Explore Catholic Social Teaching

Join us at The Gillis Centre in Edinburgh as we explore Catholic Social Teaching and issues of poverty and injustice.

Pathways of Hope takes place on Saturday 16 March and the aim of the day is to help participants develop:

  • A greater awareness of Catholic Social Teaching
  • A deeper understanding of poverty: its causes, structures and effects
  • A plan to take action on poverty and injustice

Register for this FREE event here. Pathways for Hope is organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Caritas, Justice & Peace. We look forward to welcoming you!

WATCH: Prisoners and experts share experience of life inside

Life inside Scottish prisons was discussed by prisoners, experts and chaplains at The Gillis Centre in Edinburgh on Saturday.

A View from Within: Justice & the Prison Service was hosted by Canon Brian Gowans and the Archdiocesan Commission for Caritas Justice & Peace.

Prisoners from HMP Castle Huntly shared their experiences about life inside and stressed the importance of addressing challenges within the criminal justice system.

These include education, self-motivation, mental health, and breaking down stereotypes.

Professor Nancy Loucks from Families Outside underscored the significance of acknowledging obstacles faced by families of those in prison and advocated for collective efforts to challenge stereotypes and provide support.

Canon Gowans spoke of the global disparities in the treatment of prisoners which he discovered in his role as President of the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care.

Deacon Kenny McGeachie, the National Chaplaincy Advisor to the Scottish Prison Service, discussed challenges within the Scottish prison system and advocated for an  inclusive, trauma-informed, and rights-based approach.

In alignment with the call of Christ to serve those in prison, attendees were urged to act practically by endorsing the Prisoners' Week Charter.

The Archdiocese has already pledged its support, affirming their commitment to advocating for a more empathetic and equitable prison system.

Thanks to everyone who attended. Find out more about the Commission for Caritas, Justice & Peace here. Find out more about Families Outside here.

Challenge Poverty Week event

Bishop John Keenan will join Rt Rev Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, for a special Challenge Poverty Week event.

Faith, Compassion and Security is hosted this Thursday (5 October) at the Xaverian Missionaries Conforti Centre and Church of Scotland Priority Areas.

The theme of the event is to learn about a Minimum Income Guarantee as a way to combat poverty and discuss in a Christian context how this may be achieved.

Bishop John Keenan, of Paisley Diocese, said: “It is an opportunity for individuals to raise their voices against poverty and unite with others in calling for a just and equal Scotland.

"I am heartened to be able to participate in these conversations, to lead worship together with Catholics and Reformed Christians active in anti-poverty work across Scotland.”

Hugh Foy of the Xaverian Missionaries, said: "This campaign seeks to return human dignity to the heart of political decision making.

"These issues transcend party politics, they define who we are as a society.

"A minimum income guarantee secures a healthy standard of living for all, and allows it to be sustained as a fundamental requirement of all governments in the future"

Faith, Compassion and Security – A Challenge Poverty Week Event, Thursday 5 October 2023, 10:00am to 3:00pm at the Conforti Centre, Calder Avenue, Coatbridge ML5 4JS. No registration required.


Challenge Poverty Week runs from 2–8 October and is organised by The Poverty Alliance, an organisation which Justice and Peace Scotland are members of.  Justice and Peace advises the Bishops' Conference of Scotland in matters of social justice, peacebuilding, promoting care for creation and human rights, supporting the Catholic community to live the values of the Gospel in service to the poor and marginalised.


Caritas, Justice & Peace Mass

Join us for the annual Caritas, Justice and Peace Mass for the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.

This year we welcome Fr Ian Stevenson, Principal RC Chaplain (Army) & Deputy Assistant Chaplain General. He will preach on the theme: 'Peace in a Military Context'. Principal Celebrant will be Canon Brian Gowans (St Marie's, Kirkcaldy) who leads the Archdiocesan Caritas, Justice & Peace Commission.

After Mass there will be a delicious hot and cold food buffet and a chance to meet people from across the diocese. This includes members of our Caritas, Justice & Peace Commission who will be pleased to chat and tell you about their work in the diocese.

It takes place at St Columba's Church in 9 Upper Gray Street, Edinburgh, on Monday 4 September at 6:30pm. We look forward to welcoming you.

Please register here so we can estimate numbers for catering. Thanks!

Caritas, Justice & Peace: A Synodal Way Forward

Register for this event here.

Do you see Caritas, Justice & Peace as integral to your Catholic faith?

We want you to help shape the future work of the Caritas, Justice & Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. 

Our aim is to re-imagine how we promote our work, doing so in the light of the ongoing Synod, where Communion, Participation and Mission are key elements.

