Archbishop joins MSPs for Ash Wednesday at Holyrood
MSPs and parliament staff attended an Ash Wednesday service at Holyrood today, led by Archbishop Leo Cushley.
In his homily, he said: "As Christians, Jesus does not ask us to be relevant or important in the life of the nation. He asks us to be His faithful disciples.
"Jesus said: 'Repent and believe in the Gospel' - that's what we are doing here today.
"It falls on you to be His witness. If we get that right the rest will fall into place."
Marie McNair MSP was the reader at the service and received ashes along with fellow politicians Alex Rowley, Bob Doris, Mairi Gougeon, Michael Matheson, Clare Adamson, Monica Lennon, Mark Griffin, Paul Sweeney, Paul O'Kane, Pauline McNeill, Donald Cameron and Annie Wells.
Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, said: "It is a testament to the openness and diversity of our Parliament that Archbishop Leo was able to distribute ashes to MSPs on this solemn day for Catholics.
"This was the best attended Ash Wednesday service in the Parliament since the annual event was established in 2018.
I hope that the presence of the Archbishop and gathering together with other people of faith will offer comfort and support to our MSPs in the challenges of political life
"I hope that the presence of the Archbishop and gathering together with other people of faith will offer comfort and support to our MSPs in the challenges of political life, and that open expressions of faith will continue to be facilitated and supported by our parliament."
This year's event was organised by Archbishop Cushley and Anthony Horan with help from the office of Donald Cameron MSP.
Earlier in the day Archbishop Cushley was principal celebrant at the Ash Wednesday morning Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.
Catholics urged to help prevent assisted suicide in Scotland
Catholics are being urged to sign a national petition to stop plans to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland.
Care Not Killing (CNK), supported by the Catholic Parliamentary Office, has launched the petition to show how strong the level of resistance is in Scotland against Liam McArthur MSP's proposed assisted suicide Bill.
The bill risks undermining the provision of palliative care and undermining efforts to prevent suicide.
It will make the most vulnerable people, including the elderly and disabled, feel like a burden and its safeguards will prove futile.
Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said: “As Catholics we must reject assisted suicide and encourage rather the enhanced provision of palliative care for the elderly, the disabled, and the vulnerable who are such a precious part of our society."
Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office, said: “There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ law which allows assisted suicide. So-called ‘safeguards’ will be stripped away, and the law expanded to include an increasing number of vulnerable people.
"Evidence from other countries shows us that those who suffer from mental ill health, the disabled, and even children, are not safe. The current law is the safeguard. We should be caring for people, not killing them.”
Parishes are invited to hold a Petition Day on a Sunday during October to promote the petition and gather as many signatures as possible.
- Poster for parishes - click here.
- Petition guidelines - click here.
- Download the petition - click here.
Catholic Church urges MSPs: 'Care don't kill'
Scottish politicians are being urged to care for the terminally ill instead of allowing them to be killed following moves at Holyrood to legalise assisted dying.
A proposed Members' Bill by Orkney MSP Liam McArthur would "enable competent adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with assistance to end their life".
Anthony Horan, Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office said: “Liam McArthur's final proposal for a bill on assisted suicide is frankly dangerous."
He added: "It risks undermining the provision of palliative care and undermining efforts to prevent suicide it will make the most vulnerable people, including the elderly and disabled, feel like a burden and its safeguards will prove futile.
"The current law is the safeguard. We should be caring for people, not killing them.”
“It is understandable that most people responding to the consultation supported the idea of a dignified death – we all do, but killing someone who is ill, is never dignified.
"The fact that a letter signed by 175 health care professionals from a variety of specialities has already outlined numerous concerns, highlights how dangerous this proposal is.
"The Catholic church would urge Scottish politicians to learn of the dangers that have already been seen abroad, particularly intolerable pressure on the vulnerable, disabled or elderly to end their lives prematurely.”
View the Proposed Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill here.
VIDEO: Catholic schools backed by MSPs
Politicians across Scotland have backed Catholic schools in a powerful show of cross-party support at Holyrood.
They discussed the 'positive contribution' of Catholic education to Scotland since the foundation of the 1918 Education act, following a motion made by Elaine Smith MSP.
They also unanimously dispelled the myth that Catholic schools in Scotland are a cause off sectarianism.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It is vital that our support for Catholic education is expressed without equivocation and I do so positively and enthusiastically in parliament this evening.
"The Scottish Government remains an unequivocal supporter of Catholic education — we value the contribution Catholic schools and faith schools make and we are absolutely determined to ensure that this tradition is maintained in Scotland as a vital element of the Scottish education system.”
Other MSPs who spoke included SNP MSPs Richard Lyle, Annabelle Ewing, Fulton MacGregor, John Mason and Clare Adamson, Labour MSPs Jackie Bailie and Iain Gray, and Conservative MSP Liz Smith.
Archbishop Cushley watched the event from the public gallery and was joined by pupils from St Augustine’s High School, St Thomas of Aquin’s High School and Holyrood High School.
Full coverage of the event by the Scottish Catholic Observer can be read here.