The Tablet & Other Far-From-Catholic Rags: Irresponsible Bishops Must Act

From Christian Today:

The Catholic Church in the UK is descending into civil war behind the scenes after a major row over abortion was sparked by a controversial editorial in the respected journal The Tablet.  

Bishop Mark Davies, Diocese of Shrewsbury is one of the Bishops who complained about the Tablet editorial 

A number of bishops were ‘scandalised’ by the article, Christian Today understands, and are urging Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, to intervene. One figure accused the weekly magazine which is sold at the back of Westminster Cathedral – the home of Catholicism in the UK – of trying ‘to obscure the witness of Christian teaching’.
Click here to read the entire report Catholic Church at war? Bishops’ dismay at ‘tragic’ editorial in The Tablet criticising teaching on abortion

From Catholic Truth:

The fact that there are bishops expressing shock-horror at The Tablet’s latest (but far from unique) attack on the moral law and Catholic teaching, is unconscionable. The scandal of the loss of moral sense – and the particular responsibility of bishops – was addressed by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor way back in 1993.  In any case, do these bishops seriously expect us to believe that they do not know that they are responsible for every soul led astray by the scandalous publications sold in their parishes, shops and cathedrals?  Yet there will be Catholics drooling with delight at the remarks of a handful of English Bishops criticising – on this one occasion – The Tablet, for it’s latest attack on the Church for its refusal to condone the evil of abortion.  See  some key extracts from Veritatis Splendor below…

Extracts from Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor: (The Splendor of Truth – Regarding Certain Fundamental Questions of the Church’s Moral Teaching) August 6, 1993

Our own responsibilities as Pastors

114. As the Second Vatican Council reminds us, responsibility for the faith and the life of faith of the People of God is particularly incumbent upon the Church’s Pastors: “Among the principal tasks of Bishops the preaching of the Gospel is pre-eminent. For the Bishops are the heralds of the faith who bring new disciples to Christ. They are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people entrusted to them the faith to be believed and put into practice; they illustrate this faith in the light of the Holy Spirit, drawing out of the treasury of Revelation things old and new (cf. Mt 13:52); they make it bear fruit and they vigilantly ward off errors that are threatening their flock (cf. 2 Tim 4:1-4)”.178

It is our common duty, and even before that our common grace, as Pastors and Bishops of the Church, to teach the faithful the things which lead them to God, just as the Lord Jesus did with the young man in the Gospel. Replying to the question: “What good must I do to have eternal life?”, Jesus referred the young man to God, the Lord of creation and of the Covenant. He reminded him of the moral commandments already revealed in the Old Testament and he indicated their spirit and deepest meaning by inviting the young man to follow him in poverty, humility and love: “Come, follow me! “. The truth of this teaching was sealed on the Cross in the Blood of Christ: in the Holy Spirit, it has become the new law of the Church and of every Christian.

This “answer” to the question about morality has been entrusted by Jesus Christ in a particular way to us, the Pastors of the Church; we have been called to make it the object of our preaching, in the fulfilment of our munus propheticum. At the same time, our responsibility as Pastors with regard to Christian moral teaching must also be exercised as part of the munus sacerdotale: this happens when we dispense to the faithful the gifts of grace and sanctification as an effective means for obeying God’s holy law, and when with our constant and confident prayers we support believers in their efforts to be faithful to the demands of the faith and to live in accordance with the Gospel (cf. Col 1:9-12). Especially today, Christian moral teaching must be one of the chief areas in which we exercise our pastoral vigilance, in carrying out our munus regale.

115. This is the first time, in fact, that the Magisterium of the Church has set forth in detail the fundamental elements of this teaching, and presented the principles for the pastoral discernment necessary in practical and cultural situations which are complex and even crucial…

116. We have the duty, as Bishops, to be vigilant that the word of God is faithfully taught. My Brothers in the Episcopate, it is part of our pastoral ministry to see to it that this moral teaching is faithfully handed down and to have recourse to appropriate measures to ensure that the faithful are guarded from every doctrine and theory contrary to it. In carrying out this task we are all assisted by theologians; even so, theological opinions constitute neither the rule nor the norm of our teaching. Its authority is derived, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit and in communion cum Petro et sub Petro, from our fidelity to the Catholic faith which comes from the Apostles. As Bishops, we have the grave obligation to be personally vigilant that the “sound doctrine” (1 Tim 1:10) of faith and morals is taught in our Dioceses.

