Scots Archbishops’ Statements on Referendum – An Opportunity Missed?editor
Below is the press release from the Scottish Catholic Media Office, dated 29 August, 2014. Editorial comment has been added in blue within the text, with the basic question for discussion: have the two Scots Archbishops missed a golden opportunity to preach about Catholic conscience and Catholic Social Teaching on the rule of Christ the King over every nation under Heaven? What might the Archbishops have said that would have taken these brief statements out of the glib sound-bite category and into the “must discuss” (on national TV and radio) category? In my opinion, these statements add up to two damp squibs. What do you think?
Scotland’s Archbishops urge Referendum participation
Both of Scotland’s Catholic Archbishops; Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow and Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, will this weekend ((30 & 31 August) distribute pastoral messages on the Independence Referendum to be read at all Masses.
Both Archbishops will urge participation in the referendum and ask Catholics to engage with the issues being raised in the period up to 18 September.
Archbishop Tartaglia commented:
“The Scottish Independence Referendum is now just a short time away. Along with the Bishops of Scotland, who are deeply conscious of the importance of this referendum, I encourage and urge all those eligible to vote to do so with complete freedom of choice and in accordance with their prayerful judgment of what is best for the future. May God guide us and bless us in whatever choice we make in good conscience.”
Ed: is that it? No guidance on the meaning of “freedom of choice” and “conscience” whatsoever? See complete statement below for further editorial comment.
Archbishop Cushley said:
“I encourage you, in the light of Catholic social teaching, carefully to consider the issues and to do your civic duty on the day itself. No matter the result of the Referendum, I would hope that all Catholics will continue to engage positively in public discourse, and ensure that the Christian message and its values are better expressed and understood, to the benefit of the whole community. By doing so, our beloved land will be a more just, peaceful and prosperous place for all its citizens. “
Ed: What is meant by “Catholic Social Teaching”? The part which says Christ must be the head of every nation under heaven? Or what? In common parlance, “Catholic Social Teaching” has come to mean “help the poor and needy” like any good humanist – nothing more. See complete statement below for further editorial comment.
The full text of both messages are shown below:
My dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Scottish Independence Referendum is now just a short time away. Along with the Bishops of Scotland, who are deeply conscious of the importance of this referendum, I encourage and urge all those eligible to vote to do so with complete freedom of choice and in accordance with their prayerful judgment of what is best for the future. May God guide us and bless us in whatever choice we make in good conscience.
Yours devotedly in Christ, +Philip Tartaglia,Archbishop of Glasgow
Ed: a very strange exhortation indeed. We all know that we have Catholics today who “in good conscience” contracept, abort and engage in homosexual partnerships, so to turn this glib sound-bite into a truly Catholic exhortation, Archbishop Tartaglia should have reminded us all of the need to inform our consciences of the key role of the Church in teaching Faith and Morals and the duty of our consciences to obey the Church’s teaching on the objective moral law. Nobody is free to make a choice that is at variance with God’s law. Not even a post-Vatican II Catholic.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
On the occasion of the referendum on Scottish independence, I have been approached several times now by some who would like to know where Scots Catholics, or where I personally, may stand on the matter. To those of you who wish a word from me in this regard, I would say the following.
Like everyone else, Catholics are a part of the world. Urged by the love of Christ, we are called, to be citizens who contribute positively to the common good and who strive always to consider others and their good before our own. We are called to promote peace, integral human development and authentic human rights, and to have a special care for the poorest and the weakest in society.
We are also concerned for the rights of all people, to freedom of conscience and to the right to believe and to practise their faith. These freedoms are as important as they are fragile, as has been proven all too often, to the dismay and death of many millions. These freedoms are absolutely essential to a modern democratic society and we should always be vigilant of those who would seek to limit them.
Ed: there is no democracy in the world, exempt from the duty to worship the one, true God and to enter His Church.
Since all of us are made in the image and likeness of God, no matter our race, our beliefs or the way we live, we also have a concern for moral values based upon our common humanity.
The promotion, therefore, of laws which allow us to believe, teach and live our faith and morals is and will always be of concern to us, whether at the Scottish, UK or European levels. So I encourage you, in the light of Catholic social teaching, carefully to consider the issues and to do your civic duty on the day itself.
Ed: again, we have mention of Catholic Social Teaching without any detail of what it means – again, we presume the Archbishop is thinking of the poor and needy. At a time when Catholic pupils are leaving school without basic knowledge of the Faith, it is laughable to think that everyone knows what is meant by “Catholic Social Teaching” – most equate it with humanism, giving money to charity, nothing more.
No matter the result of the Referendum, I would hope that all Catholics will continue to engage positively in public discourse, and ensure that the Christian message and its values are better expressed and understood, to the benefit of the whole community. By doing so, our beloved land will be a more just, peaceful and prosperous place for all its citizens.
With my prayerful good wishes to you all, I willingly invoke God’s blessings upon you.
+ Leo Cushley
Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh Source
Ed: yet again, we have talk of “the Christian message and its values” without any definition of either. What does the Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh mean by “the Christian message and its values”? The only values I’ve heard discussed throughout the referendum campaign, on both sides, are tolerance, equality and diversity, with dollops of national pride thrown in for good measure. If I never see another kilt or hear another bagpipe, I tell you, it will be too soon…