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Scots Catholic Blog
|Posted on May 12, 2016 at 10:08 AM||comments (0)|
The World Health Organisation has, in its latest report, confirmed that 25% of worldwide pregnancies ended in abortion between 2010 and 2014. The report also states that “around 22 million unsafe abortions are estimated to take place worldwide each year, almost all in developing countries.”
While this news must be greeted with great sadness at the millions of lives lost in an incredibly short period of time, the WHO has a solution. It states that: “Almost every abortion death and disability could be prevented through sexuality education, use of effective contraception, provision of safe, legal induced abortion, and timely care for complications.”
It’s interesting that the WHO avoids any talk of chastity or abstinence in their report. This, as we know, is the most effective means by which to prevent a pregnancy if indeed that is what someone desires. Contraception has been heralded as the saviour when it comes to having sexual relations without the ‘nuisance’ of a child. But, in reality, contraception has merely become a ‘get out of jail free card’ for individuals - mostly men - who simply want to use and abuse a member of the opposite sex for their own selfish desires. Contraception encourages people to engage in the most intimate manner with another human being and then to discard them once the deed is done. There is no account for feelings, no account for wellbeing. It is simply the act of using another for selfish desires. And while not all people can be accused of using another individual through the use of contraception, there is no denying that in using contraception a person is not giving themselves entirely to the other. It is a way of saying “I love you, but I’m not giving you 100% of my love”. Is this the kind of love we want for our children?
While it is natural for secular organisations like the WHO to raise unsafe abortion as an issue, the distinction between safe and unsafe abortions is inherently flawed. This is because it is only concerned with the wellbeing of one party in order to distinguish whether an abortion is safe or unsafe. Abortion, as we know and as science affirms, involves two distinct human beings. When abortion results in the injury or death of one of those human beings it must be considered unsafe. Therefore all abortions are unsafe. There is no such thing as safe abortion.
While more must be done to ensure people are educated on sexual matters there is a real need to ensure that such education is not simply a pandering to the increasingly wayward sexual revolution and the deep pockets of huge, influential pharmaceutical companies. Increased availability of ‘safe’ abortion is not the answer. Nor is the increased availability of contraception. These remedies simply take us down another road of self-destruction in our society and they quite clearly fail to solve the big issue, which is the widely held view that sex is a basic right to be enjoyed by anyone, with anyone and without the very natural consequence that is another human being.
In many African countries there is a growing movement (University Chastity Education or UCE Missionaries of Chastity) among young adults where they sign a pledge card, pledging a vow of chastity until they meet that special someone and marry them. This is not the stuff of fairy-tales. This is real life. Isn’t this a much more appropriate, measured, and natural solution to the pregnancy ‘problem’ than those proposed by the World Health Organisation? Doesn’t this solution encourage the kind of love you desire for your son or daughter?
To read the WHO report, click here: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs388/en/
|Posted on April 26, 2016 at 9:03 AM||comments (0)|
Pope Francis has given a lesson in love and freedom during his homily at the Jubilee Mass for Young People in Rome.
The Pope, speaking to thousands of youth in St Peter’s Square, said that Jesus himself declared that Christians would be known “by the way they love one another.” The Pope continued saying, “love, in other words, is the Christian’s identity card.”
The Pope then tackled the meaning of love, stating that love is something you give. He also added: “it [love] is caring for others, respecting them, protecting them, and waiting for them.”
Francis then challenged the young people on the true meaning of freedom, stating that “freedom is not the ability to simply do what I want. This makes us self-centred and aloof.”
“Freedom” he said “is the gift of being able to choose the good: this is true freedom. The free person is the one who chooses what is good, what is pleasing to God, even if it requires effort, even if it is not easy.”
He then called on the young people to grow in love and told them how they could do this: “the secret, once again, is the Lord: Jesus gives us himself in the Mass, he offers us forgiveness and peace in Confession.”
The Pope’s call to the young people can be summed up nicely in the term ‘free love’. He wants Christians to give themselves freely to others in love, and he wants us to choose to do this as it is pleasing to God. He then tells us that the nourishment we need for this task can be found in the Holy Mass and in the Sacrament of Confession.
Let us be under no illusions. Our mission as Christians is to spread the love of Christ throughout the world. We must let his Truth be known to all people and we must deliver this Truth in a spirit of love; a love that is freely given and that always has the other person’s best interests at its core. This message is not just for our young, but for all Christian people.
The Christian message is one of great hope, mercy and peace for all people. But, above all, it is a message of love.
Click this link for the full text of Pope Francis’ homily: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-jubilee-mass-for-teens/
|Posted on September 24, 2015 at 11:37 AM||comments (0)|
The pope received several standing ovations in Congress
Pope Francis, in his historic address to US Congress, has urged the world to follow Christ’s Commandment of love. The pope used the opportunity to tackle critical issues such as the dignity of human life, the death penalty and the refugee crisis. He also addressed recent attacks on marriage and family life, and his concerns that the very basis of the family and marriage is being called into question.
Here are the main quotes from the pope’s address to USC ongress this afternoon:
Pope Francis on the golden rule:
“Let us remember the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
On the dignity of human life:
We must “protect by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God in every human life.”
