)

Pope Francis claims gender theory is the ‘great enemy of marriage today’

Posted on October 6, 2016 at 6:03 AM Comments comments (0)


Pope Francis has spoken out against the theory of gender, something he has stated as being the “great enemy of marriage today”.  The pope, speaking to a group of religious men and women in Tbilisi, Georgia, said: “Today, there is a global war trying to destroy marriage…they don’t destroy it with weapons, but with ideas.  It’s certain ideological ways of thinking that are destroying it…we have to defend ourselves from ideological colonisation.”


The pontiff has often spoken about ideological colonisation and gender theory and the dangers they pose to society.  The ideological colonisation he refers to is primarily to do with developed countries – mainly in the West – imposing their ideas and values into developing nations and potentially withholding aid where those ideas and values are resisted.  Gender theory, on the other hand, is what an individual person believes himself or herself to be and it may not necessarily correspond with their biological sex.  Indeed, it may even be non-binary; that is, neither male nor female. 


The next day, during an in-flight press conference on his way home to Rome, the pope spoke once more about gender theory and expressed deep concern about “teaching in school about this [gender theory], to change mentalities.”  This, he says, “is what I call ideological colonisation.”
 

He then spoke more specifically about homosexuality and the pastoral call of the Church with regard to people who experience same-sex attraction.  He said: “First of all, I’ve accompanied in my life as a priest, a bishop, and even as pope, people with homosexual tendencies or even homosexual practices, I’ve led them closer to the Lord.”  He called on all people within the Church to accompany people in such situations “as Jesus accompanies” because “when a person who has this condition gets in front of Jesus, Jesus won’t say ‘leave because you’re homosexual.’”


The pope was, however, cautious about the more liberal headlines that have been attributed to him in terms of a possibly softer Church attitude towards homosexual acts when he said: “I want to be clear, this is a problem of morals.  It’s a problem.  It’s a human problem that has to be resolved as it can, always with God’s mercy.”

 

Truth is the essential pre-condition to democracy, writes George Weigel

Posted on September 27, 2016 at 9:07 AM Comments comments (0)


George Weigel, the Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has claimed that democracy is likely to become brittle, crack and fail unless society consists of “men and women committed to the dignity of the human person as the first principle of just governance and dedicated to the pursuit of the common good.” 


Weigel, in response to the assertion that those who believe that truths about the human person and human community are essential to democracy are actually on an authoritarian mission, says: “it is the radical moral relativists for whom there is no “truth,” but only expressions of personal preference and will, who are busily enforcing their judgments on society in the name of “tolerance”.”
 

At 7pm on Tuesday October 4th, George Weigel is speaking at St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral in Edinburgh on the topic of "Converting the Culture: The New Evangelisation and the Future of the West”. 

 
Read the full article in The Scotsman here: http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/is-faith-the-missing-ingredient-that-can-make-western-democracy-work-1-4240413

Bishops call for ‘decisive and courageous steps’ towards nuclear disarmament

Posted on July 12, 2016 at 8:57 AM Comments comments (0)
The eight Catholic Bishops of Scotland

Statement of the Catholic Bishops of Scotland on nuclear weapons:

The Bishops of Scotland have for a long time pointed out the immorality of the use of strategic nuclear weapons due to the indiscriminate destruction of innocent human life that their use would cause.


The renewal of Trident is questioned not just by those concerned with the morality of nuclear weapons themselves but also by those concerned about the use of scarce financial resources.


Lives are being lost now because money that could be spent on the needy and the poor is tied up in nuclear arsenals. We endorse the words of Pope Francis: “Spending on nuclear weapons squanders the wealth of nations”.


The United Kingdom, permanent member of the UN Security Council and declared nuclear power, signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968. That treaty binds signatories who do not have nuclear weapons not to acquire them, but it also binds those who do have nuclear weapons to work towards the disposing and elimination of all nuclear weapons. Britain should take more decisive and courageous steps to revive that aspect of the treaty and not seek to prolong the status quo.


Signed

+ Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Archbishop of Glasgow+ Joseph Toal, Vice-President, Bishop of Motherwell+ Hugh Gilbert, Episcopal Secretary, Bishop of Aberdeen+ Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh+ Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld+ John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley+ William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway+ Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and The Isles

Dr Halliday Sutherland and the fight against eugenics

Posted on June 30, 2016 at 9:42 AM Comments comments (28)
If only there were more Dr Halliday Sutherlands today.  Perhaps he would have the courage to stand up for the rights of those who are under threat from the increasing prevalence of assisted suicide in our world.  Perhaps he would have the courage to stand up for the rights of the preborn child under threat of death by abortion.


