Benedict XVI’s sermon at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow

Holy Father’s sermon in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park with my emphases and comments.

You will see here that the Pope is pressing something that I have for years been saying is at the heart of his pontificate: foster Catholic identity so that we can contribute in the public square.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"The Kingdom of God is very near to you!" (Lk 10:9). With these words of the Gospel we have just heard, I greet all of you with great affection in the Lord. Truly the Lord’s Kingdom is already in our midst! At this Eucharistic celebration in which the Church in Scotland gathers around the altar in union with the Successor of Peter, let us reaffirm our faith in Christ’s word and our hope – a hope which never disappoints – in his promises! I warmly greet Cardinal O’Brien and the Scottish Bishops; I thank in particular Archbishop Conti for his kind words of welcome on your behalf; and I express my deep gratitude for the work that the British and Scottish Governments and the Glasgow city fathers have done to make this occasion possible.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that Christ continues to send his disciples into the world in order to proclaim the coming of his Kingdom and to bring his peace into the world, beginning house by house, family by family, town by town. I have come as a herald of that peace to you, the spiritual children of Saint Andrew and to confirm you in the faith of Peter (cf. Lk 22:32). It is with some emotion that I address you, not far from the spot where my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass nearly thirty years ago with you and was welcomed by the largest crowd ever gathered in Scottish history.

Much has happened in Scotland and in the Church in this country since that historic visit. [That "pastoral" visit.] I note with great satisfaction how Pope John Paul’s call to you to walk hand in hand with your fellow Christians has led to greater trust and friendship with the members of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others. Let me encourage you to continue to pray and work with them in building a brighter future for Scotland based upon our common Christian heritage. In today’s first reading we heard Saint Paul appeal to the Romans to acknowledge that, as members of Christ’s body, we belong to each other (cf. Rom 12:5) and to live in respect and mutual love. In that spirit I greet the ecumenical representatives who honour us by their presence. This year marks the 450th anniversary of the Reformation Parliament, but also the 100th anniversary of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, which is widely acknowledged to mark the birth of the modern ecumenical movement. Let us give thanks to God for the promise which ecumenical understanding and cooperation represents for a united witness to the saving truth of God’s word in today’s rapidly changing society.

Among the differing gifts which Saint Paul lists for the building up of the Church is that of teaching (cf. Rom 12:7). The preaching of the Gospel has always been accompanied by concern for the word: the inspired word of God and the culture in which that word takes root and flourishes. [Word… and culture.   Word first.  The Word takes root in the culture and shapes that culture.] Here in Scotland, I think of the three medieval universities founded here by the popes, including that of Saint Andrews which is beginning to mark the 600th anniversary of its foundation. In the last 30 years and with the assistance of civil authorities, Scottish Catholic schools have taken up the challenge of providing an integral education to greater numbers of students, and this has helped young people not only along the path of spiritual and human growth, but also in entering the professions and public life. This is a sign of great hope for the Church, and I encourage the Catholic professionals, politicians and teachers of Scotland never to lose sight of their calling to use their talents and experience in the service of the faith, engaging contemporary Scottish culture at every level.

The evangelization of culture [Not just "evangelization", but "evangelization of culture".] is all the more important in our times, when a "dictatorship of relativism" threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good.  There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. [I hope the British Humanist Ass. is taking notes.] Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister. For this reason I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, in accordance with your baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum. [Excellent.  Don’t allow your voice to be excluded from the public square.  Don’t be intimidated by the secularist and media.  Don’t wait for your ecclesiastical shepherds.  Do it.] Society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, [as humanists propose] but in a society which works for the true welfare ["true welfare"] of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility[Which includes protection of the unborn.] Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation.

Saint Ninian, whose feast we celebrate today, was himself unafraid to be a lone voice. In the footsteps of the disciples whom our Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good news of Jesus Christ. His mission church in Galloway became a centre for the first evangelization of this country. [So, today is a stepping stone to a new evangelization.  (That’s "evangelisation" for my readers in Old Blighty.)] That work was later taken up by Saint Mungo, Glasgow’s own patron, and by other saints, the greatest of whom must include Saint Columba and Saint Margaret. Inspired by them, many men and women have laboured over many centuries to hand down the faith to you. [This is your patrimony!  Don’t let any one bully it away from you!] Strive to be worthy of this great tradition! Let the exhortation of Saint Paul in the first reading be your constant inspiration: "Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering and persevere in prayer" (cf. Rom 12:11-12).

