March 21 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Managing expectations

This week’s editorial leader

The Episcopal election of Bishop John Keenan of Paisley (above) this week was indeed a great day—not only for the diocese, but also for Scotland. Bishop Keenan’s appointment restores the number of sitting bishops in Scotland to seven. The only diocese without a sitting bishop now is Motherwell, and Galloway also awaits an appointment as Bishop John Cunningham tended his resignation last year as required by canon law when he turned 75.

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland can tackle 2014 with renewed strength, for their clergy and their parishioners need them. However, last week, as Pope Francis’ Papacy reached the one year mark, the Holy Father reminded us all of the dangers of putting humans—even anointed and ordained men and women—on pedestals. If the Holy Father feels the need to state that he is not ‘superman,’ then we must be careful to look for simply good leadership, not superhuman strength, from the leaders within our Church here in Scotland.

Our Church has much to offer, and its help and guidance are needed even more in light of the secularisation of our society. Ultimately, however, lay Catholics must also play their part in living the Faith and supporting their parishes, clergy and Church if we want to keep the Faith alive for the generations to come.

Some people are born cynics. It is often difficult in our jaded world to have faith: Faith in the justice system, faith in your fellow man and Faith in the Catholic definition of the word.

No doubt there will be some who will never be satisfied by an independent inquiry into the Scottish Church’s handing of abuse reports. They have made up their minds from the onset that any such venture is simply a PR stunt, an exercise in futility, shutting the stable door once the horse has bolted…

They, however, are not the ones who are going to benefit from the McLellan Commission.

If the Very Reverend Dr Andrew McLellan and his 11 commissioners find anything the Church can learn from—in addition to the stringent safeguarding procedures that have been in place now for some time since the historic cases reported—then the commission will have succeeded.

Catholic teaching on sexual relationships promotes modestly, chastity, monogamy within marriage and indeed celibacy within religious life. Nowhere in Catholic doctrine does it say, however, that sex is too shameful to talk about openly and frankly with our young people. Perhaps this is most important area in which we need transparency.



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