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Scots Catholic

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Pope Francis invites us to heed the call of Our Lady of Fatima

Posted on May 13, 2016 at 7:49 AM Comments comments (0)

During Wednesday’s General Audience Pope Francis reminded the gathered that Friday 13 May is the memorial of Our Lady of Fatima, stressing the importance of paying heed to Mary’s words not to offend God any more than we already have and to focus our hearts and minds on abandoning ourselves to God’s love and mercy.


The pope said: “In this apparition, Mary invites us once again to prayer, penitence and conversion. She asks us to offend God no more….She warns all humanity of the need to abandon itself to God, the wellspring of love and mercy. Following the example of St. John Paul II, a great devotee of Our Lady of Fatima, let us listen carefully to the Mother of God, and implore peace for the world.”

Three Simple Tips for Catholic Families: Eat, Pray and be Merry

Posted on May 10, 2016 at 12:23 PM Comments comments (0)

1. Eat

We Catholics like to celebrate with food!  This is why it is important to eat together as a family and to enjoy the delicious food gifted to us by God and prepared by the hands of our mother or father.  Mealtimes should be a time of great celebration and we should make an extra special effort to celebrate Sundays and Catholic feast days.  You may even want to consider celebrating important dates such as your anniversary, showing your children that your marriage is something that is important to you and that you delight in remembering that special day.  Why not bake a cake together for the occasion?
And remember, no mobile phones or tablets at the dinner table!  Encourage an environment free of technology, where everyone takes a turn to talk about the highs and lows of their day.  Let the dinner table be a forum for openness and honesty among all the family; a sacrosanct place where the family basks in the joys and rallies in the sorrows of each family member.


2. Pray 

Prayer can take many forms and prayer within the family unit is no different.  It is important that people pray as a family as best they can.  Praying the Rosary as a family is a beautiful way to express our faith and this is something that should be encouraged in every Catholic home.  You may want to make it more interesting for younger children by introducing images or pictures to go with the mysteries.  And if one of the kids kicks off, stop for a break, but remember to try and pick it up again another time.  And start small, especially with younger kids.  A few short prayers or a decade of the Rosary will likely suffice to begin with.
It’s also very important to pray as a family before and after meals.  There are a number of simple prayers suitable for this but even a simple ‘thank you Jesus’ will do! 
And remember, it is important that children see their parents pray, so be prepared to set an example to your kids and make sure you take them to Holy Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation.  Be an example to them by regular attendance at the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and consider becoming more active in the life of your Parish.  Children will respond positively to your active participation in the life of the Church and will see how important it is to you.
Be willing to talk about your faith and don't be embarrassed if one of the kids asks you something you don't know.  This is a great opportunity to learn as a family!  Learning can be a form of prayer too! So don't be afraid to pick up the Bible or the Catechism or to even search Google for an answer.  Let your children see just how interested you are to learn too. 
And above all, let them see just how much you love Jesus by your prayer!  

   
3. Be Merry

As Catholic people immersed in the love of Jesus Christ and with the sure and certain hope of eternal life, shouldn’t we be immensely happy??  Our family life should be full of fun and games.  We should be unafraid to dance and to waste time with our children.  Just because God is at the very centre of our lives doesn’t mean life has to be one big serious drag.  The fact that God is at the centre of our lives is the very reason we should be deliriously happy from the moment we wake in the morning until our head hits the pillow again the following night.  If those of us who are members of the Church established by Jesus Christ and who regularly gather in his presence at Holy Mass cannot be happy, then there is no hope for any of us!  No hope!  So let us rejoice, let us be happy.  Let’s show our children that being Catholic is great fun!  And remember, don’t complain or gossip about people and don’t be too quick to criticise others.  Such an attitude creates a negative environment for children and leads to increased cynicism and scepticism; something they themselves will only be too happy to take on board! 

Where have all the Catholic men gone?