I would now like to address a special word to the bishops of Scotland. Dear brothers, let me encourage you in your pastoral leadership of the Catholics of Scotland. As you know, one of your first pastoral duties is to your priests (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7) and to their sanctification. [Benedict is especially interested in priests.  That is one reason why he gave them Summorum Pontificum.] As they are alter Christus to the Catholic community, so you are to them. Live to the full the charity that flows from Christ, in your brotherly ministry towards your priests, collaborating with them all, and in particular with those who have little contact with their fellow priests. Pray with them for vocations, that the Lord of the harvest will send labourers to his harvest (cf. Lk 10:2). Just as the Eucharist makes the Church, so the priesthood is central to the life of the Church. Engage yourselves personally in forming your priests as a body of men who inspire others to dedicate themselves completely to the service of Almighty God. Have a care also for your deacons, whose ministry of service is associated in a particular way with that of the order of bishops. Be a father and a guide in holiness for them, encouraging them to grow in knowledge and wisdom in carrying out the mission of herald to which they have been called.

Dear priests of Scotland, you are called to holiness and to serve God’s people by modelling your lives on the mystery of the Lord’s cross. Preach the Gospel with a pure heart and a clear conscience. Dedicate yourselves to God alone and you will become shining examples to young men of a holy, simple and joyful life: they, in their turn, will surely wish to join you in your single-minded service of God’s people. May the example of Saint John Ogilvie, dedicated, selfless and brave, inspire all of you. Similarly, let me encourage you, the monks, nuns and religious of Scotland to be a light on a hilltop, living an authentic Christian life of prayer and action that witnesses in a luminous way to the power of the Gospel.

Finally, I would like to say a word to you, my dear young Catholics of Scotland. I urge you to lead lives worthy of our Lord (cf. Eph 4:1) and of yourselves. There are many temptations placed before you every day – drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol – which the world [and the British Humanist Ass.] tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive. There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you. Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to pray for vocations: I pray that many of you will know and love Jesus Christ and, through that encounter, will dedicate yourselves completely to God, especially those of you who are called to the priesthood and religious life. This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!

Dear friends, I express once more my joy at celebrating this Mass with you. I am happy to assure you of my prayers in the ancient language of your country: Sìth agus beannachd Dhe dhuibh uile; Dia bhi timcheall oirbh; agus gum beannaicheadh Dia Alba. God’s peace and blessing to you all; God surround you; and may God bless the people of Scotland!

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29 Responses to Benedict XVI’s sermon at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow

  1. Geoffrey says:

    Beautiful homily! Laudetur Iesus Christus!

  2. Swineherd says:

    “The evangelization of culture” — far reaching words in view of the new dicastery.

    Fantastic.

  3. Daniel_Nekic says:

    I very much liked this homily. I especially liked “As they are alter Christus to the Catholic community, so you are to them” and his address to the young Scots.

  4. Jim of Bowie says:

    Beautiful homily. Beautiful and reverent mass. Liked the Gloria setting by Macmillan.

  5. Hieronymus says:

    [I hope the British Humanist Ass. is taking notes.] – Fr. Zuhlsdorf

    Which one, Father? I can think of so many . . .

  6. Peggy R says:

    Wonderful!

    When I read the para in which the Holy Father says that there are those who think religious belief should be private and is a threat to equality and liberty, I could only think of the horrific story in which 2 children raised by their (not very old) grandparents were forced to be adopted out to a gay couple over theirs and the mother’s objections. [Mom was messed up addict.] I think that’s a story from Scotland. There are also numerous stories of British Christians not being eligible to be foster or adoptive parents if they’re not open to homosexuality. Then of course the closing of Christian and Catholic adoption agencies that won’t comply with gay adoption mandates.

    For the sake of the children, I pray that these countries return to their Christian heritage.

  7. Geoffrey says:

    From ‘The Catholic Herald': “Police say 100,000 people have turned out to see the Pope in Edinburgh. Sky News estimates there are 60 protesters.” Ha!

