Archive for June, 2010

Official logo for Papal visit to Scotland unveiled

June 30, 2010

THE official logo for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Scotland on September 16 has been unveiled.

The design by award-winning Scots graphic artist Gregory Millar, originally from Perth, combines the Papal cross with the St Andrew’s cross, and the quotation is taken from the Holy Father himself.

When asked about his choice of words, Mr Millar said: “The quotation is taken from an address Pope Benedict gave to young people in 2008. I thought it was really beautiful and a reminder that the message of the Holy Father this St Ninian’s Day will, in essence, be the same as that first preached by St Ninian himself over sixteen hundred years ago,  that Jesus Christ is the hope which never disappoints.”

Cardinal Keith O’Brien said he was delighted with the official logo.

“The design by Scottish designer Gregory Millar is both striking and symbolic, it is a fitting emblem for a historic visit,” he said.


Church dismisses report that the human foetus cannot feel pain

June 30, 2010

THE Church in Scotland has dismissed a government report that claims the human foetus cannot feel pain before 24 weeks.

Doctors from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), led by Professor Allan Templeton of Aberdeen University, said that nerve connections in the brain are not sufficiently formed to allow pain perception until after the current 24-week limit for terminations.

However a spokesman for the Church in Scotland said this focus on pain levels sidelined the wider argument.

“In this debate the question of pain levels are a secondary issue” Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, said. “Amnesty International do not campaign against the death penalty based on the levels of pain and sedation faced by the condemned but on the principle that the state sanctioned killing of another human being is barbaric and unjustifiable. The idea of justifying the killing of another by citing, as a legal defence, that the victim was under a general anaesthetic or even asleep would rightly be seen as ludicrous.

“The same applies for protecting the pre-born human being—human rights for all, not pain levels and sedation, is the issue.”

Abortion is currently legal in the UK up until the 24th week of pregnancy but pro-life campaigners have long claimed that medical advances in the treatment of premature babies mean the time limit should be reduced.

Professor Allan Templeton, president of the RCOG, and chief author of the report, said he  believed his research showed no change was required. “There’s nothing in the report that suggests any need to review the upper limit,” he said.

However Professor Sunny Anand, one of the world’s leading experts in fetal pain, has previously shown that it is a mistake to assume that pain perception in unborn babies requires the same structures as in adults.

His research demonstrated that the neural mechanisms used for pain processing in fetal life are different from those of fully-developed babies or adults and that they exist at 20 weeks of gestation and possibly earlier.

The report has alarmed pro-lifers who dismissed accusations that the report undermined   arguments for a lower abortion limit.

Paul Tully, General Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) rebutted the report.

“The RCOG knows better than most people how marvelous, sensitive, complex and beautiful these babies are at every stage of development from conception onwards,” he said.

“Life does not start halfway through a pregnancy, it starts at conception.”

Breaking news: Europe on same-sex unions; US case against Vatican; New Mass reaction ahead of Bellahouston

June 29, 2010

Europe’s right to deny same-sex unions is upheld

The US Supreme Court allows sex-abuse case to proceed against the Vatican by refusing the Vatican’s request for dismissal and allowing a priest sex-abuse case in Oregon to proceed against the Holy See.

Belgium urges Vatican to stay out of child sex abuse investigations

As Scottish Catholics will get a preview of the new translation of the Roman Missal at the  Bellahouston Papal Mass on September 16, this suggestion from the US that Catholics will see bit of old in new Mass is interesting.,6_1_NA29_MASS_S1-100629.article

The Catholic Church of England and Wales organises national event for vocations ahead of Pope’s visit

1,000 mourn death of respected Catholic human rights defender in Congo

A leading Vatican expert on Islam laid bare the impact of extremism on Christians in the Middle East to listeners at Aid to the Church in Need’s Birmingham

Cross over this dilly Dali

June 28, 2010

IT LOOKS that the summer slump may have come early. Hungry for news of anything that could be construed as Papal visit related—and deemed controversial in any way—the media is having a field day.

Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross is one of Glasgow’s artistic and cultural gems, that is not being disputed. The furore over the fact that the £80 million painting is leaving the country tomorrow on loan to Atlanta, Georgia in the US—and will not be here during the Papal visit to Scotland on September 16—is blowing the matter way out of proportion.

The loan of the Dali has been on the cards for some time, arranged ahead of the announcement of the Pope’s arrival. Galleries loan items from their collections, this is nothing new as that is the way the art world works. Scotland, and Glasgow in particular, has benefited from many visiting pieces and exhibitions. Where is the Christian spirit now it is our turn to reciprocate?

Certainly when Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was closed for a three-year refurbishment in the early 2000s the city felt its loss and there is no doubt the Dali is the jewel in the gallery’s crown. However, the painting will not be on display in Scotland for just six-months this time, not an extended three-year period.

And, as far a Cross Wires is aware, a visit to Kelvingrove was not on Pope Benedict’s busy itinerary while in Scotland.

But for those of you who will miss the painting regardless, here it is.

All change for beatification

June 25, 2010

IT LOOKS as if there is a plan B venue for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman by Pope Benedict XVI.

According to Catholic Herald reports, a spokesman for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said that they had asked Birmingham City Council for the use of Cofton Park for Newman’s beatification on September 19.