Posted on April 19, 2016 at 11:42 AM Comments comments (0)

A call to Catholic men to right the wrongs of a broken society

 
Here’s a question for Catholic men: did you know that you have the power to mend our broken society?  All the sadness and despair, the lies and deceit, the selfishness and infidelity; you have the answer to all of these problems.  The future of our world; a future of beauty, goodness and truth is in your hands! 


Confused?  Don't be.  Consider for a moment when the perfect world God created changed.  It was in the Garden of Eden, when Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and both she and Adam ate the fruit.  This is the moment everything started to go wrong.  This is the moment sin and death entered into our world.  But what if you could help to right the wrong? 


Jesus, through his passion and Resurrection, redeemed that fatal mistake made by our forefathers in Eden, yet too many in the world reject the redemption Jesus offers them; preferring to ignore it and to continue buying into the relativist culture that tells them anything goes.  A culture that encourages selfishness for the sake of one’s own wants and desires.

 
So is there something we Catholic men can do to bring people to accept Christ's redemption on the Cross?  How can we play a part in helping to heal the wounds of the single biggest mistake made by humanity?  A good starting point is to identify Adam’s first mistake.  If we take ourselves back to the Garden of Eden, at the very moment the serpent persuades Eve to eat the fruit and she obliges.  Where is Adam at this point?  Why is he not protecting his wife from the cunning serpent and telling her to do as God instructed and not eat the fruit from the tree? 

 
This example of Adam failing to protect and care for his wife is all too prevalent in our world today.  And such a failure has serious repercussions.  Adam, after eating the fruit, suddenly realised that he and his wife were naked and he no longer saw her as God intended him to see her.  Rather, it was her body alone that he could see.  His eyes could no longer appreciate Eve’s purity in her soul, that part of her which is the very core of her being.  Instead he looked upon her as an object for pleasure and gratification.  Does this ring any bells?  Is this not an accurate reflection of how many men view women in our world today?  Adam, created to have dominion over all the animals of the world and to be protector-in-chief of God’s creation, including his wife, had gone from a soldier for God to a man of weakness; a wretch with no backbone.


And so it is with us men today.  Instead of protecting our wives and ensuring their safety and security in this world of sin, we have let them become the object of our own selfish desires and gratification.  We, like Adam, have taken our eye off the ball and have failed our women.  We have failed them badly.


Catholic men can rebuild our broken society

Everywhere we turn there is infidelity, adultery, divorce, pornography, selfishness, violence, hate and intolerance.  The world is in ruins because of relativist ideals, especially those borne out of the sexual revolution.  But we Catholic men have been charged with making something out of those ruins; to take them and to build a pillar of love for the whole world to see.  We are called to succeed where Adam failed.  We have a duty to carry out God’s original plan for His Creation; that is to serve, protect and defend all that God has entrusted to our care, especially our wives and children.

 
We must see our wives as God intended; with a perfect love.  That is, the same perfect love we witness when we see Christ hanging from the Cross.  This, brothers, is the love we are called to show our wives.  It is not lustful, it is not selfish.  It is pure sacrifice.  We, like Christ, must be prepared to lay down our lives for our wives and our children, putting their needs before our own.  Only in living out this kind of love will we be able to repair the wounds in our society; a society that is broken, having lost all sense of what it really means to be in love. 

 
Our world today is full of love built on sand.  We have love built on lies, we have love built on selfish desires, we have love built on one night stands, and we have love built on adultery.  The result of this is broken relationships, broken families, and ultimately broken children who have never experienced the love they need in order to thrive.  Society needs strong leaders in love.  It needs an authentic, unselfish and unconditional love that is free from the horrid pain of selfishness and lies.  The sexual revolution encourages people to dip in and out of relationships as and when they please.  There is no attempt to encourage staying power, no attempt to encourage true fidelity.  It is every man and woman for themselves.  Yet as Catholic men we are called to be much better than this, much better!  We are called to be soldiers for God, bringing His perfect love to the world by living it out in our homes and in our everyday lives, setting an example for our broken society.  God is looking down at the earth and asking “Where have all my Catholic men gone?  Where are my soldiers?  Where are the men my Son died for?”

