Archive for August, 2010

Wednesday headlines

August 31, 2010

Roads, schools and refuse collections are being look at ahead of the Pope’s visit to Glasgow next month. Almost 3500 letters are being sent to households and businesses near Bellahouston Park advising of changes on and around September 16, when Pope Benedict XV1 will celebrate Mass on September 16 in front of 100,000 people.

The BBC has unveiled more details of its extensive plans for coverage of the forthcoming UK visit by Pope Benedict XVI, with more than 10 hours of live broadcasting on BBC1 and BBC2.

Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, the Catholic leader of England and Wales, said yesterday that he didi not think that asking the Faithful to pay a contribution to travel to see Pope Benedict XVI when he visits Britain this month would ‘dampen enthusiasm’ for the trip.

Pope Benedict XVI has granted a series of in-depth interviews with German journalist Peter Seewald. The Pope’s responses to questions about the state of the Church and his pontificate will form the basis for a book to be published before the end of this year.

Vatican official Archbishop Robert Sarah yesterday criticised Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s reported call for Islam to become the religion of all of Europe, labelling it disrespectful to the Pope and Catholic Italy.

Holy Father and past pupils interpret Vatican II.

When attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist, Catholics must be filled with gratitude for God’s great gifts, Pope Benedict XVI has told a group of his former students.

German Catholic Church rewrites sex abuse guidelines.

Fr Paddy O’Kane, from the Holy Family church in Londonderry, has made a call from the pulpit for talks with dissident republicans to begin.

Bob Geldof seeks comfort from his daughters as they mourn his father Bob Snr at Catholic funeral.

Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has described his successor Gordon Brown as ‘difficult, at times maddening’ in his long-awaited memoirs, which are published today. Mr Blair, who converted to Catholicism in 2007, launched his Tony Blair Faith Foundation in May the following year.


Church defends male-only priesthood

August 31, 2010

THE LACK provision for women to become Catholic priests is not the result of sexism 2000 years ago, its because women cannot fulfill a basic function of the priesthood, ‘standing in the place of Jesus,’ Fr Stephen Wang said yesterday in a statement sent out by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

Fr Wang was responding to the announcement that campaigners for female priests will plaster posters on London buses next month during the Pope Benedict XVI’s arrival in the city as part of his visit to Scotland and England.

Cross Wires reiterates that there are are many ways for women with a vocation to dedicate their lives to God in the Catholic Church and that equal does not mean the same. The tradition of male priests must not become a subject to score empty political points on, be it through equality legislation or poster campaigns. And finally, until the thousands of women who have already committed to the Church through Holy Orders demand the right to be priests, there is no genuine case for change.

To read more visit

Edinburgh Castle preview of St Ninian’s Day parade for Pope

August 31, 2010

CARDINAL Keith O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Catholic clergyman, has invited over a thousand pipers, hundreds of school children and dozens of historical characters to greet Pope Benedict XVI and entertain the crowds gathered in Edinburgh to greet him on the morning of September 16.

The St Ninian’s Day parade, which will precede Pope Benedict XVI’s tour of the capital by Popemobile, was officially launched this morning at a ceremony at St Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh Castle and it promises to be spectacular event.

The pipers will be drawn from bands from Scotland and beyond. They will lead the parade and they will also play Highland Cathedral as the Holy Father travels past in the Popemobile.

The launch, a mini pararde in itself, was attended by Cardinal O’Brien, Fiona Hyslop MSP, Minister for Culture and External Affairs, and a selection of the characters who will represented in the historical parade. John Knox will be played on the day by Scottish actor  John Shedden.

The parade will start at 11am from Regent Road and will march along Princes Street concluding at 12.30pm with the arrival of the Holy Father himself in the Popemobile.

“In centuries gone by St Ninian’s Day was always a great occasion for national celebration and charitable giving,” Cardinal O’Brien said. “We’ve now got a fabulous chance to resurrect that noble Scottish tradition by raising money for two wonderful charities.”