A particular responsibility is incumbent upon Bishops with regard to Catholic institutions. Whether these are agencies for the pastoral care of the family or for social work, or institutions dedicated to teaching or health care, Bishops can canonically erect and recognize these structures and delegate certain responsibilities to them. Nevertheless, Bishops are never relieved of their own personal obligations. It falls to them, in communion with the Holy See, both to grant the title “Catholic” to Church-related schools, universities, health-care facilities and counselling services, and, in cases of a serious failure to live up to that title, to take it away.  [Emphasis added] –  Source Veritatis Splendor (Splendor of the Truth) Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 6 August, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, in the year 1993, the fifteenth of my Pontificate.

Comment:

Clearly, publications using the name “Catholic”, which are plainly hostile to the Catholic Faith, should be included in the above list.

And why do those bishops expressing concern about this particular Tablet editorial not express concern about the many other editorials and articles routinely  featured in that deadly publication?  On page 11 of our current newsletter, we report outright falsehoods by Clifford Longley, who actually places words into the mouth of Pope John Paul II that flatly contradict the actual words of the pontiff on embryo experimentation. So what’s the problem now, all of a sudden?  Also, what about the other so-called Catholic publications which are all, to a greater or lesser extent, “liberal” – that is, essentially heretical in their ethos and content? Is it too late, or should the bishops act, as required by their office, to protect the faithful from these poisonous rags?  Is it pessimistic in the extreme to say that, frankly, these rags, The Tablet included, will continue to be sold in Catholic outlets, continue to poison what is left of Catholic faith and morality, despite the expressed concern of (a minority) of bishops in England? With, note, no expression of concern at all  from any bishops in Scotland. 

Earth to Archbishop of Glasgow…Hello!

Our blogger, Gabriel Syme writes:

Look at this jaw dropping story from the Church in Scotland.

Scottish Catholics are “too wishy-washy” about standing up for their beliefs, the Archbishop of Glasgow has warned.
Click here to read entire Herald Scotland article 

While advocating robust, confident Catholicism is admirable, this is hilarious coming from the Scottish Bishops. Their only priority for decades has been to play down Catholicism in order to pander to ecumenism and the secular world.    

The statement also ignores the fact that modern Catholics (including in Scotland) are the most ignorant and poorly instructed in all history. This because they have not been taught the faith properly and deliberately so – because properly instructed Catholics reject ecumenism and the like.

In 13 years at Catholic schools and many years in novus ordo parishes I learned literally nothing about the Catholic faith, beyond the Our Father, Hail Mary and the rudiments of the nativity story. I always knew I had not been properly taught, but even so was shocked at the extent of my ignorance, when (in my 30s) I first held a Baltimore Catechsim No 1 (which is aimed at small children).

I struggled to answer even the obvious and basic questions listed therein. Of course, I knew what a Bar Mitzvah was, and knew some Hebrew Phrases (but not a word of Latin). And I could describe the good work a Protestant minister had done with gangs in New York City. But I could not have given a coherent answer as to why God made me.
(Fortunately, thanks to Catholic Truth and the SSPX I have been able to back-fill much of this missing knowledge).

And so Archbishop Tartaglia can hardly call Catholics wishy-washy, because modern Catholics do not know the Catholic faith, nor are they equipped to defend it.

Another reason Catholics struggle to speak out to defend the faith (even if able) is because should you do so, in a modern parish or Catholic organisation, you can bet on being immediately savaged by other “Catholics” whose lives conflict with Church teaching and do not like being reminded of it. This is one reason I withdrew from participation in modern parishes / organisations – its all a facade, there’s no substance to it.