Christ's broken body is the example we are called to follow 

Brothers, let us be true.  True to God, true to our wives, true to our children, and true to our world.  Let us use our call to greatness, our call to be saints, to make a real difference to our world.  Let us never tire of striving to show the kind of love that Christ showed on the Cross, when he gave everything he had, shedding every last drop of blood for his people.  We too are called to give everything we have.  So, with a deep sense of prayer and trust in the Holy Spirit, let us go forth and be true protectors of God’s creation.  Let us be sure to love our wives and families with that perfect love so unselfishly evidenced by the broken body of Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross.





Pope Francis a world leader in love as he gives hope to twelve Muslim migrants

Posted on April 18, 2016 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)
Pope Francis welcomes some of the migrants to Rome

Pope Francis has once again thrust the Catholic Church into the spotlight; this time by bringing a group of twelve Syrian migrants from the island of Lesbos to live in Rome.  The families travelled with the pope back to Italy after he made a visit to the small Greek island last weekend.  It is understood the three families, all Muslim, were fully prepped for the move ahead of the pope’s visit.


The finer details of how all of this will pan out remain to be seen, but the gesture itself is one of great love and generosity on the part of Francis.  It is dynamic, reactive, and challenging.  In many respects it bears the hallmarks of Christ himself. 



And while he had to leave huge numbers of migrants behind in Lesbos, Francis left them in no doubt that he loves each and every one of them as he told them: “you are not alone”.  He later followed this up with a call to Western leaders to do more to accommodate the migrants.   


Yet the challenge set down by the pope is not just for political leaders.  Each one of us is called to rise to his challenge and to show similar love and compassion to the poor and needy in our communities.  So before we criticise others for their failure to act, we need to think about what we ourselves are doing for the good of humanity.  It might only be small gestures of love or kindness, but remember, each little gesture creates another building block for the Kingdom of God.

   
For all of the criticism Pope Francis attracts, particularly from his own household, he has the knack of showing great love to all people, especially to those in great need.  In all honesty, I wish I could have even a tiny percentage of the compassion, mercy and humility that this man clearly has in abundance.  He is, in many respects, a world leader in love.  Isn’t that precisely what God’s representative on earth should be?



Catholic Church spokesman: Media deceiving public on child abuse

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 11:17 AM Comments comments (0)
The Church will implement all recommendations
from the McLellan Report

Peter Kearney, Director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, has called for fairness by the media in reporting the issue of child abuse in the Catholic Church. 


Mr Kearney suggests that official figures show that the problem in the Church is tiny compared to the problem as a whole across Scotland.  Indeed, it is believed that only 0.3% of abuse complaints over the past ten years were against Catholic clergy and volunteers.  Yet, despite this figure, the media appear determined to castigate the Church as offender in chief when it comes to the awful reality of child abuse.


As Peter Kearney says, the “robust attention” of the media around this issue is to be “welcomed” as it “serves to strengthen the resolve of those working within the Church to be as transparent and accountable as possible.  Survivors deserve that.”  But there appears to be a disproportionate focus on the Church, especially when you consider the figures quoted.


As we have said before, the Catholic Church in Scotland should now be the safest place for children given the work it is doing to ensure that deplorable mistakes from the past are not repeated.  Following the McLellan Commission’s report last year the Church accepted all eight recommendations of the Commission in relation to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable persons and expects all eight to be fully implemented by the end of 2017.   


Perhaps one of the biggest moves by the Church has been to release an annual audit of all abuse allegations against its clergy and volunteers.  This is made public thus ensuring transparency and easy access to the figures for the media and the general public, all of whom have a vested interest in this issue.  Sadly, such transparency is not forthcoming from other churches in Scotland.  Indeed, no other organised church in Scotland releases data in this way.  And they are not alone.  The NHS, Police Scotland, local authorities and national youth and voluntary groups have thus far failed to step up to the plate and release audits of abuse allegations.


