Scottish Government’s Proposed Sex Change Law Dangerous: Young At Risk 

From The Scotsman Newspaper…

Changing gender could become easier and quicker before the next election, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has said.

Transgender law reform proposed by the Scottish Government would lower the age limit for applications from 18 to 16, remove the need for medical evidence and reduce the required time spent living in the new gender from two years to six months.

Transgender law reform proposed by the Scottish Government would lower the age limit for applications from 18 to 16, remove the need for medical evidence and reduce the required time spent living in the new gender from two years to six months.

It aims to make it simpler for trans people to get a Gender Recognition Certificate to legally change their gender.

Shirley-Anne Somerville told STV’s Scotland Tonight programme the Scottish Government is “determined” to change the law before the 2021 Holyrood election, adding she wants to build “maximum consensus” for the plans.

Arguing trans and women’s rights are not “mutually exclusive”, Ms Somerville said there has been “a lot of misunderstandings” alongside legitimate concerns about the proposed legislation.

The Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would continue to require applicants to make a declaration they have lived in their intended gender for at least three months and intend it to be a permanent transition, as well as having a three-month period of reflection after applying for a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Concerns have been raised about potential abuses of the easier process – for example, men using it to access women’s spaces – although making a false declaration to change gender would remain a criminal offence. In the interview, which will be broadcast by STV on Thursday evening, Ms Somerville said: “I absolutely appreciate that women’s rights are exceptionally important.

“They have been long-fought for and long-campaigned on and there is absolutely nothing I would do as a member of this government to jeopardise any of that.

“So that’s why I really do make sure that I listen to the concerns that are out there on the issue because we not only want to protect what we have as women but we want to make sure our rights are extended.”

Ms Somerville said she was confident the legislation could be passed before the Scottish Parliament elections next year.
The Scottish Government is currently running a consultation encouraging people and organisations to submit their views on the proposed changes by March 17.
She said: “We have women’s rights and we have trans rights – I don’t see those aspects as mutually exclusive.

“What we’re talking about here isn’t something that’s new. These people are in our community, they’re part of our community.

“But they talk to us very specifically about how the current system deeply impacts on them, about the state of their mental health and particularly the high suicide rates within the trans community because they can’t be recognised for who they are.”   Source – The Scotsman

Comment: 

Click here to read the Scottish Government’s Consultation on the proposed Gender Recognition (Scotland) Reform Bill

Then click here to read the help offered by the Christian Institute in participating in the Consultation. Note responses must be submitted by 17 March 2020 – so there is not much time.

Catholic Truth strongly urges all our readers and bloggers to take the time necessary to complete the Consultation.  This latest diversion from the Scottish Government’s record  (as reports on its management of schools and hospitals leave quite a bit to be desired) has been described as the “Named Person Mark Two” – in other words, just as the Named Person Scheme turned out to be a humiliation for the Scottish Government, so, too, will the Gender Recognition (Scotland) Reform Bill, if the population, in sufficient numbers, makes its opposition felt.  

 

Scots Bishop Excommunicates Critics of Pope Francis – Is Catholic Truth Next?

Bishop Brian McGee, 54, of Argyll and The Isles, Scotland, excommunicated a group of hermits on Westray Island, reports Deacon Nick Donnelly on Twitter.

The excommunication was notified on Christmas Eve by mail.

The group consists of Father Stephen de Kerdrel, Sister Colette Roberts and Brother Damon Kelly who, in the past, was arrested ten times for criticising homosexuality and abortion.

The reason for the excommunication was a declaration published in summer on the hermits’ website calling Francis “a great heretic” and stating that “never in history has there been such a Pope, who by his actions, words, and teaching, has thrown the whole Church into confusion.”

The hermits declaration therefore withdraw “our obedience from Pope Francis and sever communion with the Holy See.”   © Nick Donnelly, #newsSxxgfrdnaj

Source – with full declaration included… 

Comment: 

Ignore the headline!  Catholic Truth is highly unlikely to be excommunicated because, unlike those hermits, we recognise that we do not possess the authority to pronounce on the Pope in this way;  we recognise, rather, that this pontificate is but the latest suffering for us, in this ever-worsening Church crisis.  Much patience, along with much penance and prayer is needed to see us through this crisis. Pray for the Pope, highlight and correct his shocking errors, and then wait for the judgment of the Church in due course.  Unless he publicly and massively repents, there’s no doubt that he will be anathematized by the Church authorities at some future date.  Just not now.  And just not by anyone who lacks the authority to formally denounce him.  It’s sad and disappointing that those hermits have now followed Luther to stand against Christ’s Church, and all because of a bad pope.  Very sad. Very disappointing.    One of the things which has led them into this error, as stated in their  Declaration, is the incomprehensible silence of the world’s bishops.  They are right about that – those bishops will share in whatever horrors await Pope Francis at his judgment for their complicity in his theological, spiritual, moral and ecclesiastical crimes. 

