December 27 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

11-MASS

A year of firsts for Catholics and MSPs

Director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office Anthony Horan says we should not be timid about championing our contributions to society

It has been a year of firsts for the Catholic Church and the Scottish Parliament. Mass was celebrated there during Holy Week. In November the first ever Bishops’ Conference event was held at the same time as an exhibition by the Scottish Catholic Education Service. And, during the summer, the Mercy Bus of the Friends of Divine Mercy was parked outside the building.

These historic moments evidence a willingness on the part of the Church to unmask somewhat the extent of her contribution to Scottish society, revealing the face of Christ to others through her good works and being a strong, courageous voice for human dignity and the common good. In essence, she is the conscience of the nation.

 

‘We all have a part to play’

Engaging with parliament and government on a daily basis is the Catholic Parliamentary Office’s bread and butter, and we strive to encourage others to do the same. But this can’t be all that we do. We must also reveal the true extent of the Church’s valuable contribution to society. And we all have a part to play in this.

Following the example of our Blessed Mother we are rightly a humble people, unconcerned with trumpeting our achievements to all and sundry. And this humility can be seen in the millions of great works that go unnoticed each day in our world, carried out by selfless individuals and groups in the name of Jesus Christ. This humble attitude must not be tampered with; it must continue to be a staple of the day-to-day life of the Christian.

But this does not mean that we should not share the love. These acts of kindness and love are Christ’s legacy, a legacy that has lasted through the ages passing from our Lord to disciple and to the four corners of the world. We are an evangelising people and we are duty bound to share Christ with others and to invite others to seek a relationship with him.

 

Misunderstandings

All of the firsts in and around the Scottish Parliament are examples of sharing Christ’s love, of revealing the beauty, goodness and truth of our Catholic Faith to others.

There are misunderstandings about the Catholic Church. Here in Scotland I imagine there are many people, politicians among them, who do not have an accurate picture of the Church. From this misunderstanding springs a duty incumbent upon Catholics, a duty to ensure that people receive reliable information about the Church and her work. To reveal the truth.

The response of the parliament and MSPs to this year of firsts has been encouraging. They are clearly impressed by the work of the Church: feeding the poor, tending to the sick and the lonely, and standing up for the most vulnerable and defenceless.

They might not agree with everything that we do but they see a principled people; a people who really believe in something eternal, and a higher power that fuels their good deeds. And, if you pardon the technical expression, they see a system that works. Because the Church’s dedication to the needy, the poor, and the vulnerable is tried and tested over thousands of years. She knows how to make a positive difference.

 

Dull secular doctrine

Perhaps politicians also see something quite unique at play; something different to the humdrum secular relativism which pervades modern culture. Perhaps the pendulum of relativism has swung so far that we are now heading back towards a world where objective reality and truth is respected.

The positive response to the Church’s recent engagement with the Scottish Parliament is surely not coincidental in a world desperately seeking meaning.

The great strides made by the Church in recent times to be a more visible presence, both in local communities and nationally, has brought a renewed energy to our work. And the increased exposure to parliamentarians is part of this. I was recently reminded that all of this comes off the back of last year’s consecration of Scotland to our Blessed Mother, Mary. Surely that is no coincidence?

We have been truly blessed and we are receiving many graces as a Church, and our message has never been more important.

We really do have something good and positive to offer society: a belief that each and every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and has inherent and inalienable dignity. And because of this belief the membership of the Church undertake innumerable good works each and every day in the name of Christ for the good of others and the entire community.

We are not trumpeting our good deeds. We are sharing Christ’s love.

 

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