Church calls for clarity over 'conversion practice' consultation
The Church in Scotland has said that a proposed ban on 'conversion practices' could criminalise giving advice to individuals struggling with their identity.
The Scottish Government has today (Tuesday 9 January) launched a consultation on the issue.
A spokesperson for the Catholic church said: “The worrying lack of clarity about what is meant by the term ‘conversion practices’ could create a chilling effect and may criminalise advice or opinion given in good faith.
"We urge the Scottish Government not to criminalise mainstream religious pastoral care, parental guidance, and medical intervention relating to sexual orientation.
"While the Church supports legislation which protects people from physical and verbal abuse, a fundamental pillar of any free society is that the state recognises and respects the right of religious bodies and organisations to be free to teach the fulness of their beliefs and to support, through prayer, counsel and other pastoral means, their members who wish to live in accordance with those beliefs.
“We would urge the Scottish Government not to criminalise mainstream religious pastoral care, parental guidance, and medical or other professional intervention relating to sexual orientation, which is not approved by the State as acceptable."
He added: “The church will now take time to consider the consultation document with a view to submitting a response in due course.”
Seminarians to appear in BBC documentary
Seminarians from the Archdiocese are expected to hit our screens early next year in a new documentary.
Production company Solas filmed students at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome (main picture) late last year after being commissioned by the BBC. The finishing touches are now being put on to the programme, which will show what life is like for those studying for the priesthood.
The Rector of the college, Father Dan Fitzpatrick (front, fourth from left) reported to the Bishop's Conference of Scotland last week on a larger than usual intake of students in the past year.
There are currently 21 seminarians studying at the college. Fr Dan commended the “atmosphere of dedication and study” within the college. In anticipation of the UK’s departure from the EU all the students have been registered as residents in Italy to protect their rights to remain post-Brexit.
Before being accepted to train for the priesthood, many men attend the Roal Scots College in Salamanca, as part of a six-month formation course.
Rector, Fr Tom Kilbride (front, fourth from right) reported that ten students attended the propaedeutic course in 2019. Of this number, eight entered major seminary, afterwards. The college expects around eight students to begin the course in January 2020. The college also continues to liaise with authorities in Spain regarding residency requirements post-Brexit.
The Bishops’ Conference held its November meeting at the Schoenstatt retreat centre, near Milton of Campsie, last week, with all eight of Scotland’s bishops attending. The meeting was chaired by Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Conference. A round-up of the meeting can be found here.
If you think you may be called to the priesthood, have a chat with our vocations director Fr Andrew Garden on 0131 663 4286, email@example.com. To discuss vocations to a religious order contact Sister Mirjam Hugens on 0131 623 8902, firstname.lastname@example.org