September 19 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Have faith in the people of Scotland

This weeks' editorial

This morning Scotland, and the rest of the world, woke up to the result of the Scottish independence referendum. A historic day. Regardless of the outcome, we remain, by and large, Scottish and, the majority of the readers of the SCO remain Catholic (no disrespect to our friends of other faiths). So has the world changed? Perhaps. Has it spun off its axis? Let’s hope not.

There has been a great deal of talk about the need for reconciliation after the referendum ballot as, depending on the outcome, as many as close to half of the electorate will not have the result they wanted. The campaigns for and against an independent Scotland have been robust, even shrill at times. There have been misleading claims, for example: that yes voters did not identify with being British, and that no voters were not patriotic Scots; that any attempt to leave Westminster rule was intentionally anti-English… In truth, however, regardless of the noise, there was only ever one question on the ballot: Should Scotland be an independent country? It was a cultural and constitutional question, and, as it turns out, a tricky political/economic one.

As Scotland’s immediate future takes shape, the SCO has faith in the people of Scotland; faith that the population of a country with such a strong national identity will pick itself up from any independence referendum result; faith that Scottish residents will remain as diverse and united as ever. Even if some don’t believe it was a fair fight (there are always some), let’s hope everyone can give the outcome a ‘square go.’

The referendum does not impact the fact that Scottish Catholics have our own Bishops’ conference and Catholic schools (the latter according to Roseanna Cunningham this week). And, along with the rest of the Scottish population, we still have our own legal system, history, sense of humour, cultural identity… and, unfortunately, problems. As members of the universal Catholic Church, however, we have always seen beyond our own national borders and will continue to do so particularly in issues such as social justice, poverty, religious persecution and so on.

If this morning we have woken up to an independent Scotland, then the Church has a duty to play a key role in guiding and shaping the Scotland that is to come in 18 months. If we have woken up as part of the UK, the Church has exactly the same role, but with less time pressure. We prayed that Scots did not turn on or away from each other in the build up to the independence vote, that same prayer exists as we in Scotland move forward.




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