(Tridentine South Africa)
Article By Marc Aupiais
The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, recently confirmed that he does plan to visit Scotland during his visit this year to the United Kingdom. He did so, during the Ad Limina visit of the Scottish Bishops to Rome. Ad Limina visits are compulsory visits of Bishops to Rome, in which they answer to and report back to the pope on matters in their jurisdiction. Following his recent pattern in which he attacked Venezuela, where the church is in danger, and more recently Great Britain, where he indirectly alleged human rights abuses by the Labour government against Catholics, the Pope warned against Euthanasia, as Scotland is preparing to mull over a controversial Euthanasia bill. He also told faithful Catholics to fight against secularism.
The Pope has, in his address to these same bishops in their Ad Limina visit, recently emphasized that faithful Catholics must obey the magisterium on every single point, much as Jesus said that not a mark would be taken from the law of God, the pope has emphasized that the Catholic morality, is about hope, and that the don't do's are in fact not simply sanctions, but a way to live the fullest life in Christ, gaining life through faith. He asked that the Scottish bishops focus on evangelism, and the position of the laity.
Once again playing the chess game Benedict XVI has become known for, he warned of a need to grapple with the secularist tide attempting to rise over Scotland. The Pope's efforts at outreach towards the SSPX, and Anglo-Catholic Anglicans, as well as his efforts to dialog with Islam, all show his emphasis of ridding the world of the secularist influence he sees as gripping much of Europe. While Ad Limina visits can tend to accompany papal statements against secular powers, the statements of the Pope about the United Kingdom, have certainly gotten more attention than other statements. One would get the impression that the papacy now views the small democracy, much as he does other parts of the world where the very foundation of religious freedom is at risk. He further asked the bishops to defend the right of Catholics to continue to practice their faith in Scotland.
Editorially, it does not seem that the serious rebukes of the Bishops of England and Wales were present in his speech to the Scottish Bishops, but without a source from Scotland, I cannot confirm there was no subtle message, though it seems less likely. Either way, the pope has noted Euthanasia suggestions by Scottish politicians as a serious threat to the gospel: once again seemingly believing it necessary to get directly involved in the politics of the United Kingdom. The Catholic principle of Subsidiarity, also present elsewhere in law and politics, demands that the local authority deals with an issue unless unable to do so. Papal interference, means that the United Kingdom's situation is viewed quite intently by the pope.
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