The charities that will benefit from fundraising at the parade are Marie Curie Cancer Care and Mary’s Meals. Marie Curie has two hospices in Scotland—Glasgow and Edinburgh—while Mary’s Meals runs school feeding projects providing daily meals for 400,000 children in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Mary’s Meals is looking for volunteers to represent the charity on Princes Street in Edinburgh during the St Ninian’s Day parade. Anyone who can help would be asked to wear a Mary’s Meals T-shirt and would be assigned a place to stand and watch the parade, holding a collection bucket. The time commitment would be from about 9am to about 1pm. To sign up e-mail or call Rachael on 0141 336 7094.

The St Ninian’s Parade is free and spectators are advised to arrive in plenty of time to line the streets ahead of the start.

In other Papal visit news, Cardinal Seán Brady, Primate of All-Ireland, has said he is greatly looking forward to the Holy Father’s visit to Britain and that he plans to attend the key events.

“I plan to accompany Pope Benedict in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Birmingham,” Cardinal Brady said.

Video links: Archbishop Conti says ‘don’t miss’ Papal Mass; Susan Boyle sings and talks about her role

August 30, 2010

Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow Archdiocese talks on YouTube about his hopes for the Papal Visit and tells Scots: “Don’t miss it.”

Susan Boyle – Singing for the Pope. Scottish singer performs How Great Thou Art and and talks on video about her role in Papal visit with Cardinal O’Brien’s comments

Majority of Scots welcome the Holy Father’s arrival

August 30, 2010


OPPOSITION to next month’s Papal Visit to Scotland is far less than media speculation has suggested, according to a new poll.

The survey, carried out by Opinion Research Business and surveying over
1000 adults across Scotland, finds that only two per cent of Scots say they ‘strongly 
object’ to the visit whilst another three per cent say they ‘object’.

Commenting on the findings, Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien said:
 “I am greatly heartened by the results of this poll as it again confirms
that the vast majority of Scots are warm hearted and welcoming of all 

The poll also shows that 70 per cent of Scots consider themselves Christian, up on the last census of 2001, and that nearly half of all Scots said they go to church at least once a month.

While the National Secular Society has organised a march through London to protest against the Papal visit, there are no plans for an event of this kind here.

“It’s now clear to everybody that this tiny minority of secularists speak for nobody but themselves,” Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, said. “Most Scots will be delighted to hear that they’ve given up their attempt to spoil what promises to be a very exciting day for all Scots.”

Cardinal Peter Turkson joins Pope in Britain

August 30, 2010

Cardinal Peter Turkson PIC: CNS

ON THE subject of Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson as potentially the next Pope, as Hugh McLoughlin has previously predicted in the Scottish Catholic Observer, Hugh O’Shaughnessy picks up the subject in The Independent with reverence to Britain’s most senior Catholic clergyman, Cardinal Keith O’Brien.
“When Benedict XVI visits Britain next month, Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson will be with him,” Hugh O’Shaughnessy said.
“His Eminence Cardinal Turkson, the fourth of 10 children, has wasted little time in hitting the highest reaches of the Roman Catholic Church. He is 122nd in seniority among the 179 cardinals, many of whom have retired and would never be regarded as papabili (papal material). In precedence, the Ghanaian stands just a few places behind the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Keith O’Brien, and the semi-retired former archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.”
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Vow of silence better than decrying Papal visit

August 29, 2010

Guess the source of these words of wisdom:

“Scotland will be on display to the world during the Papal Visit, with the global television audience estimated at more than one billion. And Scotland being Scotland, for every sectarian there are two curmudgeons – the people who complain about every public event in our capital city, from the G8 summit to the papal visit, on the grounds they are inconvenienced by roads being closed, etc. Their tiresome bleating does no-one any good, and makes us all appear petty and small-minded. This particular group may like to consider a vow of silence along the lines practiced by the Catholic Trappist order of monks.”

The Scottish Catholic Observer? No, today’s Scotland on Sunday leader. Perhaps Scotland’s other leading national group could take a leaf out of the  SOS’s book.

Relief workers in Pakistan under threat of violence

August 27, 2010

The UN is reviewing security after the Taliban issued a chilling threat to attack foreigners delivering aid to Pakistan flood victims.