Nevertheless, I sincerely hope there’s nobody on this blog who thinks that the hermits did the right thing but if you ARE of that flawed mindset,  feel free to say so, just this once – we normally avoid this subject since it can lead people astray, but since this is happening here in our own neck of the woods in Scotland, well… there’s always an exception to the rule.  So, this is it; but, be clear, those hermits are 100% wrong to break from  Christ’s Church no matter how well intentioned, for we all know about that dreaded road which is paved with good intentions but which leads us, literally, to Hell.  Avoid! 

Elaine Smith, MSP on Contribution of Catholic Schools in Scotland… Priceless! 

Comment: 

Present in the public gallery watching this recent discussion in the Scottish Parliament, we see Leo Cushley, the Archbishop of St Andrew’s & Edinburgh, Barbara Coupar, the Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES), and a group of students. 

Not one  item on Elaine Smith’s list singles out Catholic schools as being any different from any other school in Scotland or anywhere else in the UK.

Yet, (or which explains why) one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) after another, praised Catholic schools to the skies. 

The buzzwords are all there – inclusive, diversity blah blah, how Catholic schools are teaching about all religions, nothing to worry about here. Hiding in plain sight as ever, of course, the fact that the one religion not being taught in Catholic schools is Catholicism.  Nobody asked why Catholic pupils are leaving Catholic schools able to name the five pillars of Islam but unable to name the precepts of the Church.  I mean who teaches that Sunday Mass attendance is obligatory, any more? Or that sex outside of marriage (between one man and one woman) is sinful?  Who teaches that any more?  Nothing to see here, move along…

One useful comment in the video comes from Baptist, John Mason, MSP for Glasgow Shettleston – scroll to 39.50, to hear him argue that there should be room in “the  public square” for the expression of faith-based values, just as humanists are allowed free rein to express their views.  

John Swinney, MSP, SNP Minister for Education, the one and same John Swinney whom we saw squirming in another video as he defended the disgraceful sex teaching materials in use in Scottish schools, also sang the praises of Catholic schools. Pause for thought, right there, folks…  He makes a point of telling us that his own son attends a Catholic (shared campus) school, no problem.  And why would there be a problem?  His son, like every other pupil in any Catholic school in Scotland, is never going to be taught that “outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation” – and other key dogmas. Not in a million years. Which is about as long as it is likely to take to end the current crisis in the Church and get back to teaching the Faith, entire and true, without any watering down to accommodate “society”. 

If you  haven’t yet booked your ticket for the Catholic Truth Education Seminar scheduled to take place next May, we strongly recommend that you do so as soon as possible – there is, after all, plenty to discuss…

As a matter of courtesy, I’ve emailed the link to this conversation to the three MSPs named in the above commentary – Elaine Smith, MSP, John Mason, MSP and John Swinney, MSP / Minister for Education in the Scottish Government. So, remember the House Rules – no personal remarks, no politics – stick to the issue(s). 

What on Earth IS “The Catholic Ethos”?

From the Scottish Catholic Observer, 11/10/19
‘Our schools are inclusive, not divisive,’ say headteachers

Catholic Primary headteachers reject secular arguments as they gather for annual CHAPS conference.

Catholic schools are inclusive, not divisive, headteachers emphasised this week as the Archbishop of Glasgow urged them not to shy away from their Catholic ethos.

The recent debate in the secular world over closing Catholic schools was one of the subjects of discussion at the annual Catholic Headteachers Association of Primary Schools (CHAPS) conference at the Dunblane Hydro on October 3-4.

The conference included a workshop at which teachers discussed the inclusion of children of other faiths in their schools.

Debunking secular argument

Sr Isabel Smyth, secretary for interreligious dialogue for the Bishop’s Conference of Scotland, lead the workshop.

She said that the fact there are many pupils of other faiths attending Catholic Schools ‘absolutely’ debunks recent claims in the media that Catholic schools are the cause of bigotry in Scotland.

“If you look at our Catholic schools, many of them are multi-faith and a lot of the children don’t belong to any faith whatsoever.

“If we teach and promote a Catholic ethos at its best then we are doing what’s best for the country,” she said.

Inclusive

Present at the workshop was Clare Harker, headteacher of St Albert’s Primary School in Glasgow…

More than 90 per cent of the school’s pupils are from a Muslim background, a small percentage are Catholic and the remainder are made up of other faiths and none.