For example, we discussed St Brides LGBT welcome recently. Who in that parish now would be confident to speak out on (e.g.) sexual morality when it is clear that the Parish Priest does not support that morality and when the local homosexual MP and his ‘husband’ are in the next pew?

I can only conclude that Archbishop Tartaglia is completely out of touch with the results of the non-teaching in the Scottish Church.

Comment:

Gabriel Syme’s insightful assessment of the state of the Scottish Church was underlined by the announcement, on – of all days – the Feast of the Assumption, yesterday, that yet another priest of the archdiocese was leaving active ministry. Only in this case, the priest in question – Father Gerald Walsh – has only been ordained for 6 years. Reflect: a young man like Fr Walsh can go through the entire Catholic education system following the syllabus issued by the Scottish Catholic Education Service, thus approved by the Scottish Bishops, and learn sweet nothing about the Catholic religion. Then, feeling called to the priesthood (although goodness knows how this comes about given the widespread ignorance of true Catholicism is anybody’s guess), a candidate goes on to seminary to be further mal-formed in the Faith.  Little wonder so many abandon the ministry, sometimes after only a handful of years, as in the case of Fr Gerald Walsh, ordained in 2011, his resignation announced on the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption, 2017.  More sad than words can express. 

The Mass-goer who contacted us to report Fr Walsh’s resignation after the morning Mass in St James’s Crookston, where the Archbishop himself made the announcement, opined that the Archbishop seemed more concerned with the fact that this latest “ex-priest” now created a situation that meant more work for him and for the priest in a neighbouring parish who would now administer both parishes. 

“Wishy-washy”?  I think the Archbishop needs to look at his own Catholicity, or lack thereof, before labelling the rest of us  “wishy-washy”; from what I hear, he is not exactly setting the heather on fire with his zealous leadership of either clergy or laity.  

The key question for this thread is this:  how on earth is the Church in Scotland EVER going to attract genuine and lasting vocations, if the Hierarchy don’t restore what has been lost of the glorious Catholic religion?  

But, where to begin?  Reform the schools?  Begin teaching the Faith?  Nobody can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, as the saying goes, so young men who haven’t been taught a thing about true Catholicism, are hardly going to make terrific priests.  What on EARTH is going to keep them living a single, celibate life in today’s permissive society if they’ve essentially been taught a false religion?

And is it any surprise that the new Mass isn’t keeping young priests? Countless saints not only stayed faithful throughout their lives, but actually GAVE their lives in order to preserve the Mass.  Who’s ever going to sacrifice their lives for this complete break with Catholic Tradition known as the Novus Ordo Missae, which no saint or martyr returning to earth today would recognise as the Mass?  That’s what’s known as a “rhetorical question”…  

Imagine you’re on the telephone line from Earth to Archbishop Tartaglia.  He is keen to have your advice (well, it’s only a pretend game)… What will you say to him – where would you advise him to start, in order to begin to restore the Faith in Scotland? 

Who Is To Blame For The Failure To Consecrate Russia: You…Me…Popes?

For some time, now,  I have queried the claim (widely spread around these days, not least in the Blogosphere) that the Consecration of Russia has not been done because not enough of us are doing our bit by carrying out the Fatima requests to make the First Saturdays, pray the daily Rosary, wear the Brown Scapular etc.  In my humble opinion, that doesn’t make sense.  It doesn’t make sense to me that Our Lady would ask the Pope and Bishops to do this Consecration, in a precise manner, with no mention of any such conditions involving the rest of the faithful, and then, some years later, find the Fatima “experts” are blaming us for the failure of the Pope/Bishops to carry out the Consecration.  At our recent Conference, Father Nicholas Mary C.SS.R mentioned this claim, and when I queried it, he promised to find the origin of it. Today, I received the following email from him providing the source.  Father wrote:

