6/5: Scottish Elections: Should Catholics Withhold Vote in Protest at Tyranny? 

A general view of the Scottish Parliament Building 

Scottish Parliament Election 2021 – Putting Human Life and Dignity at the Centre

A letter from the Catholic Bishops of Scotland

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This election [6 May, 2021] presents us with an opportunity to play our part in putting human life and the inviolable dignity of the human person at the centre of Scotland’s political discourse.

We often see politics through a party prism, which can create a divisive, and occasionally fractious, political environment. Whilst party politics can be an important consideration, particularly in the Scottish Parliament list system, it is individuals who will make up the parliament and form a government; and some of the most important issues, including abortion and assisted suicide, are commonly decided by a conscience, or free, vote. Therefore, it is critical to ascertain candidates’ personal values and opinions and not concentrate solely on party policies.

As Catholics we have a duty: to share the Gospel and to help form the public conscience on key moral issues. It is a duty of both faith and citizenship.  This election is an opportunity to be the effective witness our Baptism calls us to be.

The new parliament and government will be tasked with leading the recovery from the damage wrought by the current health crisis and to tackle the significant impact it has had on many aspects of life including health care, mental health and wellbeing, religious freedom, and care for the poor. It must also build on the positives arising from the Pandemic, including caring for the most vulnerable, and a renewed sense of respect for human life, human dignity, and the value of community.

These are some of the issues you may want to consider in the forthcoming election:

 Beginning and end of life

It is the duty of parliamentarians to uphold the most basic and fundamental human right to life. Elected representatives ought to recognise the existence of human life from the moment of conception and be committed to the protection of human life at every stage. Caring for the unborn and their mothers is a fundamental measure of a caring and compassionate society; a society which puts human dignity at the centre.

We ought to be mindful of a further attempt to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland, likely to happen in this parliament. Legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia suggests that some lives are not worth living, contrary to the Christian belief that every life has equal dignity and value. It is incumbent upon our parliamentarians to show compassion for the sick and dying. This is not achieved by assisted suicide or euthanasia but by ensuring support is provided through caring and attentive politics, including investment in palliative care.

Family and Work

Society relies on the building block of the family to exist and flourish. The love of man and woman in marriage and openness to new life is the basic, fundamental cell upon which every society is built. The wellbeing of Scotland and its future depends on the flourishing of family life and government should respond to this reality with policies creating economic and fiscal advantages for families with children.

The pandemic has placed immeasurable pressure on businesses and many people have lost their livelihood. The state has a duty to sustain business activities by creating conditions which will ensure job opportunities, especially in times of crisis. This must be accompanied by a just wage to provide a dignified livelihood for the worker and their family.

 Poverty, Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

Sadly, poverty remains a scourge for too many people. The marginalised, the homeless, and the lonely and isolated have been cast further adrift because of the pandemic. And poverty now affects 24% of children in Scotland. We need elected representatives who respect a preferential option for the poor, who are willing to prioritise their need and respect their human dignity.

Our government must also work with the international community to adopt an even more effective strategy against human trafficking and modern slavery, so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end, and that their inviolable dignity will always be respected.

 Environment

The next group of MSPs will be tasked with protecting our neighbours at home and abroad from the poverty and climate crises which continue to rage on. In November Glasgow will play host to the COP26 international climate change summit. We should listen to Pope Francis’ call to ‘hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ by lifting up the voices of the global south and coming together to rebuild our Common Home in a way that leaves no-one behind. Scotland can also demonstrate global leadership by strengthening its commitment to becoming a carbon neutral country.

 Free speech, free expression, and freedom of thought, conscience and religion

If Scotland is to be a tolerant, open, diverse country then we must be free to discuss and debate ideas, even those which are deemed by some to be controversial. Whilst being mindful of the need to protect citizens from hate, government must not overstep into the realm of unjust restrictions on free speech, free expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This must include, among others, the freedom to express belief in the biological reality of sex and gender.

 Catholic schools

The right of parents to choose a school for their children which corresponds to their own convictions is fundamental. Public authorities have a duty to guarantee this parental right and to ensure the concrete conditions for its exercise. Thus, parliamentarians ought to continue to support an open and diverse state education system which includes Catholic schools.

We pray that this election will put human life and the dignity of the human person at the centre, and that candidates will ensure debate is respectful and courteous.

We urge you to visit the website rcpolitics.org and to use the resources there to help you in your consideration of election issues and to use the tools available to question candidates.