There will be brief presentations from our four working groups which currently focus on:

At this event we will be joined by others involved in this part of the Church’s mission and will hear from our friends in groups such as Justice and Peace Scotland, Pax Christi Scotland, and the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

The final session of the afternoon will focus on the future: how does our work go forward in the Archdiocese? By doing so we we can listen and collaborate to help those in need in our Archdiocese and further afield.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Register for this FREE event on our Eventbrite page here. Please bring a packed lunch (tea/coffee and biscuits will be served). Organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Caritas, Justice & Peace. 

Message on Day of Prayer for Peace

In his annual letter to all parishes in Scotland for a Day of Prayer for Peace (Sunday 2 January) Bishop William Nolan has contrasted the vast sums spent on military spending with the millions of displaced people facing persecution and poverty.

Bishop Nolan, Bishop of Galloway and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Justice and Peace Commission, has called on Catholics to “recognise the dignity of our fellow human beings, particularly those who are strangers to us”.

Read the full letter below.


My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

2nd January 2022

Every year we begin the new year by praying for justice and for peace. And each year it seems that justice and peace are beyond our grasp, yet ever more necessary than the year before.

As we look around us, we see a world where justice and peace are an elusive dream for so many but not a reality.

Looking at the problems we face today, it is clear that many of these problems have as their root cause human weakness, human failing, and human sinfulness.

Much of the environmental crisis that confronts us just now is caused by our misuse of the world’s resources, our pollution of the air and the seas, and our exploitation of the earth without a concern for the consequences. And in so many countries we see the suffering caused by warfare and violence.

Is it not strange that we human beings spend over $1.9 trillion* every year in global military spending? So much money spent defending ourselves from our fellow human beings! What does that say about the state of our humanity?

We need to recognise that the core of the problem lies within ourselves, within the human heart. Among the consequences is that we live in a world where the number of forcibly displaced persons is more than it has ever been. 82.4 million people worldwide** have had to leave their homes and move elsewhere, often to other countries, as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or climate change. Hardly surprising that some of these people try to reach our shores.

Hardly surprising that those fleeing oppression or poverty take the risk of travelling in flimsy boats across the Channel longing to get here, to what they hope is the Promised Land.

We pray every year for peace and for justice. We need to pray fervently not just today but every day, so that the message of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, will touch human hearts; so that we will recognise the dignity of our fellow human beings, particularly those who are strangers to us, particularly those who are poor, particularly those who call out to us for help.

May our prayer go hand in hand with our actions so that justice and peace may no longer be just a dream but become a reality in our world, in our lives and in the lives of our fellow human beings.

Wishing you every blessing in the year ahead,

+William Nolan Bishop of Galloway

President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Justice and Peace Commission

*Source: www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2021/world-military-spending-rises-almost-2-trillion-2020

** Forced Displacement in 2020, source: www.unhcr.org/flagship-reports/globaltrends/ 

Praying today for victims and survivors of human trafficking

Today the Church marks St Josephine Bakhita’s feast day, and is an opportunity to pray especially for victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Bakhita’s story echoes that of our sisters and brothers who endure the tragedy of trafficking in our modern world.

She was born in Darfur in Sudan in 1869, and was so traumatised by her experiences as a young child that she forgot her own name. Those who trafficked her gave her the name Bakhita, or ‘fortunate one’ which is particularly ironic.

St Josephine was abducted at the age of nine. In some of her own words: “I was nine years old. I was walking in the fields with my friends, a bit far away from home. Two strangers appeared from behind a fence.

One said to my friend: ‘Let the small girls go into the forest to pick me some fruits. You continue walking, we’ll catch up with you soon.’ His plan was to fool my friend so he could kidnap me and she would not be there to tell.

"I did what I was told. Once we were in the forest, two men came from behind. One grabbed me vigorously. The other pulled out a knife and held it to my side. ‘If you cry, you’ll die! Follow us!’ I was terrified.”

Eventually, after being sold from slave-trader to slave-trader some six times, she received support from the Canossian Sisters and the Patriarch of Venice. Having witnessed and experienced the love and compassion of Christ, she asked to be baptised and took on the name “Josephine Margaret” for her baptism and confirmation in 1890.

Given her plight, she is recognised as the patron saint of victims and survivors of human trafficking.

The Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh’s Commission for Caritas, Justice and Peace is actively looking into opportunities to support the work of organisations who seek to tackle this crucial issue.

Today, let’s keep those who have endured the horrific experiences of trafficking, and those who still do, in our prayers.

For further information or resources, please contact Fr Basil Clark, Vicar Episcopal for Caritas, Justice and Peace at VECaritas@staned.org.uk or Callum Timms at Callum.Timms@staned.org.uk