BY Ian Dunn | April 6 2012 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Faithful urged to wear a Cross

— Cardinal O’Brien calls for visible support of Christian values in Easter appeal

Cardinal Keith O’Brien is calling on all Christians to openly wear a Cross ‘every day of their lives’ to show their support for religious values that are often marginalised in Britain today. The message, inspired by Pope Benedict XVI, is at the heart of the cardinal’s Easter Sunday homily.

Cardinal O’Brien will tell the congregation at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh this Sunday that it is his absolute belief that the ‘marginalisation of religion should not be taking place at this present time.’

While attempting to think of a way to symbolise belief in Christian values, the cardinal said he recalled that during Pope Benedict XVI’s address at Westminster Hall in 2010—when he reminded British politicians that religion is ‘not a problem’—‘his Cross was visible over his robes.’

“Why shouldn’t each and every Christian similarly wear proudly a symbol of the Cross of Christ on their garments each and every day of their lives,” the cardinal will say in his homily. “Whether on a simple chain or pinned to a lapel, the Cross identifies us as disciples of Christ and we should wear it with pride.”

The cardinal will add that ‘for all Christians, the symbol of the Cross is central to our faith’ and this would be a reminder of the importance of it.


The Church of Scotland has joined Catholics in backing the cardinal. The Right Reverend David Arnott, Moderator of the General Assembly, said that ‘many of our members will be happy to support the cardinal’s initiative.’

“The Church of Scotland supports the view that Christians should be free to make visible statements of their faith by the wearing of appropriate jewellery,” he added.

John Newton of the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which helps persecuted Christians, said the idea could remind people of the very real costs of following the Cross.

“The cardinal’s suggestion that Christians should wear a Cross is very powerful, as wearing this central symbol of our Faith not only serves to reawaken our calling to take up our crosses and follow Jesus, but also reminds us that we are spiritually accompanying our persecuted brothers and sisters who daily walk the Way of the Cross,” Mr Newton said.

A Scottish member of the national board of the Knights of St Columba said he thought the cardinal’s suggestion was an ‘excellent idea’ that his organisation would embrace.

Bernice Brady, Glasgow Archdiocesan president of the Society of St Vincent De Paul Scotland, also backed the plan.


Catholic academic and adviser to the Holy See Professor John Haldane said the cardinal’s call could reawaken interest in an ancient Christian tradition.

“In speaking of the wearing of the Cross as an indication of commitment, the cardinal touches on a larger question, namely that of public Christian witness,” the professor said. “We need to recover this practice. Remembering that we will be judged as much by what we failed to do as by what we did.”

Michael McMahon, MSP for Uddingston and Bellshill: “I have always been proud to wear Christian symbols on my lapels but I do not do it as frequently as I did at one time. This is a timely prompt to get back into the habit.”


The cardinal’s call comes at a time when Christians face increasing hostility and even persecution in the UK.

So far this year, a judge has ruled that two Scottish Catholic midwives may be forced to supervise abortions against their beliefs, the Scottish and UK Governments are attempting to dismantle the traditional Christian definition of marriage and a recent report by the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe (OIDCE) found that 95 per cent of all religiously motivated crimes in Scotland were against Christians.

Homily in full, click here.


Pic: Paul McSherry

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