BY Ian Dunn | December 13 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Scots law has sacred Christian roots

Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh has reminded Scottish politicians that Christianity is one of the roots of Scots law, and that it defines life as sacred.

While giving the time for reflection address at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Archbishop Cushley said that ‘when we look at Scots law, we can see the various origins and influences upon it, and one of them is Christianity.’

“We hear it said ‘life is sacred’ without thinking about it too much, but it remains impressed upon how we relate to each other as a society— and that is why it is in the bedrock of the laws of our country,” he said. “Of course, that pleases me as a Christian, not because it makes the law biased in my favour, but because I know that Christians start from the premise that all life is sacred, irrespective of creed or any other accidentals, and because they believe—as many do—that all creation starts in some way in God.”

The archbishop told the MSPs present that ignoring Scottish law’s Christian roots was liable to end in disaster, in what many will interpret as a reference to the Scottish Government’s plans to legalise same-sex ‘marriage,’ as well as MSP Margo MacDonald’s assisted suicide bill.

“Until recent times, all law in our country, to some degree, reflected our relationship with God and our relationship with our fellow human beings, including with our own selves,” he said. “If our human laws failed in either of these two dimensions, the argument went, they would fail to promote the common good that all law must surely strive to uphold.  By contrast, laws that passed these two tests stood the test of time, for the good of the whole community, even non-believers.”

The archbishop also said he was very impressed by the work that had been done within Holyrood while he was out of the country as a Vatican diplomat.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to address this distinguished group of representatives in our nation’s ancient capital,” he said. “I have not lived in Scotland for a long time, and so it is a wonderful thing to return and to have the chance to stand here in our new parliament and to consider all that has been achieved here in so short a time.”


© Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2013. Andrew Cowan


—This story ran in full in the December 13 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.


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