“He said, that while the details still had to be worked out with the City of Birmingham, they hoped that at least 80,000 people would be able to attend. It is near Rednal where Newman’s Oratorians had a house and where the Fathers of the Oratory were later buried. Cardinal Newman’s grave is there.”

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Take your jeely piece to Bellahouston, it will be a long day

June 24, 2010

CROSS wires is wondering if folk singer Adam McNaughton’s jeely piece adage is true and if the Papal Mass at Bellahouston will be a case in point.

News that: “It is now clear that groups arriving for the [Papal] Mass will be encouraged to arrive in Glasgow by 11am approximately… The Papal Mass will not end before 7.30pm and the Police are advising that it may take two hours for the congregation to disperse from the park’ is ringing alarm bells—and not just among the ladies of Kelvingrove and Morningside. (For more see

In 1982 there were tales of great kindness from residents near Bellahouston Park offering transport food, shelter and use of facilities to foot sore and weary but elated pilgrims. Yet if over 100,000 people are going to be in the area this year from 11am until after 9pm on September 16 the logistics are mind-boggling.

McNaughton’s Jeely Piece Song from 1960s bemoans the fact that ‘ye cannae fling pieces oot a twenty-story flat’ as ‘the odds against it reaching earth and ninety-nine to one’.

While smart Scots are likely to plan ahead so that that sustenance—both spiritual and physical—will not be an issue on the day of the Papal visit, spare a thought, and a sandwich, if you hear sections of the park singing the Jeely Piece Song (lyrics and audio link below for those who wish to prepare.);ttJEELIEPC.html

Latest news: Millennium development goals progress, Nuns in Gaza aid mission; schools resources for Papal visit

June 24, 2010

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2010 to be released this afternoon assesses progress. The eight goals to be reached by 2015, ranging from halving extreme poverty, stopping the spread HIV/AIDS and guaranteeing universal elementary school instruction, were agreed by all countries and all the most important institutions for development. Much has been done to meet the needs of the poorest of the poor.

Tel Aviv urges Pope to prevent nuns participating in aid mission to Gaza

School resources to prepare for the Papal visit available from Scottish Catholic Education Service

Schools are encouraged to use these in the weeks preceding the Papal visit and when subsequently reviewing the visit and its outcomes.

German Bishop Walter Mixa who resigned sticks to his decision

Vatican Secret Archives hold tales fascinating … and not

Former Catholic Church representative on Stirling Council bids farewell to city

Latest news: Faith is not foolish, says Holy Father; Pope arrives in Scotland in 84 days; oldest apostle images found

June 23, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI says it is not foolish to have Faith in God

The ‘Oldest’ images of Christ’s apostles, including Andrew, have been found in Rome. A 4th-century painting known as the College of the Apostles, can be seen outside the burial chamber of a Roman noble woman in the Catacombs of St Thecla. Paintings inside the chamber of Peter, Paul, Andrew and John are believed to be the oldest in existence.

84 days to go until Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Scotland to begin his visit to the UK and the schools event in England is taking shape

Christian Aid response to UK Budget

Vietnam and Vatican work toward improving diplomatic relations, video link

St Amand’s Primary School, East Hendred, has spent a year searching for a new headteacher and is now being forced to look at non-religious candidates

Catholic church believes Slovak Parliament will support Vatican treaties that oblige the country to codify certain principles, such as a doctor’s right to refuse to perform abortions

Catholic church in Kerala against draft bill legalising surrogacy

Archbishops of Birmingham and Southwark to receive pallium

June 22, 2010

TWO English archbishops are among the 38 expected to take part in a Eucharistic concelebration with Pope Benedict XVI next Tuesday and received the pallium, the symbol of metropolitan authority, from the Holy Father.

The pallium, a round woollen band with two black-tipped strips, is worn around the shoulders over liturgical vestments to evoke the image of the Good Shepherd carrying a sheep back to the fold.

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham and Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark are due to take part in the celebrations on the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul Apostles.

Pope Benedict will visit Archbishop Longley’s diocese to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman during his Papal visit to Britain in September.

Blow for St Andrews’ Cathedral?

June 22, 2010

St Andrews' Cathedral, Glasgow, before scaffolding went up

CROSSWIRES is awaiting confirmation on how the collapse of a respected specialist masonry firm is going to effect the restoration of St Andrews’ Cathedral in Glasgow.

News today from within the construction industry has confirmed newspaper reports that Hunter & Clark has collapsed into administration. This is a terrible blow to the firm’s 168 employees and another hit to the already beleaguered local construction industry. In addition, it casts a shadow on the extensive project at St Andrews’.

According to the firm’s own restoration and conservation website: “Our expert and experienced teamworking skills can be seen on two examples of our current sites, St Andrews’s Cathedral Glasgow where we are conducting extensive external and internal renovation work and Roslyn Chapel Mid-Lothian, here we are responsible for detailed restoration work along with a new build contract.”

In addition in the last few months, Hunter & Clark has started work on three major new contracts in Glasgow and Lanark, worth a total of £3.7m, including a major internal renovation project on the Gothic-style St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Lanark. All the projects are believed to be in limbo—as recovery specialists Zolfo Cooper step in—until the administrators can decide what action to take to rescue the company.

Hunter Clark Ltd’s began in 1900 when two Monumental Masons, Thomas Hunter & William Clark, set up business in Glasgow’s Gallowgate to serve the Eastern Necropolis Cemetery.

The family who owned Hunter & Clark until it went into administration acquired the firm in 1923.