“The Pakistani militant group Tehrik-e Taliban plans to conduct attacks against foreigners participating in the ongoing flood relief operations in Pakistan,” according to a UN official.

This follows news that three humanitarian workers operating in the Swat Valley, in the northern part of the country, have been killed by Pakistani Taliban while working to bring aid to flood victims, according to Fides News Agency today.

The tragic news was communicated to Fides by Fr Robert McCulloch, a priest of the Columban Fathers, a missionary in Pakistan for over 32 years, and was confirmed by local humanitarian organisations.

In a country where religious tensions run high, it is sad but perhaps not altogether unexpected that factions have been unable to put their difference behind them to unite behind the common cause, the relief effort after the worst flooding in history.

“The purpose of these attacks is an attempt to maintain absolute control of the territory in the Swat Valley, where even prior to the flooding there were clashes between the Pakistani army and the fundamentalist militia,” Fr McCulloch said.

Christians and other religious minorities are among the main victims. Last March, six workers from the Christian-based humanitarian NGO World Vision were killed by an explosion in the Mansehra district.

Breaking news: Slum dwellers mark centenary of Mother Teresa’s birth; Prince Philip to meet Pope at airport; Scotsman probe case of Fr Bartholomew Burns

August 26, 2010

Hundreds of Catholic nuns and slum dwellers in the Indian city of Calcutta have marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa.

Pope Benedict XVI describes Mother Teresa as an ‘exemplary model of Christian virtue’

Prince Philip to greet Holy Father on arrival at Edinburgh airport

Thousands of Scottish Catholic pupils and teachers will get a half-day off to celebrate the Pope’s Scots visit.

Pope Congratulates Prime Minister David Cameron on birth of fourth child Florence

London bus adverts with a ‘Ordain women,’  message timed for Pope’s visit

The Daily Mail reports that the reputation of former Tory Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw is ruined by the story that he conspired with the Catholic Church to cover up the involvement of an Irish priest, Fr James Chesney, in the 1972 Claudy bomb blast which killed nine people, including an eight-year-old girl.

The revelation this week that a Catholic priest in Northern Ireland, Fr James Chesney, got away with the murder of nine people as the architect behind the bombing in Claudy in 1972, finds an echo in the case of Fr Bartholomew Burns in Scotland, according to the Scotsman.

Informed sources say that the Pope decided last May not to accept the resignations of Dublin auxiliary bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, which were offered on Christmas Eve.

Pope Benedict XVI yesterday appealed to the international community to work to protect human life and rights in Somalia after some 65 civilians were killed in the latest wave of violence.

Catholic social workers in Hong Kong have set up telephone hotlines to offer trauma counselling for residents who felt disturbed over Monday’s deadly hostage crisis in Manila.

Catholic council encourages boycott over same-sex ‘marriages’ in Mexico

Susan Boyle: Singing for the Pope is ‘greatest dream come true’

August 25, 2010

TODAY’S announcement that internationally renowned Scottish singer Susan Boyle will play a key role in the Papal visit celebrations at Bellahouston Park tops an exciting week for Scottish Catholics eagerly awaiting the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI.

Excitement increased among parishioners on Monday when the Church unveiled details of the altar, chair and lectern that will be used by the Holy Father when he celebrates Mass in Glasgow on September 16. The marble structures have been designed by Glasgow artist Niamh Quail with assistance from Strathclyde University.

This was followed by the announcement that Britain’s Got Talent finalist Susan Boyle, from Blackburn in the Lothians, will perform three times at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow on September 16 as well as singing with the 800 strong choir at the open air Mass which will be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Scotland.

Ms Boyle, a member of the Legion of Mary, has described the opportunity to sing for the Pope as ‘her greatest dream come true.’ Speaking in a television interview recorded by the Scottish Catholic Media Office, the global singing sensation spoke of being ‘honoured and humbled’ by the invitation.

For full interview with Ms Boyle, including what her performance for the Pope would have meant to her late mother,  see this Friday’s Scottish Catholic Observer.