+ Hugh Gilbert, President, Bishop of Aberdeen

+ John Keenan, Vice President, Bishop of Paisley

+ Brian McGee, Episcopal Secretary, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles

+ Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh

+ Joseph Toal, Bishop of Motherwell

+ Stephen Robson, Bishop of Dunkeld

+ William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway

Monsignor Hugh Bradley, Archdiocesan Administrator, Archdiocese of Glasgow. Ends.

Comment: 

Our Lady of Aberdeen pray for us!

I usually leave an outspoken message on my ballot paper since, in conscience, I cannot vote for any of the political parties on offer. All of them support the evil abortion legislation currently on the statute book, and  my reading of the Church’s teaching on abortion convinces me that it is unconscionable for any Catholic to support a system of governance which legislates to allow the State sanctioned murder of the unborn child. 

Additionally, this time there is the issue of the introduction of totalitarian governance under which we have been living for the past year. To reward the politicians responsible for this by voting them back into power, is unthinkable – I want no part in it. What about you? 

If, however, you know of any 100% pro-life party worthy of the votes of Catholics, let us know.  The chances are, such a party would also be keen to fight back against the ongoing lockdown lunacy. Over to thee!

St Andrew, pray for us!  Queen (Saint) Margaret of Scotland, pray for us!
St Ninian, pray for us! St John Ogilvie, pray for us! 

*********************

Boris Johnson: Devolution & Scottish Parliament “A Disaster” – You Bet! 

Boris Johnson has denied that he opposes devolution as he attempted to end a major row in Scotland caused after he branded the creation of the Scottish Parliament a “disaster”. 

In an address to the Scottish Conservatives virtual conference, the Prime Minister claimed his leaked comments, made in an online call to northern English Tory MPs, had not been reported “entirely accurately” and suggested he had been referring to the SNP’s “abysmal” performance in government.

Mr Johnson was reported as telling MPs that devolution had been “a disaster north of the border” and was Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake”.  His comments dismayed Scottish Tories, with the Holyrood elections just six months away and the SNP already on course to claim a majority and a new mandate for a second independence referendum.

In recorded remarks to the conference, Mr Johnson said: “I know comments I made the other day on devolution have been widely reported, leaked, not entirely accurately, but never mind.  “But since no press were in the room, I’ll give you my unvarnished view: the way the SNP have handled devolution in Scotland has been a disaster – from plummeting education standards, low business confidence and the lowest satisfaction ever in public services – their record is abysmal. “The key is to have policies to show how devolution can work for Scotland, the people in Scotland, rather than the SNP obsession with making devolution work against the rest of the UK.”  (Taken from The Telegraph platform on YouTube)

Comment:

If anyone can specify the benefits to Scotland of Devolution, in everyday life, and the Scottish Parliament as a practical and effective tool of governance, I, for one, would be interested to learn and, if necessary, revise my opinion. At the moment, I tend to agree with Boris, although, frankly, it pains me to agree with him about anything.  What about you?   

England: Three-Tier System Introduced… But Is It POSSIBLE To Conquer A Virus? 

Comment: 

Are you impressed with the way Keir Starmer, Labour Leader and Leader of the Opposition is “scrutinising” the Westminster Government’s handling of the Coronavirus “crisis”?  It seems to me that any parliamentarian who still thinks there is a “crisis” cannot possibly properly and fully scrutinise the Government and its medical and scientific “experts”.  But you may disagree.  If so, let’s hear it. 

First, though, I need to make one thing clear;  I sometimes receive emails from those who have been affected by Covid-19, either directly or indirectly (through family and friends) and our comments here are sometimes interpreted as dismissive of the gravity of the virus.  I have replied with a reassurance that we do not deny that this is a real virus and a particularly nasty virus.  Our concern is simply this: that the scientific experts having emphasised that most who become infected recover,  it cannot be right, surely, for any Government (let alone the Governments of the entire world) to close down the economy and lock us into our homes. Then, when lockdown ends, to make us live under various restrictions – in short, removing our personal and religious freedoms, on the assumption that in this way a virus – any virus – can be eradicated.  If that is the case, why was this strategy not used years and years ago to conquer other viruses, notably the annual flu? 

With that thought in mind, let us read your opinion about these latest restrictions in England – the “three tier” approach.  We are told that Nicola Sturgeon is considering a similar system for Scotland although whether ours will be three or multiple tiers, remains to be seen, according to BBC Reporting Scotland earlier this evening.  We’ll find out several weeks from now – a clue that, as I think we all know, this new form of Government control is not going to end… It’s here to stay (as the politicians themselves have admitted more than once) “indefinitely”.  

Are we all just going to roll over and accept this continuing totalitarianism?  

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). 