Mrs Harker said she wanted to make sure that ‘everybody is very clear that Catholic schools aren’t just the preserve of Catholics and that they’re not about proselytising or indoctrination, they’re about a way of loving—and I think that’s what Catholic schools are doing.’

Catholic ethos

She added: “I think people very much choose to come to our school because of the ethos and presence of God and God-like values.”

In his homily during Mass at the conference, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow asked the teachers to ‘deepen’ their schools’ Faith, for people of all faiths and none, stressing that the ‘religious ethos is something that attracts parents.’

Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles was a keynote speaker at the conference.

He said: “I’ve spent most of my life in and around Catholic schools. I went to one myself and for 27 years I worked in Catholic schools as a priest. Now, as a bishop, I’ve been involved in Catholic schools for the last three and a half years.

“I’ve never once, in all my time, heard anything sectarian or anything divisive within a Catholic school.”

Faith journey

CHAPS chairman James Kerr, headteacher of St Paul’s Primary School, Whiteinch, said the idea that Catholic schools cause separation among children of different faiths is ‘absolutely the total opposite of what a Catholic school is.’

“We recognise the faith journey of people of other faiths and of no faith,” Mr Kerr explained.

The curriculum for Catholic education in Scotland, ‘This is Our Faith’, governs the teaching of religious education in Catholic schools. In the curriculum there is a section dedicated to inclusion of other faiths in Catholic schools.

Mr Kerr added: “We are in the business of making saints, and saints come from all kinds of backgrounds. “ [Emphasis added].

“It’s not an easy journey for us, but Jesus didn’t have an easy journey either,” he said. “For headteachers there are challenges, but the bottom line is that you know ultimately you are doing God’s work.”

Catechism

Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow called on headteachers to be ‘lead catechists’ and ‘chief evangelisers’ in schools.

Speaking on the day, Archbishop Tartaglia told the headteachers: “You’ve heard often enough that Catholic teachers are called to be evangelists in their schools, they’re called to the mission of evangelisation, and Catholic headteachers occupy the post of chief evangelisers in their school community.”

The archbishop called upon the headteachers to ‘take the next step’ in being ‘more conscious, more informed, more living in Faith and leading in Faith’ in their schools.

“I love all my headteachers, but I can see when I go to a school when it’s on the button and when it isn’t,” he added.

“And what I’m asking you to do is to kind of take that step to make it more conscious, deeper, more felt, lived so that the boys and girls that are in your care will have a great experience of being a Catholic Christian.”

Commitment

Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles, attending his first CHAPS conference, said: “It was great to see so many committed headteachers from all across the country who are here and interested in their Faith and are passing that Faith onto young people in their care.”

Barbara Coupar, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, agreed with the archbishop that Catholic headteachers must ‘take the next step’ in ‘building the Faith dimension’ in schools.

She said: “There are a lot of things we are doing very well, but one of the things we take for granted is the underlying Catholic dimension of our schools and I think that we’re at the point where we need to be a bit more up front about that and articulate it more.”   Source

Comment:

I found the above report confusing.  It seemed to be extolling the virtues of “the Catholic ethos”/”religious dimension” throughout, as evidence of the success of Catholic schools in their inclusiveness and diversity, and then, bang, right at the end, this from Barbara Coupar: “… one of the things we take for granted is the underlying Catholic dimension of our schools and I think that we’re at the point where we need to be a bit more up front about that and articulate it more.”

Oops!  is “the underlying Catholic dimension” the same thing as “the Catholic ethos”?  And what does “we need to articulate it more” mean, in practice?  Help!

Victory for Parents: Named Person Scheme Axed by Scottish Government! 

Education Secretary John Swinney will today announce he is to repeal the controversial ‘Named Person’ laws which were rejected by the Supreme Court two years ago.

The Herald understands he will scrap parts 4 and 5 of the Children and Young People Act of 2014, which provided for a ‘named person’ to ensure the wellbeing of every young person in Scotland.  Click here to read more and here to read the report from the Christian Institute.

Comments invited…   

Scottish Bishops Challenge SNP Government on Freedom of Conscience

President of Scotland’s Catholic Bishops asks First Minister to protect freedom of conscience

The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert has written to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to express his

Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB

concerns at the attacks launched against the SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron (right)  following her vote against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland.

In his letter on behalf of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Bishop Gilbert calls on the SNP leader, on behalf of all those “who cherish freedom of conscience within the public square” to provide an urgent reassurance that freedom of conscience will be protected within the SNP and valued in Scottish public life, at every level.

The full text of the letter is shown below.

Letter to the First Minister

Dear First Minister,

I write following recent public comments made by Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP Member of Parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow.

