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Catholic Bishops of Scotland joined members of Parliament at a special exhibition in Holyrood last Tuesday (November 27) to mark the significant contribution of the Church to Scottish society and beyond.
The event, sponsored by Elaine Smith MSP, highlighted the extensive work carried out by agencies and commissions of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and its associated organisations.
Bishop Hugh Gilbert, President of the Bishops Conference of Scotland said: ‘The bishops of Scotland are very grateful to Elaine Smith, MSP, for sponsoring this event and to Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, for her support.
‘The Church in Scotland welcomed this opportunity to showcase at least something of what we do. The Church is a worldwide, complex and many-faceted institution but in the end, it is people; names, faces, bodies and souls. It is people helping people, not just from cradle to grave, but from before birth to after death, and everything in between.
‘What we could never do as individuals we can do together from prayer to foodbanks, from the kind word to the very hands-on practical, from here to places in the world hit by disaster or oppression. It’s often parallel or complementary to the social provision of Government and the many agencies of civil society and the good works of our fellow-Christians of other denominations.’
Bishop Gilbert added: ‘The word Catholic means universal. And I think all of what was on display at the special exhibition in Holyrood reflects our desire to reach out and create unity. At our best, all we want to be is at the service of each and every human being, created in the image and likeness of God, endowed with an innate dignity and inalienable rights, which neither we nor the law nor government create, but which we can strive to recognise and serve.’
Agencies in attendance included Blairs Museum which houses a collection of church textiles, sacred silver and paintings belonging to the Church and Mission Scotland which provides financial support to communities in mission countries. Other lay catholic organisations such as The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP), which seeks to combat poverty and promote social justice, were also be present.