BY Peter Diamond | December 21 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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Political leaders issue Christmas messages to Catholic community and all Scotland’s Christians

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Conservative MSP Donald Cameron gave their best wishes to Scottish Catholics.

Scotland’s First Minister has for the first time released a Christmas message specifically to Scotland’s Catholic community.

In March, Mrs Sturgeon was criticised for failing to issue an Easter message specifically to Scotland’s Christians, despite regularly addressing messages to the country’s Jews on Hanukkah—which commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem—and Rosh Hashana—the Jewish New Year—and Muslims on Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.

However, responding to a request from the SCO, Nicola Sturgeon joined the Scottish Labour Party’s Richard Leonard and the Scottish Conservative’s Catholic MSP Donald Cameron in wishing goodwill to the Catholic community.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is currently on maternity leave.

 

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland:

I send my warmest wishes to Scotland’s Christians of all denominations celebrating Christmas.

The Catholic community is an immensely important part of Scottish society and the Scottish Government values their contribution to modern Scotland, helping make it the place we want it to be—a safer, stronger and more inclusive nation, where all can live in peace.

This year we also celebrated the centenary of the 1918 Education Act which brought Catholic education into the state education system. Denominational schools continue to make a positive contribution to Scotland’s education system, ensuring we have successful learners, responsible citizens and confident individuals.

At this time of celebration, I hope you have a very happy and peaceful Christmas with friends and family, and a wonderful 2019.

 

Richard Leonard MSP, Scottish Labour party leader:

Advent is a special time of year for Christians of all denominations in communities across Scotland.

Christians will mark it as they have done so faithfully now for two millennia.

It is a time of laughter, love and hope. A time for exchanging gifts and food, and getting together with friends and loved ones.

But as the temperature drops, I know that many of you will have noticed like me just how many people are sleeping rough on our streets, or how much more common food bank and toy bank appeals now are in our community.

Scotland’s Catholic community—through individual churches, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, Mary’s Meals and others—has again shown how faith can be a powerful force for good in our society.

That is also the case not just in terms of charity, but in public policy—such as the cross-party and cross-faith Give Me Five campaign to increase child benefit by £5 per week, a move which would lift 30,000 children out of poverty.

It is a policy that I will continue to press for in the new year.

The coming year should be one where we do more to bring about the kind of society that reflects these acts of kindness, but ultimately makes them less necessary.

On behalf of the Scottish Labour Party, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

 

Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative policy co-ordinator:

AS with every Christmas, the run-up this year has been typically busy, as most of us are caught up in the usual whirl of shopping, seeing family and friends, and generally celebrating the festive season.

And politics is no different, especially with the turbulence relating to Brexit engaging many of your elected representatives in the last few weeks.

It’s also been a particularly divisive moment in politics with competing factions and parties attacking each other in an increasingly vehement manner.

Which makes it all the more important for us simply to pause and gather breath.

Or, as the poem Desiderata tell us: “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Quietly contemplating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, is imperative in these uncertain times, not least because of the central Christmas message of peace and goodwill to all men and women. We all need the peace that Jesus brings, and we all need to show goodwill to each other—at this point in time, above all.

Ultimately, this is a time of hope and optimism. Let’s hope we can all agree on that.”

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