On Tuesday 9 July, Dr Cameron voted against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland. It is a long-standing parliamentary convention that votes on such ethical issues are considered matters of conscience and, thus, are not subject to the party whip. Indeed, this was confirmed in writing to Dr Cameron prior to the 9 July vote by the SNP Chief Whip, Patrick Grady MP.

In the days following the vote, however, Dr Cameron has been subject to a significant degree of hostility from many quarters, including ordinary members and officer bearers of the Scottish National Party, some of which she describes as being “nothing less than vitriolic” in nature. She adds that according to local officials it may “now be incompatible to hold pro-life views and be a SNP MP, candidate, to pass vetting or be elected in any capacity”. She further notes that, despite prompting, she has presently received no public re-assurance from the leadership of the SNP that this is not, in fact, the case. I therefore am writing to you as Leader of the Scottish National Party to seek such a public re-assurance.  [emphasis added – Ed.]

I believe I write on behalf of all who cherish freedom of conscience within the public square and hold in high regard those in public life who remain true to their conscience, even at the expense of personal popularity or political advantage.

“Moral courage is readiness to expose oneself to suffering or inconvenience which does not affect the body,” wrote the co-founder of the Scottish National Party, Sir Compton Mackenzie, in 1962, “It arises from firmness of moral principle and is independent of the physical constitution.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter First Minister.

I await your reply with anticipation. In the meantime, please be assured of my continued prayers and good wishes.

I am, Yours Sincerely,

Bishop Hugh Gilbert
President
Bishops’ Conference of Scotland   – Source:  website of the Catholic Parliamentary Office 

Comment: 

On this occasion, we are pleased to thank the Bishops of Scotland for their public support of Dr Lisa Cameron – and we await the response from Nicola Sturgeon with nothing akin to bated breath 😀  Predictable assurances of respect for freedom of consciences to be expected. 

To offer your support to Dr Cameron MP, you can email her   lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk  – for more contact details and information click here 

Scotland’s Drugs Crisis: Godless Society, Despair & Drugs… Church to Blame?

Leading the news in the print and broadcasting media across the UK today…

More than 1,100 people died from drugs in Scotland last year, new figures indicate, the worst level since records began.

There were 1,187 drug-related deaths registered in 2018 – above 1,000 for the first time and up 253 (27%) on the previous year.

The National Records of Scotland statistics indicate Scotland’s drug death rate is nearly triple the UK rate and the highest in the European Union Click here to read more…

Comment: 

Causes of, and possible cures for, Scotland’s massive drugs problem – according to the media chatterati – were varied and imaginative in the news debates today, including the provision of taxpayer funded facilities to allow addicts taking illegal drugs to consume, er… legally; this, with a view to making it easier to provide health care since we’re now to regard drug addiction as a public health issue, not a criminal activity. The quaint old-fashioned idea that it may well be both, has, very conveniently, been set aside.  How this will impact on the drug dealers, of course, is never mentioned. They may be able to argue the case for their own mental health disorder, a compulsion to sell drugs – who knows…

Not a single Roman collar to be seen among all the commentators and alleged experts, not a bishop’s mitre.  The Catholic Church in Scotland has nothing to say, it seems, on the devastating news that there are record numbers of souls going to meet their Maker following an overdose of illegal drugs, not a single possible solution or even a nod in the direction of our Godless society as, perhaps (just “perhaps”, mind, nobody’s being “judgemental” of course not –  perish the thought!)  being the reason why so many people are turning to drugs. 

Without any direction in life, and without any authoritative teaching about the definitive meaning of life, the realities of Heaven and Hell, divine revelation and the importance of exercising true Faith (not demanding God to come and show himself in a science laboratory), not to mention the confusion caused by presenting upside-down morals as normal, just maybe this terrible turn in a once Christian society has led people into despair.

Lack of religious and moral leadership doesn’t  seem to have occured to anyone reporting on this scandal; and it certainly doesn’t seem to be occurring to the clergy that their negligence in preaching what God has revealed in both Faith and Morals – and that in the public square, clearly and unambiguously – might be a contributing factor in this dreadful drugs crisis.   For, the same Catholics, lay and ordained, who are perfectly happy to take soup and sandwiches to the homeless and addicted wouldn’t dream of taking them, at the same time, an exhortation (NOT a mere “invitation”) to turn to God, in His Church, as the means given to us to live fulfilling lives in this world, and to save our souls for eternal life in the next. 

Or maybe that’s all pie in the sky (literally!) – maybe the drugs crisis IS simply a health crisis?  What do you think? 

Finally, let’s all pray for all those afflicted by drug addiction to  Saint Maximillian Mary Kolbe