January 24 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

11-MIKAEEL-KULAR

We do not stand alone in the challenges before us

This week’s editorial leader

In this week of prayer for Christian unity we have seen communities come together for both positive and tragic reasons. In Glasgow, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia joined ecumenical vespers at Eastwood Parish Church. In Edinburgh, after a many hours searching, volunteers and the local community came together for a memorial service for the late Mikaeel Kular, 3, who was found dead near a family home in Fife. The service was held at Muirhouse St Andrew’s Church in Edinburgh, less than a mile from Mikaeel’s home, on Saturday evening and was attended by many who had earlier joined the search for the little boy.

It has also been a week in which the number of priests laicised in the final years of his Pontificate by the now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI came to light; a week in which the Vatican’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations spoke of Church mistakes over abuse as well as at the safeguarding progress that has been made; a week during which Pope Francis said that those who abuse have no ‘living relationship with God.’

We must remember that abuse of children and vulnerable adults is a problem in society, the Church does not stand in isolation in having to tackle it.

 

On Sunday, the Church’s 100th annual World Day for Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis spoke of the need to move away from ‘attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalisation,’ that he claimed were ‘typical of a throwaway culture.’

Scottish culture is made up of native and migrant populations and should theoretically promote natural diversity and tolerance.

Concerns have, however, recently increased over threats to religious freedom in Scotland in light of onslaughts, direct and indirect, from several quarters—including draft legislation before the Scottish Parliament and proposed changes to education—ahead of this year’s referendum on independence. We must prevent religion being cast out from our country, and we must stop the marginalisation of Christianity to ensure we are not made to be refugees in our own culture and society. We may not be seeing the violent civic unrest and overt persecution as witnessed in countries such as the Middle East and, most recently, the Ukraine, however we do have our Crosses to bear. We are not alone in that either. It has become clear that disproportionate political attention to secular voices, not other faiths, now presents the biggest challenge we must overcome.

 

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