As Peter Kearney says, “All abuse is utterly wrong and must always be condemned”, but “narratives suggesting the Catholic Church has a disproportionate problem and wider society hasn’t, is a terrible deception.  Survivors deserve better.” 


Click this link to read the full article at Scotsman.com: http://www.scotsman.com/news/comment-the-church-deserves-balanced-reporting-1-4097241

'Families must be seen as an opportunity, not a problem' says Pope Francis in new exhortation

Posted on April 8, 2016 at 9:11 AM Comments comments (0)

In his new exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), Pope Francis has expressed the need to view the family unit as an opportunity rather than a problem, and has encouraged the Church to be more understanding and compassionate towards those who experience difficulties in family life.  There is a real sense of challenge in the document; a challenge to a deeper, less self-centred love towards all people, coupled with a deeper sense of humility.


The document, which runs to 264 pages, also speaks highly of the value of children and the need for married couples to be open to the prospect of new life.  It emphasises the need to see the family unit as a church and provides insight into the various reasons that have contributed to the breakdown of the family in our world today.  He was also critical of those who are narcissistic and irresponsible in relationships saying: "We treat affective relationships the way we treat material objects and the environment: everything is disposable; everyone uses and throws away, takes and breaks, exploits and squeezes to the last drop. Then, goodbye. Narcissism makes people incapable of looking beyond themselves, beyond their own desires and needs. Yet sooner or later, those who use others end up being used themselves, manipulated and discarded by that same mind-set."


As expected, the pope has not made any moves to change Church teaching and matters such as contraception, same-sex marriage, abortion and holy communion for the divorced and remarried have not been given the liberal treatment that many media outlets had hoped for.  This, of course, was never in doubt. 


However, Francis has encouraged the Church to give consideration to how it can best serve those who do not live in accordance with Church teaching, especially when it comes to reconciling them to God.  Bishops, priests and Catholic lay people are all being challenged to be the merciful face of Christ to those in difficult situations, while ensuring that the beautiful teaching of the Church is preserved.  There is also a challenge to be more positive about Church doctrine, to present it in a way that reveals its true beauty and goodness.


While we are not yet in a position to go into detail on the exhortation we will be posting a number of related content on our Facebook and Twitter feeds over the coming days.  We also expect to publish more posts here on our blog so please do check it regularly. 


In the meantime, here is a reasonable early summary of the document from the National Catholic Register: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/popes-family-document-amoris-laetitia-tackles-complex-pastoral-challenges/


I would also urge you to consider reading Jimmy Akin's '12 things you need to know and share' about the exhortation: http://www.catholic.com/blog/jimmy-akin/pope-franciss-new-document-on-marriage-12-things-to-know-and-share


Latest edition of Handing on the Faith newsletter

Posted on April 1, 2016 at 8:21 AM Comments comments (0)
Click the following link to see Dermot Grenham’s latest edition of his Handing on the Faith newsletter: https://dermotgrenham.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/handing-on-the-faith-march-2016/


Will you wash the feet of those closest to you tonight?

Posted on March 24, 2016 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)
In today’s Gospel we hear about the washing of the apostles’ feet by Jesus.  Peter was very resistant to this as it seemed completely absurd to have Jesus do such a thing.  This was, after all, God made man, the Saviour of the world!  It should surely be the other way round would have been Peter’s thinking.


Yet Jesus makes it clear that this is something he must do.  Firstly, he makes it clear that “unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”  This is a clear link to our Baptism and its fundamental importance in our salvation.  It is also a link to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where we are once again clothed in the white robe of our Baptism and brought to new life.  Our inheritance, it seems, is dependent on living in accordance with Christ’s teaching, and this is achieved through our acceptance of and living in the Sacraments of his Church.