  8. doanli says:

    May God bless our Holy Father abundantly and may our Mother Mary protect him!

  9. doanli says:

    “[I hope the British Humanist Ass. is taking notes.] – Fr. Zuhlsdorf”

    *snicker*, Father.

  10. MJ says:

    “There are many temptations placed before you every day – drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol – which the world [and the British Humanist Ass.] tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive.”

    Love your inserted comment, Fr. Z!

  11. Magpie says:

    Wonderful stuff. I was very impressed with the Holy father’s homily and the music. I must say that the BBC coverage and commentary has been very respectful and professional, particularly that provided by Sally Magnusson. Credit where credit is due!

  12. irishgirl says:

    Wonderful Mass-and a homily of the Holy Father that was shot right across the bow of the secularist agenda! Great stuff!

    And I like your inserted comments about the ‘British Humanist Ass.’! Bravo, Father Z!

    The music was pretty good too.

  13. doanli says:

    I would love to know the name of that beautiful hymn that was sung at the Offertory. I’ve never heard it before. :)

  14. Bryan says:

    May he reign for many more years.

    The more I read and hear the works of the Holy Father, the more in awe I am of his gentle yet absolutely resolute teaching, graciously delivered, but with a punch that leaves you breathless.

    May Michael the Archangel and his armies protect him from harm.

  15. Re: Offertory song —

    That’s called “Celtic Invocation” in the Magnificat program. Words by Canon J. Fennelly, music by Noel Donnelly (plus verse 4). It’s a translation of one of the many Irish and Scottish “lorica” poems.

  16. Randii says:

    ‘The Catholic Herald’: “Police say 100,000 people have turned out to see the Pope in Edinburgh. Sky News estimates there are 60 protesters.” Ha!

    This aligns with what Remnant said in their article – that attendance would be disappointing. That the English are basically secular and don’t care. Not even it seems enough to protest if the 60 protesters figure is corect. Lukewarm is what it’s called in Scripture.

    As Remnant commented the various events are projected to draw 85,000 to 100,000 people. They compared these projected numbers with World Youth Day 2002 where in a country with half the population of England 800,000 came to the outdoor Mass at Downsview. The Remnant points out that the 800,000 turnout in 2002 was considered a disappointment.

    The British are essentially a secular a-religious people now as this visit seems to demonstrating..

  17. Oh, and you can download the Magnificat program book here, which covers the whole of the Pope’s visit in Scotland and England. It’s a several hundred page PDF, just so you’re warned.

    “Celtic Invocation” is on pp 116 and 117. :)

  18. thereseb says:

    As a Scot, I can only admire the Pope’s discriminating and scholarly take on Scottish history. It is very different from the grovelling apologetic appeasement which betrays the Scottish Reformation martyrs in the name of false ecumenism.

    “This year marks the 450th anniversary of the Reformation Parliament, but also the 100th anniversary of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh.” Note the use of “but” – not “and”. My interpretation – read as first – bad; second, good.

    “the three medieval universities founded here by the popes, including that of Saint Andrews which is beginning to mark the 600th anniversary…” My interpretation: We were here first. (I can’t begin to explain how annoying this reminder will be to the bigots who see 1560 as Year 0.

    “May the example of Saint John Ogilvie…” hmm. Fancy – while Scotland is “celebrating” 450 years of “reform” – the Pope mentions someone tortured, hung, and disembowelled alive by the bigots of the Scottish Reformation. Not something that resounds entirely to the credit of the “Reformed” faith, and something that reminds us that though we work together as Christians, we are not all part of an undistinguishable lowest-common-multi-denominated church-lite.

  19. joecct77 says:

    In his exhortation to the Scottish youth, I was reminded of the opening of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar:

    “To God who give joy to my youth..”

    Too often the teachers of today’s youth have forgotten that phrase.

  20. thereseb says:

    Not much joy in the puerile and tendentious 60s polyesterfest at St Mary’s tomorrow. See P154-5 of the booklet. It looks as if it was designed by Father Noel Furlong to bore the St Lukes Youth Group to death on a caravanning holiday in Craggy Island.

    “A variety of songs and symbolic actions follow which express the rich diversity of traditions and dimensions of education…..etc blah blah.