Dr Halliday Sutherland, born in Glasgow in 1882, was a man who stood up for the people society felt unworthy of life.  He lived in a time when the middle and upper classes of Britain fought for the legal right to sterilise the poor and the seemingly unworthy.  The rich felt more and more threatened by the higher birth rate among the poorer classes compared to their deteriorating birth rate.  They also felt threatened by the seeming prevalence of tuberculosis among the poor.  There was even talk of using a lethal chamber at one stage.


According to this article, Sutherland was “appalled by the popularity of eugenics among Britain’s middle and upper classes” and set about fighting for the rights of the vulnerable.  He argued with the Professor of Eugenics at London University who claimed that tuberculosis was primarily caused by heredity and argued that the disease be cured by breeding out those considered to be at risk (the poor).  In a speech made in 1917, Sutherland called Britain’s eugenists “race breeders with the souls of cattle breeders” and argued that “in preventing disease you are not preserving the weak but conserving the strong.” 


Sutherland also decried the actions of a eugenist who, in 1921, began dispensing ‘pro-race’ contraceptives to women in poorer parts of London.  Sutherland described this as a social “experiment” that would lead to a “servile state”.  He also argued that ‘if ordinary Britons were legally prevented from having children, they would have no societal role other than to work.’


Marie Stopes was also criticised by Sutherland after she revealed her eugenic vision for society in 1921.  She revealed details of her “ardent dream” of “human stock represented only by well-formed, desired and well-endowed beautiful men and women.”  The dangers of this frightening and callous point of view are obvious.


Halliday Sutherland would be appalled at the direction of travel of western society today.  Not only have we cow-towed to the contraceptive mentality, completely ignoring any notion of the true meaning of our sexuality, but we now routinely kill our own preborn children through abortion and threaten the vulnerable with a premature death by way of assisted suicide.


We need more Halliday Sutherlands in our world today.  We need more people to stand up for the poor, the marginalised, and the vulnerable.  Dr Sutherland was a Catholic and it is important that we as a Church follow his example and be absolutely clear on the wrongs of abortion and assisted suicide.  Not only that, but we must also resist the assumption that contraception is a simple and harmless solution that allows people to have sexual relations without the ‘threat’ of new life.  As a Catholic people we value life from the very moment it starts right up until its natural conclusion on death.  Contraception interrupts the natural process by killing off new life.  It also encourages people to use others as objects of desire, their sole purpose being to satisfy their own selfish cravings devoid of the threat of responsibility for a new life.   


We have lost the true meaning of the sexual encounter and we have lost the meaning of the value of life.  Our world needs to hear that there is an alternative to the throwaway culture of death; an alternative that values all life and that gives the sexual act the respect it truly deserves.  Dr Halliday Sutherland would be willing to speak up for these values.

Jo Cox death should herald a turning point in public/political relations

Posted on June 20, 2016 at 11:43 AM Comments comments (27)
Jo Cox in the House of Commons


The death of Labour MP Jo Cox has shocked not only the world of politics in which she worked, but also the British nation as a whole.  The horror of what happened in the town of Birstall last Thursday will be a permanent scar for the MP’s family and is something they will have to live with for the rest of their lives.


But what does it mean for the relationship between MPs and the general public?  Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who has himself received death threats, lamented the influence of social media in relations between the public and MPs, criticising the “vitriol” that is often expressed towards politicians.  I for one agree with him.  Whilst our elected representatives’ role in public life is such that they are very much open to criticism, that criticism should be constructive and measured, and it should be expressed with politeness.  It should not be unjust or whimsical, and it should not be expressed with any degree of hatred or be threatening in any way.  Politicians have the right to do their job in safety and without abuse.  Isn’t that the legal right of every worker?  Why should politicians be any different? 


Very few politicians are actually in the job to make people worse off or to act selfishly.  They are in politics because they genuinely want to make a difference.  Yes, there will be bad apples in there; just like there is in any walk of life.  But as with any bad apple, we need to pray for them and we need to trust that our peaceful system of democracy will ultimately win the day.


The hate directed at poor Jo Cox as she walked through her constituency last week was of the worst kind.   It took her life and has thus caused immeasurable pain to her family, friends and colleagues.  But underneath all of that is an unhealthy undercurrent of hate and cynicism which exists throughout our country and is often directed at many in officialdom, including politicians.  This is especially the case on social media, where the abuse and hatred spewed forth has the potential to fuel the anger in certain individuals predisposed to dangerous actions. 