Scotland To Ban Smacking… Childless Politicians Rebuked by Majority of Scots

Click here to read about the Scottish Government’s plans to ban smacking. Parents who choose to discipline their children with a timely smack, are to be criminalised – although we’ve yet to find out exactly how this crackpot law will be enforced. Below, a letter written by our blogger, Athanasius, which was published in The Scotsman Newspaper: 

LETTER from blogger, Athanasius (Martin Blackshaw) published in The Scotsman…

The arrogant interference in family life by Scotland’s political leaders is again on display as a recent ComRes poll, reported in the Scotsman, shows them at odds once more with parents, this time in the matter of smacking children.

Having already ignored the will of parents and the Supreme Court by forging ahead with their State-usurping Named Person scheme, it seems the next step in eradicating parental authority is to criminalise so much as a slap on the hand or the leg of a child.

They say it’s all in the interests of child safety and wellbeing, a red herring argument backed with endless liberal psychobabble about how smacking can scar the mind of a chastised child for life.

These are the same politicians who dismiss traditional Christian moral teaching in State schools, choosing instead to rob Scottish youth of its innocence at a vulnerable and tender age through sex education. That too is backed up with psychobabble despite a shocking decline in youth morality since the almighty switch from God to government began in the 1960s.

Well I have some news for our politicians, it is that I was smacked countless times by my parents when I was growing up and I love them for those corrections. Children, like adults under the law, have rules to obey if they are to enjoy true liberty. Parents understand this and that’s why they enforce the rules with the threat of physical punishment if breached. It’s a tried and tested method both privately and publicly over many millennia by authorities who actually had children of their own and truly cared for their welfare. Holyrood hippies take note! END.

Comment:

Given that the majority of the politicians are childless who are leading this drive to criminalise loving parents for their choice of discipline, albeit that it may be a rare, even one-off, occurrence, it seems like a monumental cheek for them to set themselves up as experts in any aspect of childcare. How unreasonable is that?

Parents, on the other hand, tend to be even handed, reasonable to a fault when it comes to disciplining their offspring.  Some of them have even launched a group emphasising this parental reasonableness.  Click here to reach their website.  It’s great to see parents leading the fightback by refusing to accept this latest bullying attempt by the Scottish Government to take control of the nation’s families.

It’s time that the Scottish Bishops did the same, time that they exercised their duty to support parents in the raising of their children, by objecting, publicly, to this latest State intrusion into private family life.  But, will they? 

Assisted Suicide Bill: Protest in Edinburgh

Legal experts and the police said a law allowing assisted suicide in Scotland needed more clarity in order to remove the risk of someone being prosecuted.

There is a “fine line” between assisting someone killing themselves and an act of euthanasia which could result in criminal charges, MSPs heard.

The plans, contained in a backbench bill, have widespread public backing, said supporters.

But opponents believed such a move was “unethical and uncontrollable”.   Assisted Suicide Bill

The Scottish government does not support a change in the law.

The Assisted Suicide Bill would give people whose lives have become intolerable through a progressive degenerative condition or terminal illness the right to seek the help of a doctor to help end their lives.

The legislation, which has begun its passage through parliament, says the final act must be carried out by the person seeking to end their own life.

But Prof Alison Britton, of the Law Society of Scotland, said a definition of assisting suicide was needed, especially in cases where someone had become too ill to end their life.  Read entire report here

Comment

Today’s TV news, on both BBC and STV, showed footage of the above protest group and another group in support of the proposal to legalise assisted suicide.

I couldn’t help comparing the above small group (mostly lay Catholics, as far as I can see)  with another group taken in 2011 at a Trident protest. Click on photo below to read report.  On that occasion, the protest was led by Cardinal O’Brien. We’ve remarked before in our newsletter that bishops are apparently willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with those opposing nuclear weapons and unemployment but standing shoulder to shoulder with pro-lifers opposing the murder of the unborn child or the murder of the elderly and disabled via euthanasia legislation (of which many, of us believe, this “assisted suicide” bill is the precursor)  seems to  be a very different (and unpopular) category of protest altogether.

CardinalObrienTridentProtestHowever, I digress.  I thought we’d launch this thread to discuss the key issues surrounding the proposal to legitimise the killing of one person by another. Can’t be called “murder” (goes the theory) if the person to be killed wishes to be put to death.

I am lost for words that medical professionals would even think of supporting such legislation  and even more lost for words to discover that there are Catholics who will be sympathetic to the idea. How do I know that? Because in every other sphere of the moral order Catholics think and act no differently from the rest of the population. Does anyone think that Catholics will rise up in their thousands to oppose this proposal to legalise yet more killing? Led by their zealous bishops? In Scotland? Really?  Let’s hear it, then, cos I’m a cynical gal.