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For up to date news affecting the Catholic Church in Scotland contact:. The Catholic Church in Scotland has announced the creation of a new independent Safeguarding agency. ificantly, this experience includes responding to the hurt and anguish of those who have suffered abuse at the hands of clergy, religious and others working within the Catholic Church. IGIv2 makes reference to key statements made by Pope Francis and to instructions and norms published by the Holy See in recent years.

It also takes into evolving changes to the PVG scheme in Scotland. The work of the Independent Review Group and recommendations from independent audits of safeguarding in Scottish dioceses have also had a bearing on this revised version.

The bishops of Scotland offer our deep condolences and the promise of our prayers to Bishop Stephen Robson and all the clergy and people of the Diocese of Dunkeld as they remember Bishop Vincent. Coming only a day after the death in Glasgow of Archbishop Philip Tartaglia marks this week as one of loss and mourning for the Catholic church in Scotland. Kentigern Mungo of the death of our brother bishop and friend Philip Tartaglia. His loss to his family, his clergy and the people of the Archdiocese of Glasgow will be immeasurable but for the entire Church in Scotland this is a day of immense loss and sadness.

He was a gentle, caring and warm-hearted pastor who combined compassion with a piercing intellect. On behalf of the Bishops of Scotland, we commend his soul into the hands of God and pray that he may enjoy eternal rest. A range of approaches, focusing on the liturgical, spiritual and welfare needs of the Catholic community during a time of long-term restrictions will be examined by a newly established Pastoral Ministry Working Group.

This group will aim to ensure that the Church is prepared for the possibility of extended restrictions on the operation of parishes and dioceses by planning for forms of pastoral ministry which will be viable in the COVID context.

Speaking about the initiative, Bishop McGee said;. With great ingenuity and creativity, online Masses and devotions were made available throughout the country every day. Through this and other action, many vulnerable and lonely people continue to be supported in safe ways. We do not expect this to happen until at least This means, that even when Churches reopen, parish activities will still be greatly restricted, our Pastoral Working Group hopes to identify and publicise advice or resources to help dioceses and parishes face fresh challenges in a safe manner.

Margaret Barton, R. Michael McGrath, Asst. Having given due consideration to the words of the First Minister last evening, we, the Bishops of Scotland, agree that our churches should be closed during this period of national emergency for the common good. There will be no celebrations of baptism or marriage but we will continue to offer prayers for those who have died and for their families who mourn their passing. The Church is not only a building but the people of God at prayer wherever they may find themselves.

We encourage all Catholics and all people of faith to pray unceasingly in their homes for our nation at this time in particular for our political leaders, our health care professionals and all those suffering from the virus. May this lived Lenten experience lead us to new life and healing at Easter. We can remain part of the worldwide prayer of the Church, asking the Father to deliver us from our current evils, and through the practice of spiritual communion unite ourselves to the Eucharistic Sacrifice our priests will be offering privately. The prayers in this booklet are offered to help us do this.

Surely our voice will be heard. With every blessing,. Given the recent official advice to reduce the spread of Covid, the Bishops of Scotland have taken the difficult decision to suspend Holy Mass in public for the time being from Thursday 19th March, the feast of St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church.

The Bishops, who are responding to an unprecedented crisis in modern times, wish to assure all those whom they lead that this decision has not been taken without much prayer and discernment. Priests will continue to celebrate Holy Mass in private with the particular intention of praying for those suffering from Covid and for those who care for them. Churches will remain open for personal prayer and parish priests are encouraged to welcome individuals who seek consolation and encouragement from the Lord.

Priests are also asked to be available for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion as and when they are needed especially for the sick and housebound. All Catholics in Scotland are asked to with all the Churches in a National Day of Prayer this Sunday 22 nd March and to pray the Rosary, the prayer of our Blessed Mother Mary, at 12 noon, asking Her intercession for our country and our world in this time of need. Read the full Pastoral Letter and Statement here. The Catholic community throughout Scotland is called to set aside Friday 28th February as a Day of Prayer for all who have suffered, or are suffering, from any form of abuse.

We pray that survivors of abuse will experience healing, justice and renewal in their lives. We also pray that the Church, which has been scarred by the grave sin of abuse, will, through repentance and reparation, resolve always to protect the young and the vulnerable.

