Scotland’s bishops have led the celebration of Mass in the Scottish Parliament.

It is only the second time in the history of the Scottish Parliament that Mass has been celebrated there; the first being in March 2018, writes the Catholic Parliamentary Office.


Archbishop Leo Cushley was the principal celebrant for the inaugural Mass, held on Wednesday 19 June, marking the feast of Ss John Fisher and Thomas More, the patron saint of politicians.

The Archbishop was joined by Bishop John Keenan, Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop Joseph Toal, and Bishop Frank Dougan. Presiding Officer, Alison Johnstone, delivered the first reading, whilst Mark Griffin MSP read the intercessory prayers.

In his homily, Archbishop Cushley recalled the “messy, noisy” nature of early democracy in Athens where “winning was all that mattered” and invited MSPs to compare this to contemporary political discourse.


He also invited them to consider the role of Socrates in challenging the status quo, with a call to respecting the truth and objective reality.

The Archbishop invited politicians to look into their own hearts and minds, as this is where “good governance” starts and assured MSPs of the prayers of the bishops and the Catholic community as they “carry the heavy burden of responsibility” in their roles.

Building relationships

Reflecting on the day’s events, Archbishop Cushley said: “The bishops wish to engage positively with the country’s lawmakers, and, in spite of UK-wide elections presently taking place, I was pleased with the interest of the MSPs who were able to respond positively to the invitation to meet us.

"Building these relationships is not only helpful in general, it can lead to conversations about points both of convergence and divergence in our views.

"All parties have elements in their manifesto with which we can agree, and things with which we cannot.

"So, I was pleased to have this chance to meet some of our lawmakers and I would encourage Catholics likewise to engage with their MSPs and MPs alike, so that their views and concerns can be aired both cordially and candidly, for the sake of the common good.”