Jesus Christ called us to love all people; even those that we perceive to be our enemies.  Our politicians need our support and prayers.  They work in an incredibly testing environment in which they are under increasing fear for their own safety and wellbeing. 


May the sad and unnecessary passing of Jo Cox herald a change in attitude across our nation so that we come together as one, and in a spirit of brotherly love may we work with and support our politicians in striving for peace, equality, tolerance and prosperity for all people.

Archbishop offers Scotland a path to the common good

Posted on June 9, 2016 at 6:23 AM Comments comments (0)


Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh Leo Cushley celebrates the 125 anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s landmark encyclical ‘Rerum Novarum’


Archbishop Leo Cushley has marked the 125 anniversary of the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum by re-proposing its social teaching for the common good of Scottish society.  The encyclical by Pope Leo XIII is arguably the Church’s most important when it comes to social justice and the Archbishop can clearly see positives in once again bringing it to the forefront of our minds.


Writing in today's Scotsman Archbishop Cushley said: “At the foundation of Pope Leo’s vision is an unshakeable belief in the intrinsic value of every man, woman and child.  The degree to which it threatened or enhanced the life and dignity of the human person”, he says, “is the measure of any political, moral or economic order”.  It is clear, therefore, that the encyclical has at its very core the belief that human life must be at the centre of all decisions made by authority.  It is about standing shoulder to shoulder with the most vulnerable in society, including the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the unborn.


Pope Leo, who rejected unbridled capitalism as well as state socialism, argued that neither central government nor larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies within civil society.  Archbishop Cushley cited the example of Fife, which has gone from having 82 councils in 1930 to just one today, to illustrate the renewed appetite to revisit the issue of local empowerment.


The Archbishop also referred to the importance of the family in society.  He said: “The twofold purpose of this [the family] micro-community is traditionally defined as the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.  For this reason, nearly all societies – not just those informed by Christianity – have founded family life upon marriage.  Even now, the best sociological evidence tends to suggest that children generally do best in life when they grow up with a mum and a dad who are married to each other.  The married family, if you like, is the first, best and cheapest department of health, welfare and education.”  He then quoted Pope John Paul II as he tried to encapsulate the effect of the erosion of a marriage-based culture: “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”


However, the Archbishop also referred to Pope Francis’ call to appreciate those people for whom the ideal family is not possible, saying that these people “achieve remarkable things in the most difficult of circumstances”.  He then reiterated Pope Francis’ call to sympathise with and support those in difficult circumstances.


In a world fraught with significant challenges to the family as we know it, the Archbishop’s consideration of one of the great social encyclicals is timely.  As he said: “The Church does not seek to impose its social teaching upon Scottish society.  We can only propose it as our vision to anybody seeking new paths towards the common good.”


Archbishop Cushley has proposed what he feels is the fundamental consideration for the common good of society and offered it to the people of Scotland.  It is now up to us lay Catholics to do the same.





Scottish Government recognises value of the unborn child

Posted on June 2, 2016 at 11:07 AM Comments comments (0)
Nicola Sturgeon appreciating the beauty of new life


It is wonderful to hear Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announce that, from Spring 2017, all pregnant women will receive free vitamins in order to help give their children the best possible start in life.


In addition to making vitamins freely available the Scottish Government will also be introducing the following initiatives:

  • Every newborn baby to receive a ‘baby box’ of essential items

  • 500 more health visitors will be recruited to improve child health and wellbeing

  • The Family Nurse Partnership to be extended to support teenage mothers

  • Childcare will be doubled to 30 hours per week for all three and four year olds and vulnerable two year olds


Ms Sturgeon said that “every child deserves a fair and equal chance and offering all pregnant women vitamins sends a strong signal that, right from the very start of life, we are doing all we can to help.  There is strong evidence that taking vitamins in pregnancy improves both the mother and baby’s health and providing free vitamins, to all pregnant women, has the widespread support of healthcare professionals.”


Any government policy which seeks to assist women in pregnancy to look after both themselves and their baby must be welcomed.  It is a positive step by the Scottish government and it is hoped that many people will benefit from the new initiatives.


The introduction of free vitamins for all pregnant women is real and positive recognition by the Scottish Government of the importance of the unborn child.  The unborn child should be entitled to the same rights as any born child and this must include the right to the best possible health care and treatment.  While the rights of the unborn child are not yet fully protected in our country, primarily because of the availability of abortion, this type of initiative is a step in the right direction; a small but important step towards equality of rights for all children, irrespective of whether they happen to be inside or outside of the womb.

 

Click this link to read more about the new initiative: ttp://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/All-pregnant-women-to-receive-vitamins-251d.aspx


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