Many sound authors quote Sr Lucia’s assertion that the consecration of Russia would take place “when a sufficient number are fulfilling the requests” of Our Lady of Fatima. There are also other passages from her writings and interviews where she says something similar. Nonetheless the origin of the precise quotation you questioned me about in public recently is as follows:

In 1946 Sr Lucia told John Haffert in an interview that “the Holy Father and all the Bishops will unite to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” He then writes:

“‘And do you think the conversion of Russia and peace will follow?’ I asked, catching my breath. ‘Yes,’ she said deliberately. ‘Yes, that is what Our Lady promised.’ ‘But when, Sister,’ I asked, ‘when will it happen?’ ‘It will happen,’ she replied. ‘There might be much more suffering (we had been talking of the awful civil war in Spain), more nations may be afflicted, but it will happen when a sufficient number are fulfilling the requests.’” [John M. Haffert – Russia will be converted, Washington, New Jersey, 1956 (2nd ed.), AMI Press, p. 246]

Although John Haffert (of Blue Army fame) later went astray, at the time of the above writing, he was regarded as a reliable Fatima source, so this quotation surprised me. Still, I noted that Sr Lucia does not claim to be quoting Our Lady; arguably, then, it is possible that she was giving her own opinion. In any case, I sent the above text to a friend in the south of England, who is something of an expert on Marian apparitions in general and Fatima in particular.  He replies:

It does seem difficult to refute [that quote]. But in 1929 at the Tuy vision, Our Lady said that the moment had come (emphasis mine) for the Pope & bishops to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart.  I wouldn’t have thought it was entirely dependent on how many were living the Fatima message, because at that time, only 12 years after the initial events occurred, the full message wasn’t widely known then.  As I understand it, the message of Fatima applies to all humanity – for the laity, religious and priests to live the Fatima message:- i.e. the daily rosary, brown scapular, consecration to the Immaculate Heart, First Saturdays etc, and for the Pope and the Bishops in union with him to do all those things as well, but in their case also to specifically consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  The Fatima Network seems to say that there must be some co-operation from the laity in the Fatima message, obviously, but it doesn’t seem to make the consecration absolutely dependent on  it.  Source

Self-evidently, it can only be a good thing if more and more Catholics make the First Saturdays, pray the Rosary, wear the Brown Scapular and make sacrifices for sinners etc.  That’s not the issue.  The issue is, IS the fulfilment of those of Our Lady’s requests which apply to the faithful at large, a condition of the Pope’s/Bishops’ fulfilment of Our Lady’s request to them to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart?  I can’t see it.  Can you?

Note: in the original post, submitted earlier today, I omitted Father Nicholas Mary’s name and mention of the Conference, but he has asked me to amend the post to make the context entirely clear: thus, I have restored that part of his email which states that I “questioned him in public”.  Those bloggers/readers who attended the Conference and witnessed the exchange will recall that it was polite and respectful. Some may consider that I, as a mere laywoman, had no right “questioning” Father “in public”, but I did so merely to correct what I believe to be a misleading opinion about where responsibility for the Consecration of Russia, lies.  If I am proven to be wrong, I will gladly apologise for questioning Father Nicholas Mary.  I am always grateful for necessary correction myself, so feel free to speak your minds, one and all.

Comments invited…

Is Naming & Shaming UnChristian?

collarpriestcroppedSome three years or so ago, Catholic Truth was given information by concerned parishioners in a Scottish parish, when their new priest arrived and moved into the presbytery with his housekeeper. A divorcee with children (who often stayed at the presbytery),  this woman – parishioners claimed – acts more like the lady of the house than the priest’s housekeeper.  

Now, we know that priests’ housekeepers, like doctors’ receptionists, can, indeed, get above themselves, so we didn’t pay too much attention to that particular perception.  Perhaps in order to allay fears of a possible scandal, the then new housekeeper  informed some locals that the local Ordinary (bishop) knew about “the situation”.   Anyway, we sympathised, explained that we didn’t feel able to publicise their concerns at that time, and went on our merry way, if not exactly rejoicing, wondering precisely how many other such “situations” are “out there”.  Please note, though, that if YOU know of any such situation, do not name anyone here. Instead, if you think it is important, please email the editor privately with details. 

