Image: The Catholic Church serving the community


Minister backs ‘enormous contribution’ of Catholic Church to life in Scotland


This evening the Catholic Bishops of Scotland will join members of Parliament at a special exhibition in Holyrood to mark the significant contribution of the Church to Scottish society and beyond.


The event, sponsored by Elaine Smith MSP, highlights the extensive work carried out by agencies and commissions of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and its associated organisations.


Speaking ahead of the event, Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government who will welcome the exhibition said: “I am delighted to be able to help celebrate the enormous contribution the Catholic Church makes to life in Scotland, and further afield. The Church has a hugely positive impact on the lives of so many people, including supporting many of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, and we greatly value our relationships with the Catholic community. I am looking forward to meeting and working with the new President of the Bishop’s Conference, Bishop Gilbert, as well as representatives from the diverse range of organisations attending.”


Bishop Hugh Gilbert 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 welcomes this opportunity to showcase at least something of what we do. The Church is a world-wide, 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 food banks, 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 will be 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.”


Event Sponsor Elaine Smith MSP said: “Having hosted the first ever Mass at the Scottish Parliament this year during Holy Week, I am now delighted to sponsor this prestigious event, showcasing the vital charitable and valuable community work undertaken by the Catholic Church.”

Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office said: “When you talk about the Catholic Church you don’t often think of the innumerable instances of selfless charity that go unnoticed each and every day. Feeding the poor, tending to the sick and the lonely, standing up for the vulnerable and the defenceless.

“Day in day out the Church is doing this great work and is making a significant and positive contribution to Scottish society. And it’s all out of love. This event, highlighting some of that work to our parliamentarians is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the continuing influence of Christ in our society.”


The relics of Saint Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, will also be welcomed to the Scottish Parliament for the evening, borrowed from the National shrine of St Andrew, St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh.


Students from Holy Rood Secondary School, Edinburgh will provide musical entertainment on the night.