We must recognise the “transcendent dignity of the human being”.
“The golden rule [to do unto others as you would have done unto you] also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”
On the family:
“The family should be a recurrent theme….how essential the family has been to the building of this country. I cannot hide my concern for the family which is threatened, perhaps as never before from within and without. The very basis of the family and marriage is being called into question.”
“I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.”
“I would like to call attention to those family members who are most vulnerable, the young. Their problems are our problems. Our young people are precious.”
“We live in a culture that threatens young people not to start a family.”
On the death penalty:
“Let’s abolish the death penalty here and everywhere. No punishment should exclude hope or the possibility of conversion.”
On politics and society:
“Preserve and defend the dignity of your fellow citizens in pursuit of the common good.”
“We are all worried by the disturbing social and political situation of the world today.”
“It can be no more us vs them. We must confront every kind of polarisation. Our response must be hope and healing, peace and justice.”
“Safeguard religious freedom, intellectual freedom, and individual freedom. We must be specially attentive to every type of fundamentalism.”
“Politics must be used to build the common good.”
“It’s my duty to build bridges and help all men and women to do the same.”
“We have to ask ourselves: why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?”
“It is our duty to confront the problem and stop the arms trade.”
On the elderly:
The elderly are the “storehouse of wisdom”.
On the refugee crisis:
“We must view them as persons, seeing their faces, listening to their stories, and try to respond as best we can.”
“The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.”
“Business is a noble vocation, especially in its creation of jobs to the common good.”
On the environment:
“I’m convinced that we can make a difference, I’m sure.”
“We have an obligation to our future generations. The time is now.”
|Posted on August 21, 2015 at 8:48 AM||comments (1)|
Cardinal TImothy Dolan
A number of distinguished speakers including Cardinal Timothy Dolan descended on the Steubenville youth conference in New York earlier this month to speak to 2,000 young people about the Catholic faith.
The youth were encouraged to live their faith openly and to be prepared to make more difficult decisions as they get older, including whether or not to have a relationship with God. They were also warned against cherry-picking their faith in order to try and justify their behaviour.
Read the full story here at the Catholic Herald: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/08/12/us-cardinal-urges-catholic-teens-to-live-faith-openly/
|Posted on July 13, 2015 at 9:00 AM||comments (0)|
Pope Francis has urged young people to reject playing for the devil's football team, so full of empty promises of glory, riches and power; and instead invited them to play for Jesus' team, where humility, love and service to others is key.
Click here to read Pope Francis' full address: http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-prepared-remarks-to-young-people-in-p
|Posted on February 5, 2015 at 9:17 AM||comments (0)|
Aid to the Church in Need, an organisation which helps persecuted Christians around the world through prayer, information and action, is inviting Catholic High Schools and Universities from all over Scotland to gather in Carfin on 11th June in a show of solidarity with persecuted Christians.
The event, which will take place at Carfin Grotto near Motherwell, is expected to be the largest ever gathering of young Catholics in Scotland.
Beginning with the midday Angelus, the event will then play host to a programme of Adoration, music and guest speakers.
The plight of persecuted Christians cannot be overstated in our world today. You only need to consider the crises in Syria and Nigeria to see the brutality of Christian persecution. Christianity is the most persecuted religion in our world today. Please show your support for our Christian brothers and sisters by attending this event.
For more information please click here: http://www.acnuk.org/what-we-do
|Posted on January 29, 2015 at 8:16 AM||comments (0)|
Father Mario Majano
Father Mario Majano, a 28 year old Catholic priest from Washington DC, recently brought a 15,000 strong crowd to its feet during the Verizon Centre Mass for Life event in the capital. The Mass was a follow-on from last week's March for Life which attracted hundreds of thousands of people.
Father Majano's story is one which brought tears to many people in the huge audience, but it was the tears of one woman in particular which made the headlines.
Click here to read the full story at lifesitenews.com: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/this-pro-life-story-made-bishops-cardinals-and-a-papal-nuncio-rise-to-their
|Posted on January 23, 2015 at 9:36 AM||comments (0)|
The Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES) has produced a new poster detailing the “10 Commandments for Proclaiming theJoy of the Gospel on-line”. In what appears to be a spin-off from Pope Francis encyclical letter, Evangelii Gaudium (the Joy of the Gospel),SCES is encouraging young people to behave responsibly, and in a manner befitting of their Catholic faith, whilst they use the internet and social media. The poster will be officially launched during Catholic Education Week in February.
The SCES website states: ‘To encourage responsible and respectful use of the Internet for "Proclaiming the Joy of the Gospel", the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES) has produced a poster to illustrate the "10 Commandments for Proclaiming the Joy of the Gospel on-line". It is hoped that these will encourage both young people and adults to use the opportunity provided by social media to tell the 'Good News' of Christ.’’
The commandments, produced by Martin McMahon of Taylor High School in Motherwell, are as follows:
1. Be positive and joyful. Offer ‘digital smiles’ and have a sense of humour. As Pope Francis says, no funeral faces or sourpusses.