Recently, we have been approached again about the same priest, this time by a different source. There are indicators that “Father” is living a normal family life in his comfortable presbytery, although we are not prepared to say  much more than that right now, for the following reasons.  

Firstly, before we publish any scandal, we always give the subject of any reports the opportunity to respond and to end the scandal.  We have not yet approached this priest, and so we are not naming him in this piece.  We know that his Ordinary – according to the housekeeper – knows about his domestic arrangements and approves.  We will send him the link to this thread to make sure that is the case. 

Secondly, since there is some time now before our next edition is due for publication (January, 2017, to be precise) we thought we would raise the issue of “naming and shaming” here, because, were we to publish the facts in our newsletter, there would be critics who would disapprove.  For some reason, our critics don’t mind naming and shaming priests if they are possibly endangering children, but not causing any other scandal (even though no child is ever going to end up in Hell because he/she was abused by a priest).  They do not seem to realise that, in admitting the principle of “naming and shaming”, it becomes a matter of personal judgment. And remember, we are not naming and shaming individuals at random. If Joe Bloggs is pinching from next door’s apple-tree, he’ll never make the front page of Catholic Truth. We are dealing only with public figures, such as priests and bishops who are living double lives.  It seems a tragedy in its own right that some readers consider saving the reputation of a duplicitous priest to be more important than saving his soul. 

So, we wish to ask bloggers to consider whether, if there were a scandal like this in YOUR parish, would you want to know?  Would you want to know who pays the housekeeper’s wages? Who pays when she  travels abroad with “Father”?  Who is paying for her family members when they stay at the presbytery?   Or would you prefer not to know?  

In the absence of a promise from this priest to end the scandal, SHOULD we publish the full facts in our January newsletter – or would that be unChristian?

Comments invited… 

Should Papal Office Have Time Limit?

The Catholic Church should not have “leaders for life” in its ranks, otherwise it would risk being like a country under dictatorship, Pope Francis said on Friday.   Pope Francissmiles

Francis, 78, has said before that he would be ready to resign instead of ruling for life if he felt he could not continue running the 1.2 billion-member Church for health or other reasons.

“Let’s be clear. The only one who cannot be substituted in the Church is the Holy Spirit,” the Argentinian-born pontiff said in an address to some 30,000 people at an inter-denominational rally of Christians in St. Peter’s Square.

“There should be a time limit to positions (in the Church), which in reality are positions of service,” he said in an address that was in part prepared and in part extemporaneous.

Making clear his comments were not confined to the clergy, Francis added: “It is convenient that all (positions) in the Church should have a time limit. There are no leaders for life in the Church. This occurs in some countries where a dictatorship exists.”

In February 2013, Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict, became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.

In an interview with Mexican television last March, Francis said what Benedict, now known as Pope Emeritus, did “should not be considered an exception, but an institution.”

But in the same interview he said he did not like the idea of an automatic retirement age for popes, for example at 80.    Source

Comment

Seems Pope Francis equates leadership for life with dictatorship. Is he right? 

Same-Sex Vote: Priests For YES – Resign!

FrEgan2Fr Adrian Egan (above) published a letter in the Irish Times, 30 April, in which he asserted his intention to vote YES in the same-sex marriage referendum to take place in Ireland on 22nd May. Click on the photo to read his letter, published on a new website called Priests For Yes – I mean, can it get any worse?  Brazen priests boasting about their support for unnatural and immoral sexual behaviour, basing their opinions on a childish understanding of “love” and “equality”.  

