The Knights of St Columba will host a Mass to celebrate the value of human life from conception to natural death, to pray for an end to abortion and to support life-affirming choices.
Everyone is welcome at St Margaret’s Church, East Port, Dunfermline, on Saturday 7 October at 12 noon. Mass will be said by Fr Paul Lee, Provincial Chaplain to the Knights of St Columba Province 3 and parish priest at St Agatha's in Methil. The speaker will be Paul Atkin, from the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office.
The Knights of St Columba is an Order of Catholic men bound together in Charity, Unity and Fraternity in order to enrich their own faith, spirituality and by words and actions, to proclaim the spiritual, moral and social message of the Catholic Church. Find out more about their work at https://ksc.org.uk/
A Green Party MSP, supported by the Scottish Government, is proposing a Bill to ban peaceful prayers and offers of help near abortion clinics in Scotland.
The Bill proposes a jail sentence of up to two years for anyone who even silently prays near an abortion clinic. Catholics in England have already been arrested under similar laws there.
If the Government is allowed to decide when and where people can pray this is a serious threat to religious freedom.
If the principle is established in this Bill, it could easily be applied to Corpus Christi processions or other forms of Catholic social justice work if politicians decide they don't agree with what is happening.
It is vital that as many Catholics, and all concerned for freedom of speech and assembly, make a response to this dangerous Bill.
Register here for this session to find out how to respond.
Event organised by the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office.
Join us at this webinar to find out how Pregnancy Support is provided in our Archdiocese and how you can help.
Our Faith calls us to practice love, compassion and respect for life.
Many mothers in our Archdiocese need support during, and after, pregnancy.
In deprived areas there are additional challenges involving finances, resources, sometimes trauma and, often, lack of support.
The Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh supports the work of SHE Pregnancy Support which provides practical, compassionate care to women facing unexpected pregnancies, helping to build a culture of life in Scotland.
This event takes place on the Feast Day of St Teresa of Calcutta who was canonised by Pope Francis.
The Holy Father said: "Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defence of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded. She was committed to defending life, ceaselessly proclaiming that “the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable”.
Register at bit.ly/lifesupport0923
Contact the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Archbishop Cushley, priests and people of the Archdiocese to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents at midday on Thursday 28 December.
He will celebrate Mass at St Margaret's Chapel in the Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1BB.
Refreshments will be served afterwards in the Islay room of the Gillis Centre.
Parking: Gillis parking is available but limited. Come early to secure a space. Metered parking is available outside Gillis on Strathearn Road, Whitehouse Loan and Thirlestane Road
Bus: Edinburgh's Number 5 bus stops directly outside the Gillis Centre.
Driving: Postcode for the Gillis Centre is EH9 1BB.
A Bill which threatens basic civil liberties has been lodged in the Scottish Parliament.
Gillian Mackay’s proposal to ban prayer and offers of help around abortion facilities will now be considered by the Parliament and has already drawn support from First Minister Humza Yousaf.
The proposals could see people criminalised for simply simply occupying a so-called “buffer zone” near an abortion clinic. Chillingly, it could establish zones in Scotland where prayer is illegal.
Fr Jeremy Milne, Archdiocesan Vicar Episcopal for Marriage and Families said the bill “poses a significant threat to civil liberties by curtailing the freedom of a person to pray in public. The State will be designating public areas in which it is prohibited, indeed criminal, to pray.”
He added that the bill “denies the opportunity for women who reluctantly seek abortion due to coercion by persons or circumstance to receive last moment offers of help".
"Many women have testified to the value of this in their own lives. Given that both the mental and emotional wellbeing of the mother and the life of an unborn human being are at stake, the denial of this opportunity is totally unacceptable.”
Paul Atkin, Pro-Life Officer at the Archdiocese said: "For years, Police Scotland and NHS Boards have confirmed they have no records of any harassment and that vigils are peaceful and prayerful. In fact, the Police chose not to respond to the Bill’s consultation.
— RC Politics (@rcpoliticsuk) June 16, 2023
"If there was really a problem at Scottish abortion centres the Police and NHS Boards would be expected to have something to say, but they have presented no evidence.”
He added: “The Bill harms women from poorest parts of Scotland who suffer abortion rates twice as high as those in wealthy areas.
