BY Ian Dunn | September 19 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

35-CARDINAL-KISSES-POPE'S-RING

Cardinal thanks Pope for being ‘an honorary Scot’

Cardinal O'Brien has thanked Pope Benedict for coming to Scotland as the Holy Father prepares to return to the Vatican.

In his farewell address to Pope Benedict XVI Cardinal Keith O’Brien has thanked the Pope for agreeing to be ‘an honorary Scot for the day’ last Thursday. The Cardinal also said the Church in Scotland was already experiencing a “Benedict bounce” after the visit.

Speaking at Oscott College in Birmingham, Cardinal O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Catholic clergyman, addressed his farewell remarks to the Pope at the end of his four day visit to Scotland and England. The cardinal concluded by assuring the Pope that the Catholic Church would work to ‘build on the legacy of your visit for many years to come as we go forward affirmed so surely by you in our Faith.

The full text of Cardinal O’Brien’s address:

Holy Father, it is a great privilege for me to address you, as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.

As you prepare to leave us, we remember the joy and pride we felt when we learned of your State visit to the United Kingdom at the invitation of Her Majesty the Queen and Her Government.

In Edinburgh, just three days ago, in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Her Majesty, the Duke of Edinburgh and leaders of Church and State welcomed you and the words you so thoughtfully delivered to us when you addressed our country.

It was a particular joy for us in Scotland to realise that you would arrive in our country to begin your visit on the 16th of September, the Feast of St Ninian. Ninian was of course a bishop, ordained in Rome and sent back to his homeland to spread the Christian message. Your words and your very presence brought to our minds our ancient Christian heritage. The St. Ninian tartan scarf designed and woven for your visit, which you wore so graciously showed you were happy to be an honorary Scot for the day!

The welcoming cavalcade along Princes Street in Edinburgh reminded a worldwide audience of the Christian roots of our land. Like Ninian before you, you too moved across our countries, strengthening us in that same Christian faith whose seed had been first sown over 1600 years ago.

At Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, the first of your Masses in our country was celebrated with great joy with the 70,000 pilgrims present falling silent only for moments of deep prayer. For many months our people had been preparing to greet you with very great happiness in prayer and song. Major events followed in England, both temporal and spiritual, allowing you to engage with our fellow Catholics, our Christian brothers and sisters, with civil society, and all people of goodwill.

At the heart of your pilgrimage was the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman. We are happy to acknowledge the Scottish links of the new Blessed John Henry Newman—coming to Abbotsford in the Scottish Borders for relaxation and prayer and celebrating Mass on the occasions of his visits wearing the vestments which had been brought to my Chapel in Edinburgh for you to see as a reminder of these Scottish links.

From your first encyclical letter ‘Deus Caritas Est’, your words have always been given detailed attention and careful study not only by the Catholic faithful but by peoples of all faiths and none.

As the Chief Teacher of our Faith we thank you for the guidance and inspiration you offer us. Your words to us; at Bellahouston Park, Twickenham, Westminster, Hyde Park, at the Beatification, and here in Birmingham will be studied and used to fortify us all in the faith passed on to us through the ages by the apostles and delivered over these four great days by the successor of Peter himself.

Your visit to us was both State and pastoral but our farewell to you is entirely personal. Be assured  that we will build on the legacy of your visit for many years to come as we go forward affirmed so surely by you in our faith.

Pic: CNS

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