Then another priest, Fr Brian O’Fearraigh, announced (to his congregation at Mass) that he, too, would be voting YES.  It’s not a Church matter, it’s a state matter was his crackpot defence.  What was that about “diabolical disorientation”?  You bet… For if the Devil isn’t working in these priests, I can’t think what’s driving them – definitely not logic, theology, scripture or even elementary knowledge of the natural moral law.   Here’s the report from the Irish Examiner – brace yourself…

“In voting Yes we are saying that the state will be recognising and cherishing all of it’s citizens regardless of their sexual orientation or who they are,” said Fr O’Fearraigh.      FrBrianOFearraighDonegalPriestMarRef_large

Fr O’Fearraigh said that his conscience is clear with regard his decision, regardless of the fact that his bishop, Bishop of Raphoe Philip Boyce, had publically declared he would be voting No.

“The reality of same-sex marriage is a reality that in no way threatens me or in no way offends me as an individual, as a priest and ultimately as a citizen of this state.”

Barry Jones, a spokesperson for StandUp4Marriage, a group advocating a No vote was speaking on the same station to Greg Hughes and said that the referendum was “a matter for every individual, it’s as simple as that, and that is a matter for him whatever way he wants to vote. It certainly sounds to me that he [Fr O Fearraigh] is misguided”.

The referendum takes place on May 22Source – note, includes short audio clip of Fr O’Fearraigh defending his indefensible position.

Comment

We’ve had a number of threads to discuss the forthcoming referendum in Ireland.  This thread is not about that. It’s about the following:  

1)  how come these priests have no awareness of the nature and purpose of conscience?  

2) why is their Superior/Bishop not insisting that they resign from active priestly ministry? Do you think they should resign?

3) What should Catholics do if their priest publicly announces his intention to vote for same-sex marriage or otherwise publicly attacks dogma or morals?  I once told a priest after Mass that if he did that again, I would publicly correct him. Should we do that, even though, I’m told, technically it’s against the law of the land. Does anyone care?

Finally….

The key question MUST be asked and answered:  is it possible for a Catholic priest to “disagree” with God’s natural moral order and undermine the Church by handing over guardianship of God’s objective moral law to the State?  Is that possible? And still remain in a position of influence over the Catholic people, to feed them stones instead of bread?  What does Canon Law have to say on the matter?

UK General Election – No Thanks…

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops Conference of Scotland   crucifix with lilies on the General Election

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

On the Seventh of May the people of Scotland will vote in what may be the most unpredictable General Election in generations. While each of us alone will decide whom to vote for, the teachings of the Church can offer us a guide as we attempt to reach an informed judgement that advances the common good.

Casting a vote is both a civic duty and a Christian moral obligation. The huge turnout at last year’s referendum was an exemplary exercise in peaceful and participatory democracy and showed how much the Scottish people care about the future of our country and its wellbeing.  It was also a reminder of the power that every citizen has and the obligation upon us to use our vote. For centuries Christian values underpinned our laws and customs but for Christians today the political complexion of Parliament is secondary to the values and beliefs of those who sit in it. The candidates we send to Parliament go there as our representatives. The values they hold will shape their understanding of what is good for our country.  

Our Parliamentarians must discern priorities in many ethical and moral matters from Welfare to Defence, not to mention our relationship with Europe. Before casting our vote, we have a duty to inform ourselves of the moral values of our candidates.  We should think and pray before we choose, considering especially the following points:

1. Life: The dignity and value of every human being should be at the heart of politics.  The sanctity of human life, protected from its beginning to its natural end, is not a single issue.  It is the fundamental issue. It demands that we proclaim the Gospel of Life in all places and at all times, for if human life is not sacrosanct then no other human right makes any sense at all. Laws which permit abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are profoundly unjust.  We do not want to accept the continued existence in our society of such fundamental violations of human rights and we commit ourselves to work peacefully and tirelessly to oppose and to change them.  

2. The Family: Common sense and much research tell us that children do best when they are raised by a mum and dad who are married to each other.  This ideal is not always possible in reality and we applaud and support families who achieve remarkable things in the most difficult of circumstances. In recent years, both the UK and Scottish Parliaments have enacted legislation re-defining marriage. Together with others we argued that marriage is a union uniquely of a man and a woman and feared that legislation allowing for same sex marriage represented an unprecedented threat to the public understanding of marriage and the family. Once again we should encourage our politicians to defend the institution of marriage and the family as the basic unit of society on which so much depends. Pope Francis has also reminded governments not to require poor countries to introduce laws redefining marriage before they can get financial aid, because this is unjust and unfair.