"Banning practical support and offers of help will, ironically, leave women feeling that abortion is their only 'choice.' This is wrong.
SPUC's Margaret Akers presents the case against buffer zones on @STVNews this evening.
This comes on a day when MSPs from across the political spectrum signed a petition in Holyrood voicing their support for what they term 'Safe Access Zones'. pic.twitter.com/FVbHyeZIHd
— SPUC Pro-Life (@spucprolife) June 15, 2023
"We call on Gillian Mackay to be pro-all-choices and give real and practical support to women in unexpected pregnancy situations rather than criminalising peaceful people who are providing much needed help and kindness.”
He added: "In reality, Gillian Mackay's Bill supports a campaign by multi-million pound abortion providers with concerning safety records.
"BPAS, which carried out over 90,000 abortions last year, was found to have supplied abortion drugs to a woman who aborted her baby at 32 - 34 weeks. They have no mandate to speak about women's health or safety."
Atkin noted that Mackay had removed 3,367 pro-life responses from some of the consultation results.
He said “It is disappointing that Gillian Mackay wants to ignore the views of thousands of individuals who opposed her bill online.
“It is not surprising - the aim of this extreme measure appears to be to stop Christians peacefully taking part in public life.
“Gillian Mackay’s complaint that members of the public submitted their responses using the same website show that she is out of touch with modern digital communications methods used by many lobby organisations.”
This year the Day for Life (Sunday 18 June) seeks to highlight the trauma caused by abortion.
Many in our society, but especially women, are affected by abortion and the Bishops want people to know they can find a welcome in the heart of the Church and the promise of hope and healing found in Christ Jesus.
Bishop John Keenan (Paisley Diocese), Bishop President for Marriage, Families & Life, has issued a pastoral letter for the day.
He writes: "The Day for Life is a day in our Church’s year which is dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition from the womb to the tomb.
" This year’s theme is Listen to Her. It tells Jane’s Story (see below) of the healing a woman found through the Church and the Sacraments and a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat following the tragic circumstances of her abortion, and of her long journey back to peace and light.
"The theme focuses on the all too often silent voices of women like Jane, on their regret, their lifelong struggle with post-abortion trauma and their hope of eventual healing and new life."
A collection will be taken for the Apostolate for Life in parishes in the Archdiocese around this time.
I went to Catholic schools, I knew about God and morality on some level, but for me, the culture spoke louder when it came to making decisions around sexuality.
When I was 15, I discovered I was pregnant and the fear clouded everything.
I had one aim, and that was to solve the problem I had found myself in.
A quick search for confidential help landed me at a clinic connected to an abortion provider.
They seemed to genuinely believe that abortion was the solution to my problem and I don’t remember discussing any other options.
I was relieved when they determined that I was capable enough to make this decision alone, without the involvement of an adult, which is still legal to this day.
By hearing other people share their stories and being gently encouraged by the team, I was able to speak the truth of what had happened to me on that day. My feelings were acknowledged, including my sense of loss.
That Saturday I travelled alone to the clinic. My parents were unaware, due to other difficulties in the family home that I didn’t want to contribute to.
I went through the degrading experience of a surgical abortion, and I thought that if I could just get through that day, I would never have to think about it again.
I remember feeling conflicted as a tear rolled down my cheek, that I quickly wiped away.
I believed I couldn’t be sad because this was something I had chosen to do.
So after the initial feeling of relief, I pushed down the experience and avoided anything to do with the topic of abortion.
Looking for direction
It was difficult to be around pregnant women and I found the anniversary difficult each year.
Over the next few years, I became more curious about faith through the invitation of a friend.
I was looking for direction and truth, but my spiritual life was always tainted by the thought that I could never be forgiven for what I had done – somehow, God’s mercy didn’t apply to me.
In the fleeting moments of honesty with myself and God, I knew that my choice didn’t make me lose something, but someone.
At times, this realisation was unbearable. This led to periods of deep depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as more promiscuous behaviour and numbing the pain with alcohol, food, or isolation.
This all changed when I was encouraged to go to confession. Even when I tried to justify my choice, the priest met me with the love and mercy of Jesus.
The tears he shed melted my heart of stone. I began to give up my old ways of life and follow His way.
On this journey I was introduced to Rachel’s Vineyard: a healing ministry that provides support for those who are suffering after abortion.