Please click on the links below to see these documents. They invite people across the world to light candles and say a prayer for people murdered in death camps of all nationalities and religions and for their relatives. The coming of Christ brings us hope, and the Church exists to proclaim that hope to the world.

There is hope because God does not abandon us to live with our imperfections and our failings — God is with us. Deep in the heart of every individual is a desire, a longing, a hope for peace. But it is our human failings of greed and selfishness, of pride and arrogance that lead to friction and fallouts, in our families, in our communities, and in our places of work. And when it comes to the international level and the relationship between states, those negative effects of our human weakness and our failings are multiplied leading to violence and to war, to death and to destruction.

Pope Francis tells us that every war is a form of fratricide,1 because in war we are killing our brothers and sisters, since we all belong to the one human family. Despite the conflicts in our homes and the wars in our world, the longing for peace lies in the heart of every human being,2 including in the heart of those we choose to call our enemies. But peace can only be brought about by building up trust, for mistrust and fear increase feelings of insecurity and lead us to putting our faith in military might and weapons of war. For peace to be achieved we must overcome those baser elements of our human nature that tempt us to dominate and dictate, and to seek retaliation and revenge.

We always begin the New Year by praying for peace, but we must do more than pray, we must actively work to build up peace: to seek reconciliation in our family fallouts and in our disputes with neighbours. We must urge our politicians and governments not to base their foreign policy on a narrow sense of national self-interest, but to respond to the urge that lies in the hearts of their people for peace, and so work for harmony among the family of nations.

There are not two moralities, a private one for dealing with our family and friends, and a public one for countries and nations. There is only one morality and it is based on respecting the dignity of every human being. There is only one human family to which we all belong. Our hope for peace comes from God, whose Spirit is active in the hearts of all and whose presence enables us to overcome the flaws of our human nature.

By our prayer and by our constant effort may the peace which we long for in our hearts become a reality in our world. He succeeds Fr Jim Grant who was appointed in I extend our warmest thanks to Fr. Jim Grant for his service and to Bishop Toal for his willingness to support the conference and its work by lending one of his priests as General Secretary.

I am grateful to Mgr Michael Conway and my parishioners from St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, Wishaw, for their support and prayers for this new challenge. I am sure he will bring his many talents to that role and I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide him as he accepts this new challenge. Fr Grant will take up his appointment in Carfin on 8 February. Ignatius of Loyola, Wishaw ; Chaplain to St. Aidan's High, Wishaw Apologies were received from Bishops John Keenan and Stephen Robson, who were unable to attend; otherwise the meeting was attended by all Conference members.

It is hoped that SCF can be established and formally launched early in The bishops welcomed the new versions and voted to accept them as part of a projected new edition of the Liturgy of the Hours. The Secretary to the Congregation for Catholic Education at the Holy See, Archbishop Zani hosted a meeting with the bishops present at the Congress, outlining the four pillars of the Congregations interest in Catholic schools: The identity of the Catholic school - there is a spectrum of catholicity around the world with schools in some countries not having as strong a catholic identity than in others.

The educational community - the collaboration of home, school and parish is central to success. The formation of Catholic teachers - in some countries the withdrawal of religious as school staff was necessitating a move to lay led educators as has been the case in Scotland for many decades. New Challenges - this is particularly relevant in Scotland as our schools are a part of the state sector. Archbishop Tartaglia advised that the Scottish Catholic Education Services was well regarded internationally and commended their work. He advised that the conference legal representative would explain to SCAI, that there were no records of the Catholic Church in Scotland engaging with or promoting child migration schemes at a parish or diocesan level.

The Scottish Hierarchy at the time would not have known the , identity or destination of migrants and would not have had any means of enquiring about the welfare or eventual outcomes of those who migrated. The letter also advises, that the Catholic Church across Scotland has been engaged for some time in a range of actions deed to offer reparation to victims and survivors of abuse.

These actions include: enabling access to records, providing counselling sessions, posting people to a range of relevant support services, arranging individual meetings and offering apologies. This seeks to establish protocols in areas such as Data Protection, mediation and arbitration. The seminary in Spain caters for a 6-month propaedeutic period prior to the seminarians going to Rome. Both seminaries have long histories. There are currently over 20 seminarians in Rome and there will be around 6 seminarians in the propaedeutic period in the Salamanca seminary in There was a wide ranging discussion on how best to prepare the next generation of seminarians for service in the Scottish church and where they might best be trained.