3. The Economy:  The first consideration for any economic policy should be the dignity of the person, not the pursuit of profit. We urge candidates to endorse the living wage campaign, giving people the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. In these turbulent financial times Pope Francis has been a prophetic voice, warning that economies stripped of ethics trample human dignity. “Unbridled capitalism,” he says, “has given us the logic of profit at any cost, (and) of exploitation without looking at the person.” The existence of so many food banks in our country offers a depressing vindication of the Pope’s warning.

4. Human Freedom: Across the globe, the right to religious freedom and freedom of worship are under threat.  In some countries, Christians are put to death simply for professing faith in Jesus Christ. In this country, an intolerant form of secularism wants to remove religion from the public square, despite recognition in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. True human dignity involves the freedom to assemble, to worship and to manifest our beliefs openly.  Religious liberty must be non-negotiable in a free society and we should make sure our candidates support it.

5. Peace.  Successive UK Governments have made plans to replace and upgrade our nuclear weapons capacity.  This is despite the considerable costs involved and in the face of persistent moral objections, to say nothing of international agreements we have entered into which commit us to work against the proliferation of such weapons.  While recognising each country’s right to defend itself, the existence of nuclear weapons, and their possible proliferation, continue to represent a grave threat to the human family. Pope Francis reminds us that peace is better fostered by greater equality – not least by fairness towards the poor, refugees and migrants – rather than by increased spending on arms.

6. Evangelisation: The Gospel compels us as a Church and as individual Catholics to engage actively in the world and convert human affairs. Voting in the election is the least a committed Christian can do.  Our politicians enter public service with good hearts and give of their best to build up our lives and our country.  Sadly, however, on serious issues, some politicians who profess a Catholic faith remain silent – or even surrender – in the face of grave ethical injustice.  As Catholics, we can never separate how we act from what we believe without undermining what we believe and damaging who we are. The time has come for a new generation of Catholics to join political parties and to dedicate ourselves to political service in a way that remains faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, laying the foundations for a new Civilization of Love that serves the common good of all, especially the most vulnerable in our society.  

Conclusion: As we prepare to cast our votes, the Bishops invite all of us to pray for our country, our Parliamentary candidates and our fellow citizens.  With our votes we help set the direction of our society for years to come and it is right that we ask for divine assistance that we may be guided in our choices and that our nation may flourish. The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, The Second Sunday of Easter, 2015. + Philip Tartaglia, President, 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 V.Rev.Mgr James MacNeil, Diocesan Administrator, Argyll and the Isles   Source To read the letter from the Bishops of England and Wales, click here Comment:

As I’ve been forced to do in recent years, I will be going into the voting booth on 7 May  to spoil my paper. I hope the ballot paper is a decent size this time, because I write something to the effect that they’re a Godless lot, that I cannot be complicit in evil, that when I find a party which can make life better for us all without undermining and attacking God’s law, then I’ll cast my vote. If there’s room I’ll add that I’m not going to compromise my conscience by voting to line my own pocket, since a healthy bank balance won’t get me into Heaven.  It was quite a squeeze last time!  So, that’s my considered view on the General Election, politicians and their (insert nasty adjective) parties. What’s yours?

Please note: political discussions in Scotland can get very heated, which is why I’ve hesitated before launching this thread.  Like a lot of other folk, probably most, I have strong views on the subject (there’s a hint above!) so allow me to remind everyone of our key in-house rule of no personal remarks of the unpleasant kind. We can tell the difference between banter and nastiness, so let’s have an interesting and intelligent discussion, if for no other reason, than to make the unthinking majority of Catholics who trawl the internet think twice before they cast their vote for parties which have brazenly and without apology, passed evil legislation in defiance of God’s law.  Over to thee…