Statement to Parishes on Safeguarding – To be read at all Masses on the weekend of 16 / 17 November 2019. St Margaret’s relationship with the Lord shaped her attitude towards others.

Dear brothers and sisters,

The Bishops of Scotland have made the following commitment to Safeguarding:

All components of the Catholic Church in Scotland, especially those in positions of leadership and responsibility, value the lives, wholeness, safety and well-being of each individual person within God’s purpose for everyone.

We seek to uphold the highest safeguarding standards in our relationships with people of all ages who are involved in whatever capacity with the Church and its organisations.

And therefore, as a Church community, we accept that it is the responsibility of all of us – ordained, professed, employed and voluntary members – to work together to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults from abuse or harm.

IN GOD’S IMAGE, p.3

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of St Margaret, Queen and Patroness of Scotland. When St Margaret prayed over the scriptures she discovered the depth of Jesus’ love both for herself and for others. As she felt God drawing her closer to Himself, St Margaret learnt that God was asking her to love others, especially the most vulnerable. St Margaret devoted her life to helping those most at risk in her society.

The example of Jesus in the Gospels reveals that the love and care of people, especially those most at risk, is central to Christianity. Accordingly, Safeguarding is a priority for the Catholic Church in Scotland.

Building a culture of Safeguarding throughout our diocese demonstrates that our faith is genuine. As your bishop I want to thank you for all that you do in your parish and community to keep our children and vulnerable adults safe. I acknowledge the efforts of our clergy, Parish Coordinators, Parish Volunteers, Diocesan Trainers and those who serve on our Safeguarding Advisory Groups.

In the New Year I will celebrate a Mass in each Deanery to which everyone will be invited, but especially all those involved in Safeguarding. These spiritual gatherings will provide opportunities for us to deepen the bond between prayer and action, to pray for those who have suffered from abuse and to give thanks for all that we are doing to make people safe today.

St Margaret’s relationship with the Lord shaped her attitude towards others. Let us allow the Lord to guide our own care of others in modern Scotland.

Please pray for me as I do for you every day.

Yours in Christ,

+Brian

Bishop of Argyll and the Isles