Christ’s washing of the apostles’ feet is also a sign that he is here to serve rather than be served.  It is also considered by many to be an important sign of the priesthood and its role in taking the love of God to all people.  And this is what I would like to focus on for a moment.  Despite being in the knowledge of the intolerable pain and suffering he was about to endure, Christ took time out to perform this simple but critical act of love.  And that is what we need to take from this special moment between Jesus and his apostles.  It was an act of selfless love; a visible sign of how man should treat man.  Jesus wanted to show this love to his apostles so that they would then do the same to others.


This Holy Week, are you prepared to wash the feet of those closest to you?  While we may participate in the washing of the feet during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper we must also remember that our homes and families are small churches too.  So after tonight’s Mass when you get home, consider washing the feet of your family and perhaps take turns doing so.  And while this is something that can be initiated by any member of the family, perhaps those of you who are fathers can take the lead.  Men are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and tend to their own flock in the same way that Jesus did.  And what better way to do this than to replicate Christ’s actions and wash the feet of those closest to you?  While simple, this act of love carries with it an incredible power, the power of Christ who makes all things new.  And for those of you with children in your household, it will create a real sense of intrigue among them and they will no doubt want to learn more.  It’s a great opportunity to explain to them, in simple terms and by action, just how much Jesus loves them and how much you love them too.




Pope Francis’ latest comments on paedophilia, same-sex unions, abortion, the EU and more….

Posted on February 19, 2016 at 6:56 AM Comments comments (0)

Pope Francis didn't just talk about Donald Trump's value as a Christian and contraception on his latest flight home to Rome.  There is so much more that the mainstream media has failed to cover.  So here it is....the stuff you probably haven't yet heard about:


Pope Francis on paedophilia in the Church and the part played by Pope Benedict XVI to eradicate it:

“First, a bishop who moves a priest to another parish when a case of pedophilia is discovered is a reckless [inconsciente] man and the best thing he can do is to present his resignation. Is that clear?

Cardinal Ratzinger deserves an applause. Yes, an applause for him. He had all of the documentation. He’s a man who as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had everything in his hands. He conducted all the investigations, and went on, went on, went on, until he couldn’t go any further. But, if you remember, 10 days before the death of St. John Paul II, in that Via Crucis of Holy Friday, he said to the whole Church that it needed to clean up the dirt of the Church. And in the Pro-Eligendo Pontefice Mass, despite knowing that he was a candidate, he wasn’t stupid, he didn’t care to “make-up” his answer, he said exactly the same thing. He was the brave one who helped so many open this door. So, I want to remember him because sometimes we forget about this hidden works that were the foundations for “taking the lid off the pot.”

And, the final thing I would like to say that it’s a monstrosity, because a priest is consecrated to lead a child to God, and he eats him in a diabolical sacrifice. He destroys him.”



Pope Francis on same-sex unions and adoption by same-sex couples:

“I think what the Church has always said about this. “

“On people of the same sex, I repeat what I said on the trip to Rio di Janeiro. It’s in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”



Pope Francis on abortion:

“Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil.
Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best-case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no?  It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.”



Pope Francis on the European Union:

“I like this idea of the re-foundation of the European Union, maybe it can be done, because Europe — I do not say is unique, but it has a force, a culture, a history that cannot be wasted, and we must do everything so that the European Union has the strength and also the inspiration to make it go forward. That’s what I think.”



Pope Francis on the reintegration into the Church of re-married persons:

“Integrating in the Church doesn’t mean receiving Communion. I know married Catholics in a second union who go to church, who go to church once or twice a year and say I want communion, as if joining in Communion were an award. It’s a work towards integration, all doors are open, but we cannot say, “from here on they can have Communion.” This would be an injury also to marriage, to the couple, because it wouldn’t allow them to proceed on this path of integration. And those two were happy. They used a very beautiful expression: we don’t receive Eucharistic Communion, but we receive communion when we visit hospitals and in this and this and this. Their integration is that. If there is something more, the Lord will tell them, but it’s a path, a road.”



