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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 (12)


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

 


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)

 

Catholic Church announces appointment of Baroness Helen Liddell as Chair of Independent Review Group

Posted on December 5, 2016 at 4:16 AM Comments comments (0)
Baroness Liddell and Archbishop Philip Tartaglia


The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has today announced that Baroness Helen Liddell will be the first ever Chair of the Independent Review Group (IRG) an autonomous body, which will function separately from the Church and which will review safeguarding standards and carry out independent audits.


Announcing the appointment, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, President of the Bishops’ Conference said: “I am most grateful to Baroness Liddell for agreeing to become the first Chair of the Independent Review Group, which will review and audit the Catholic Church’s Safeguarding work. In accepting the recommendation of the McLellan Commission to create an independent group, it was clear that a chairperson of national stature and proven competence would be required and I believe, that in Helen, these qualities are perfectly met.”
“On behalf of the bishops of Scotland I welcome her appointment and look forward to working with her as we continue to implement in full the safeguarding recommendations presented to us last year.”


Responding to the appointment, Baroness Liddell, a former Secretary of State for Scotland, said: "This group will be a transparent and fearless means of ensuring that the McLellan Commission recommendations are implemented in full. We owe it to the survivors to ensure that their suffering is never repeated."


(from Scottish Catholic Media Office)

The Owl and the Beggar

Posted on September 19, 2016 at 4:34 AM Comments comments (0)

The owl: undeniably beautiful, but not human


Walking through the centre of Edinburgh last week I was struck by a large crowd gathered on the pavement.  As I approached I noticed that the crowd, made up mostly of tourists, were gawping at a rather large, impressive owl that was perched on its keeper’s arm. 


The crowd pointed, smiled, laughed and took a vast amount of photographs with their mobile phones and state-of-the-art digital cameras.  It was all very pleasing to the owl’s keeper who must have been licking his lips at the prospect of a bumper pay day should even a fraction of those gathered be brave enough to get up close and personal with the beautiful feathered creature and let it sit on their arm. 


And as I got closer to the scene I noticed that there was something else sitting in the corner, propped up against the wall of one of the buildings.  It sat just to the left of the man holding the owl.  It was nothing remarkable; at least it was unremarkable in the sense that the crowd didn’t seem particularly bothered by it.  It just sat there, motionless.  That ‘it’ was a beggar.


I was amazed at how helpless this man looked set against this excited and comparatively wealthy crowd of people straining to catch a glimpse of an owl.  He sought and drew no attention whatsoever and he may as well have been invisible for all the owl mob cared.  But for my own respect for the gentleman beggar I would have been tempted to take a photograph of the scene to highlight just how preposterous it all looked.


It's a sad day when an owl is deemed more interesting, more important and more deserving than a poor, helpless human being stuck in the gutter.

Promising signs in Glasgow vocations drive

Posted on September 2, 2016 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The Archdiocese of Glasgow appears to be reaping the rewards of a fresh new drive for vocations to the priesthood.  The September edition of Flourish, the Archdiocese’s journal, has highlighted the increasing popularity of monthly evenings of discernment hosted by Father Ross Campbell, who is the Archdiocese’s vocations director and Catholic chaplain to the University of Glasgow.


Six men have already signed up for the first evening of discernment taking place on Friday 14 October and it is hoped that more will join.  The evenings of discernment usually take place on the second Friday of each month and are designed to allow men to take a “gentle, first step into the waters of the priesthood, without any initial firm commitment.”


We must pray that these men, and hopefully many more, will respond positively to God’s call for them to be shepherds of His people.
 

For more details of these evenings of discernment please contact Fr Ross Campbell at [email protected] or call 0141 339 4315. 

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 (0)
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.

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.