    A “Litany of Commitment” follows.

    I hope someone brought two doctors, the necessary paperwork and a straitjacket.

  21. pelerin says:

    thereseb -ROFL as I believe the phrase is! Love the term polyesterfest too. Shall be giving this one a miss as shall be in London with a friend looking for an appropriate spot to stand to help ‘line the streets.’ Saturday – Hyde Park! A great weekend in store.

  22. Flambeaux says:

    Randii,

    From what I read over the last few days, both the British government and the respective Episcopal Conferences (Scotland on the one hand, England & Wales on the other) worked very hard to ensure poor turnout by making what should have been a relatively simple process into a bureaucratic nightmare.

    So I’m not seeing “indifference” or worse in the turnout numbers. I’m seeing “best we could expect in the face of a hostile regional bishop’s conference).

  23. doanli says:

    Thank you good people for giving me the name of that angelic piece of music. :)

  24. lizfromFL says:

    “Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God.”
    Absolutely beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes as my husband watches Jersey Shore in the other room. :((

    This was absolutely perfect; extremely moving.

  25. Dave N. says:

    Beautiful! A nice review.

    And a prayer to the “heather priests” of Western Scotland who said Mass in secret after the Reformation–many of whom were persecuted or even martyred for their faith.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6718376.ece

  26. Andy Lucy says:

    I wish that I could be there to “line the rails” with you lot. Unfortunately, I’m stuck here on this side of the pond.

  27. kbf says:

    Actually Fr, I think you may have missed one of the most pertinent points of the HF’s sermon, right at the end he said:

    “This is the challenge the Lord gives to you today: the Church now belongs to you!”

    I take that to mean the church does not belong to the polyester vestment clad “liturgical animators” in the Sprit of Vatican 2, at least not now he has given true freedom to the church to find its own level in terms of the mass. The fact that the HF is taking a personal lead in these matters suggests that statement is loaded with meaning.

  28. Craigmaddie says:

    I note with great satisfaction how Pope John Paul’s call to you to walk hand in hand with your fellow Christians has led to greater trust and friendship with the members of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others. Let me encourage you to continue to pray and work with them in building a brighter future for Scotland based upon our common Christian heritage. In today’s first reading we heard Saint Paul appeal to the Romans to acknowledge that, as members of Christ’s body, we belong to each other (cf. Rom 12:5) and to live in respect and mutual love. In that spirit I greet the ecumenical representatives who honour us by their presence. This year marks the 450th anniversary of the Reformation Parliament, but also the 100th anniversary of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh, which is widely acknowledged to mark the birth of the modern ecumenical movement. Let us give thanks to God for the promise which ecumenical understanding and cooperation represent.

    Watching the Mass on TV I was disappointed by this statement by the Pope. Why, then, should any young person choose to remain Catholic when the implication here is that other churches are equally paths to salvation? Why face the opprobrium of modern society as a Catholic when one can be much more acceptable to moderns as an Episcopalian or a Presbyterian? What need for the Sacraments when other ecclesial communities can get along perfectly well without them? Or do only Catholics need the Sacrament of Confession for the forgiveness of grave sins? Do only Catholics commit grave sins that need to be forgiven in Confession?

    Why celebrate the anniversary of the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh which had as its goal the creation of a ‘super-church’ in which all differences of belief would be sacrificed to a nebulous unity?

    A brighter future for Scotland – or for the world – cannot be built upon the idea of a “common Christian heritage”. We have seen the results of that over the last 40 years: compromise and the downplaying of the dogmas of the Catholic Church. A house cannot be built upon sand and last.

  29. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    A phrase that jumped out at me was “the mission of herald to which they have been called” (in the fourth-last paragraph). Is this a common expression in referring to priests? If so, I never noticed it before(!). But here it rang the bell of ‘kerux’ in 2 Peter 2:5 (and by implication v. 7): called to by like Noah when the world was that far gone, called to be like Lot when the Cities of the Plain were that far gone (see vv. 7 ff.).

    What a wonderful answer to the kerux-call not only this sermon but also the Holyrood address were: long may he so continue, and “members of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others” hear the call and receive the courage to do likewise (in whatever places and degrees)!