This General Election presents us with an opportunity to elect an individual representative who reflects as closely as possible our beliefs. It allows us to revisit Catholic Social Teaching and to connect our voting to our Catholic faith. It can be a chance to proclaim the inherent dignity and value of every human being, made in the image and likeness of God, and to promote the common good.

In recent times, politics has become divisive, principally, though not exclusively, as a result of the EU referendum. Vigorous debate has sometimes spilled over into personal attacks and even acts of violence which are never acceptable. Uncertain times ought to make us stop and reflect on the One who is Truth Himself. Turning to God in these difficult times is our only hope for true peace. During elections, a range of issues compete for our attention; we highlight some of them here so that we may reflect on them and raise them with parliamentary candidates.

It is the duty of all of us to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right — the right to life. We should urge candidates to recognise human life from the moment of conception until natural death and to legislate for its protection at every stage, including protecting the unborn child, ensuring that both mother and child are accepted and loved.

We should remind our politicians that abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia are, as the Church has consistently taught, always morally unacceptable. Decriminalisation of abortion unhappily paves the way towards a legal basis for abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth and politicians should be urged to resist it.

Our Governments should also promote a culture of life overseas, reversing the current practice of the UK Government to support anti-life initiatives, which might be described as ideological colonisation. 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 basic, fundamental cell upon which society is built.

The wellbeing of society depends on the flourishing and health of family life and MPs and other legislators should respond to this with policies that create economic and fiscal support for married couples and families with children. Sadly, poverty continues to be a scourge for many at home and abroad. Too many people still struggle to make ends meet, homelessness is on the rise, and the two-child limit on tax credits is disproportionately affecting families of faith. This reality cannot and should not endure in our country in the twenty-first century.

Reliance on food banks, particularly for families, is a telling criticism of a society that has forgotten its poor people in its midst. Aid should not be used to support immoral practices such as those which compromise the basic right to life. Legislation in our country should also welcome refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, remove the inhumane policy of indefinite immigration detention, and provide for those people living in and around conflict zones while committing to working towards the peaceful resolution of conflict.

We believe that a creeping intolerance towards religious belief, including but not confined to Christianity, has become part of life in modern Britain. Certain politicians and citizens are finding it increasingly difficult to be true to their faith in an environment that tries to restrict religion to the private sphere. Our MPs should be urged to legislate for a liberal and tolerant society that is truly welcoming to all faiths and none.

Millions of people worldwide are persecuted for their beliefs. People of faith, including Christians, should be able to practise their faith freely and to bear witness to it in their lives without fear of prejudice, intolerance, abuse or violence.

Candidates for Parliament should be committed to the right of people not to be forced to act against their conscience, and the next UK Government should campaign against religious persecution and intolerance around the world. The use of any weapon that causes more than individual and proportionate harm to civilians is immoral and is rejected by the Church.

The use of weapons of mass destruction is a serious offence 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 as well as a misuse of public funds that could serve to address the needs of the disadvantaged.

May they be guided towards what is good and true; to the One who can bring true peace and freedom for all. The timing of the document is ificant: 30 September is the Feast of Saint Jerome, the man who translated most of the Bible into Latin, and who famously said: "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ".

This year also marks years since his death. The title of the document, "Aperuit illis", is equally important. Letter to First Minister 18 July The report can be viewed here. Here in Scotland, the Bishops had the courage to establish a Commission under former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Dr Andrew McLellan, to conduct a review into the safeguarding policies, procedures and practices within the Catholic Church. Out of that review came the Independent Review Group, which I was invited to Chair, and where I am ed by a team of acknowledged and experienced professionals in the field of safeguarding.

The first meeting of the IRG was in May and today we publish our first report into our review of the implementation of the McLellan recommendations. The problem of how the Church is perceived is a universal one and als the need for real and far reaching change. The vigour with which change is brought about, and is seen to be brought about, will determine whether credibility and trust can ever be restored.

There needs to be a change in culture, in capacity, in capability and that needs training, learning, reflection, the utmost transparency, and it needs leadership. We have found a willingness to adopt that change, but true progress can only come about as a result of deep analysis of strengths and weaknesses. Safeguarding is often misunderstood; it is about much more than ticking boxes.

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