Pope calls for vocal Catholic presence in Scottish public life


During Mass at Glasgow's Bellahouston Park on Thursday afternoon the Holy Father called on Scottish Catholics not to be afraid to bring their faith into the public square. “Society today,” he explained, “needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens.”

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Scottish Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level.

Raising a theme that he first introduced just before his election as Pope, the Holy Father said that because the “dictatorship of relativism … threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man's nature, his destiny and his ultimate good,” the “evangelization of culture is all the more important in our times.”

He noted that in contemporary society some people attempt to relegate religion to the private sphere, even painting “it as a threat to equality and liberty.”

“Yet,” he said, “religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.”

The Pope's words take on a particular significance in British society today, as Catholic adoption agencies have been forced to shut down because they wouldn't comply with a piece of legislation called the Equality Act. The Catholic Church was responsible for around half of all adoptions in the U.K.

He then made an appeal to lay faithful, calling on them to be “in accordance with (their) baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith's wisdom and vision in the public forum.

“Society today,” he explained, “needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility.

“Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation.”

Referring to St. Ninian, evangelizer of Scotland, as “unafraid to be a lone voice,” the Pope went on to address individual sections of the Scottish Church.

He encouraged Scottish bishops to seek the sanctification of the priests under their care by living “to the full the charity that flows from Christ.” The Pope also urged them to pray with their priests for an increase in vocations.

Turning to priests, the Holy Father urged them to preach the Word of God “with a pure heart and a clear conscience.” Scottish religious, he said, should be “a light on a hilltop” as they live out their Christian vocations.

Speaking to young people, he urged them to “lead lives worthy of our Lord and of yourselves.” The Pope said that in the face of “destructive and divisive” temptations such as drugs, money, sex, pornography and alcohol, they should turn to “the only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you.”

“Search for him, know him and love him,” the Pope exhorted, telling the youth that “he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God.”

Challenging the young people to love Christ and “dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life,” Benedict XVI said, “This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!”

To read Pope Benedict's full homily, visit: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/unitedkingdom10/resource.php?res_id=1441

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