I remember the kindness of the woman that I spoke to, and I knew I wouldn’t be judged there.
It took so much courage to go on a retreat, but I can genuinely say it changed my life.
I truly believe that if I’d have known the impact abortion would have had on my life, even as a teenager, I would have made a different choice.
By hearing other people share their stories and being gently encouraged by the team, I was able to speak the truth of what had happened to me on that day.
My feelings were acknowledged, including my sense of loss.
I was finally given permission to grieve for the baby that had died through my choice. I acknowledged my motherhood and named my son Joseph.
This was the start of God turning the guilt, shame and unforgiveness into a deep love for my son, as any good mother would have.
The healing has continued alongside my faith journey. I’ve taken responsibility for the role I played in my abortion, but with perspective and time, I can see that my ‘choice’ wasn’t really a choice at all.
There were other people’s failures, and an inability to truly give informed consent as a teenager that also contributed.
The option that was presented as a quick fix solution has eternal consequences, and I truly believe that if I’d have known the impact abortion would have had on my life, even as a teenager, I would have made a different choice.
People gathered in Edinburgh on Saturday in a peaceful public act of witness for the unborn.
Each year, The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) holds its pro-life chain to commemorate the millions of unborn babies killed by abortion since the implementation of the 1967 Abortion Act.
This peaceful act of witness spreads the message that abortion kills unborn children and hurts women and families.
Prior to the event Archbishop Cushley led the Rosary at Sacred Heart Church in nearby Lauriston Street to pray for unborn children, their mothers and all pro-life intentions.
The pro-life campaign, 40 Days for Life, is currently holding peaceful public witnesses in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh in order to pray for an end to abortion. You will find them at:
Edinburgh: Chalmers Clinic, 2a Chalmers Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9ES. Contact the organiser for details of the vigil each day: https://www.40daysforlife.com/en/edinburgh
All participants are asked to sign a statement of peace in which they pledge to conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner. For more information, contact Paul Atkin of the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office at email@example.com.
Below is Archbishop Leo Cushley’s message of support to those taking part in 40 Days for Life 2022.
Later this month, on 22 October, the Church marks the Feast of Pope St John Paul II. Along with our present Holy Father Pope Francis, John Paul was a great advocate for the unborn and a defender of their right to life.
He wrote: “Christ needs you to enlighten the world and to show it the "path to life" (Psalm 16:11). The challenge is to make the Church’s "yes" to Life concrete and effective. The struggle will be long, and it needs each one of you. Place your intelligence, your talents, your enthusiasm, your compassion and your fortitude at the service of life!” (Homily on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1993).
It is out of love for mothers, unborn children, their families and the common good of wider society that many will quietly and peacefully provide daily witness as part of 40 Days for Life. I commend all who do so. I offer you my support. I assure you of my prayer. I give you my blessing.
Sincerely in Christ,
+ Leo Cushley
Day for Life is the day in the Church’s year dedicated to raising awareness about the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition.
The Church teaches that life is to be nurtured from conception to natural death. This year’s Day for Life is celebrated on 5 June in our Archdiocese.
The focus of the Day for Life this year is to support and protect people at the end of life.
“We invite people to think again about the value and worth of older persons in families, in society, and to make practical choices to build bridges between the generations.” - Rt Revd John Sherrington, UK Bishop for Life Issues
Pope Francis has recently offered a very different and more positive perspective. In his Catechesis on Old Age, he writes:
“The alliance between generations, which restores all ages of life to the human, is our lost gift and we have to get it back. It must be found, in this throwaway culture and in the culture of productivity.”
We invite people to think again about the value and worth of older persons in families, in society, and to make practical choices to build bridges between the generations. We call for people and parishes to devote quality time, energy and creativity in caring for the older persons in our communities.
We invite engagement in political debate on providing adequately resourced care of the older person so that no-one feels like a burden in our society.
We challenge our politicians and healthcare system to provide accessible palliative care for all the dying.
We encourage people to learn from a closer accompaniment of the elderly that there is a real richness in the journey through old age, which offers a deeper meaning and a new rhythm to the whole of life; something which can be celebrated and lived with hope in eternal life.
St. Joachim and St Anne, grandparents of Jesus, pray for us.
A special Day for Life collection will be taken in parishes on 5 June or donate direct: https://bit.ly/archdayforlife