2. Never bear false witness on the internet. Never ‘like’ a lie.
3. Fill the internet with love. Seek to include a sense of solidarity with others in the world.
4. Avoid aggression and ‘preachiness’ online. Try not to be judgmental. Instead try Pope Francis’s approach of tenderness.
5. Have a broad back when criticisms and insults are made. When possible, gently correct.
6. Pray in the digital world! Establish sacred spaces, opportunities for stillness, reflection and meditation online.
7. The Church has always been about gathering. Create connections and build community. Share posts that have a powerful Gospel witness.
8. Promote online behaviours that keep everyone safe. Use the internet responsibly.
9. Respect your dignity and the dignity of others in all that you do online.
10. The internet has the power and the potential to bear witness – share the Good News online.
While the Ten Commandments given to us by God can never be replaced nor replicated, these commandments for appropriate online behaviour should definitely be encouraged among our young people. And while SCES should be applauded for their efforts to promote these online commandments, it will ultimately be down to parents and families of young people to make sure that these commandments are followed.
Perhaps it would be useful for us to all consider having a copy of these commandments alongside the Ten Commandments of God somewhere in our home to remind our children, and indeed ourselves, of how we should behave on the internet and social media as well as how we should make best use of it.
|Posted on October 24, 2014 at 8:58 AM||comments (3)|
Hundreds braved the cold to stand up for life
Glasgow once again bore witness to the pro-life movement as the annual pro-life torchlight procession took to its streets on Thursday night.
At least 300 people attended this year’s event which is slightly more than last year and must be seen as a positive step in the right direction. Perhaps the most pleasing thing about the event was the number of young people in attendance. I have suggested before that there is an undercurrent of Catholic and pro-life youth steadily growing in Scotland, and this was very much in evidence at this event.
The event, which takes place every October, marks the passing of the Abortion Act 1967 and encourages those in attendance to pray for its repeal.
Once again, as in previous years, there was a beautiful recitation of the Rosary in George Square followed by a solemn procession through the busy city streets to St Andrew’s Cathedral on Clyde Street . And while I don’t want to go into too much detail about the beauty of the event in George Square, as I believe people should just get off their backsides (health and other commitments permitting) and experience it for themselves, the sound of ‘Immaculate Mary’ echoing through the centre of Glasgow was an incredible and uplifting experience.
After last year’s battle cry from Bishop John Keenan it was left to another priest from the Diocese of Paisley, Monsignor John Tormey, to lead the celebration of Mass in the Cathedral. Monsignor Tormey was careful to acknowledge the difficulties experienced by people in and around abortion and how a new life can sometimes be seen as a threat and can bring about fear, especially for younger women. Yet, while abortion is one solution, Monsignor Tormey wanted to make it clear that ‘we suggest an alternative solution’.
That alternative solution is, of course, life, but it relies on one very important thing. It relies on the availability of support for mother and baby and extended family. If we can ensure that support is available then we can put forward life as a real alternative solution to abortion for many hundreds of women. As a Catholic people we must embrace our mission to spread the Gospel of Life and to be prepared to debate it with others. But we must be able do this with great confidence in the support available for mothers encountering the most difficult decision they will ever face.
Thankfully, and by the Grace of God, there is help available. Even in Glasgow there are dedicated resources for mothers, as well as fathers and other family members, struggling with pregnancy and the thought of a little child in their lives. Please be sure to check out our Abortion page by clicking this link. There you will find a number of resources for people who may find themselves struggling with the decision of whether to abort or whether to keep their baby.
Now, in the days leading up to Thursday’s pro-life event in Glasgow, I set out a pro-life challenge to try and encourage people to attend. While numbers were up we still fell way short of what I know we can achieve. However, what’s done is done and we can only hope that next year our numbers will increase again. But before that, it’s time for another challenge. In the year ahead we may well come across someone who is considering having an abortion. You may hear of it from the mother herself or from her partner or perhaps just a family friend. Whatever the circumstances, please consider your mission to stand up for life. Suggest that there is an alternative solution and that help is available. Point them in the direction of the organisations listed on our Abortion page. Tell them that there are people willing to listen to their problems and difficulties, whatever they may be. Just give them that alternative. And then pray; pray very hard for them. Pray that their hearts may soften to the opportunity of new life in their lives. It may be that your gentle nudge in the direction of help and support allied with your prayer brings a new life into the world and creates a loving family full of joy.
Please, do not feel limited as to what you can achieve in the cause of life. Every little prayer helps. And even your own positive witness to the great joys of life can change hearts and minds. Don’t waste an opportunity to help someone who is considering abortion, you might just save a life.
|Posted on July 4, 2014 at 8:25 AM||comments (1)|
The official logo and prayer for World Youth Day 2016 have been revealed!
The World Youth Day, which in 2016 will take place in Krakow, Poland, has over the years attracted millions of young Catholic faithful to gather in a show of great love and unity with a view to carrying that love to all corners of the earth.
The World Youth Day in 2013, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, attracted 3 million youth to Copacabana beach for the final Mass with Pope Francis.
Click here to find out all about the new logo and prayer for 2016: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2014/07/03/world-youth-day-2016-logo-and-prayer-revealed/