On Pope John Paull II’s friendship with Ana Teresa Tymieniecka:

“In my own experience, including when I ask for advice, I would ask a collaborator, a friend, I also like to hear the opinion of a woman because they have such wealth. They look at things in a different way. I like to say that women are those who form life in their wombs — and this is a comparison I make — they have this charism of giving you things you can build with. A friendship with a woman is not a sin. [It’s] a friendship. A romantic relationship with a woman who is not your wife, that is a sin. Understand?

But the Pope is a man. The Pope needs the input of women, too. And the Pope, too, has a heart that can have a healthy, holy friendship with a woman. There are saint-friends — Francis and Clare, Teresa and John of the Cross — don't be frightened. But women are still not considered so well; we have not understood the good that a woman do for the life of a priest and of the church in the sense of counsel, help of a healthy friendship.”



And finally, what did the pope ask for in Guadalupe?

“I asked for the world, for peace, so many things. The poor thing ended up with her head like this (raises arms around head). I asked forgiveness, I asked that the Church grows healthy, I asked for the Mexican people. And another thing I asked a lot for: that priests to be true priests, and sisters true sisters, and bishops true bishops. As the Lord wants. This I asked a lot for, but then, the things a child tells his mother are a bit of a secret.”



40 Days for Life in Glasgow: Making Scotland a Welcoming Place for Her Children

Posted on February 9, 2016 at 6:41 AM Comments comments (0)
40 Days for Life is coming to Scotland

As we prepare to participate in 40 Days for Life for the first time here in Glasgow it is important to bear in mind a few home truths.  Some sections of the media and other groups in favour of abortion have had their say on the event in recent days and, not surprisingly, their view on 40 Days for Life is extremely negative.  


I would be careful not to take too much note of the negativity expressed by these groups and individuals.  Remember that their interest in this matter is the polar opposite of ours.  They believe that abortion should remain legal and that any individual or group claiming otherwise needs to be silenced.  That has been their tactic for a long time and it continues to be their tactic.  But we must not be put off and we must remember why we are doing this. We are doing this because we want to stop the killing of innocent, defenceless children and we want to help young women cope with the life changing reality of a new child.


And despite reports to the contrary we must be careful to remember that this will be a peaceful, prayerful vigil.  It will not be a violent protest with hecklers screaming from the rooftops, shouting at young women as they enter hospital grounds.  While it would be correct to say that there have been incidents involving over-zealous pro-life supporters in the United States, these reports have been significantly over inflated by those in favour of abortion.  The idea is that pro-life supporters will be put off attending the event, preferring to steer clear of perceived fundamentalism.  They want to paint a picture of nasty, violent religious fanatics who want to push their beliefs onto others.  It is another classic tactic of the pro-choice lobby.    


But there is hope!  The lies are coming thick and fast and this can mean only one thing: the pro-choice lobby is worried. I have long wished for this day; the day that the abortion debate would really come to the fore in Scotland, propelling itself into the public square and the public mind. It's now happening and I pray fervently for the strength and the faith to persevere in what will be a tough debate. But we must never lose sight of who this is really for. The time for the little ones to have a fair hearing in our country has come. 


And remember, you don't need to worry too much about changing the hearts and minds of the biased media and the vociferous pro-choice activists you may see at counter protests. Their minds will not be changed. But the minds of the huge silent majority can be changed.  These are the people who don’t get involved in the public debate but who, from afar, can appreciate the need to protect all life and who can appreciate true equality.  It is they who will be watching us as we pray in silence for the innocents, and for their mums, dads and grandparents.  By our peaceful, prayerful actions we can be a witness to the indisputable beauty of life.


While millions of Scotland’s sons and daughters have perished through abortion since it was made legal in 1967, their deaths need not be in vain.  Let their untimely and needless deaths be the catalyst for a new era of true equality of life for all in our country.  If we desire to make Scotland a welcoming place for Syrian refugees, we can surely make Scotland a welcoming place for each and every one of her own precious children.