October 19 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


There is still a hunger for the Faith

— Archbishop Philip Tartaglia speaks of the New Evangelisation at the Synod of Bishops

Scotland’s representative at the Synod of Bishops has said people here are ‘still hungry’ for ‘religious and moral truth expounded clearly and simply and openly.’

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow (right) was speaking at the synod last Friday, which has heard from bishops and Church leaders from all over the world in the past two weeks. He told the assembled audience the Scottish Church was convinced ‘the New Evangelisation is set to be the decisive pastoral challenge and opportunity in Scotland for the next generation.’


Speak up for Faith

The archbishop’s contribution also focused on the need for Catholics to speak clearly about their Faith even in a secular environment.

“From recent experience of defending and promoting marriage as uniquely the union of a man and a woman, the Scottish bishops can tell you that the vast majority of the Catholic people, many other Christians, and indeed people of other faiths respond positively and rejoice to hear religious and moral truth expounded clearly and simply and openly,” he said. “Even in these highly secularised times, the thirst for authentic religion still asserts itself, as we saw so clearly when his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI visited the United Kingdom two years ago in 2010.

“We must not be afraid to preach the truth of the Catholic and apostolic Faith with courage and openness and frankness, but also with love and compassion,” the archbishop continued. “With persuasiveness and humility, starting always from Jesus Christ. People today, especially young people, need both truth and love if they are to live authentic human lives.”

In this environment, the archbishop said, ‘the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland welcomes the call for a New Evangelisation. Indeed, the New Evangelisation is already operating as a general impulse towards the renewal of the living of the Faith and the transmission of the Faith in Scotland.’


Greater engagement

The archbishop also urged the Church to follow Scotland’s lead in making ‘a new effort to engage with Catholic young people, which has already involved greater use of the new forms of social media.’

“In respect of young people, I recommend that bishops engage with young people in person,” he said. “Don’t leave it simply to chaplains and youth workers. Young people really enjoy the bishop himself speaking to them about Jesus.”

Archbishop Tartaglia said the bishops of Scotland had already begun work on the New Evangelisation by carrying out an ‘intensification of ordinary pastoral care,’ a ‘renewal of parish life,’ ‘renewing the Sacrament of Penance,’ establishing a new Commission for the family and ‘in our on-going ecumenical engagement with other Christians in Scotland.’

Archbishop Tartaglia has also been appointed one of the moderators of the synod. One controversial moment occurred when the participating bishops were shown a video that Vatican Radio described as a ‘fear-mongering presentation of statistics attempting to show how Islam is conquering Europe and the rest of the world.’

The video—which was apparently screened by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace—emphasised the high birth rates among Muslims in Europe, in contrast with the falling fertility of native Europeans, and concluded that the continent would soon be predominantly Islamic. The synod is currently preparing the documents on the New Evangelisation that will be its official conclusion.


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