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Monday, 3 September 2012

SNP Cabinet Minister - "Well they've done it in Portugal and the sky's not fallen in"

Last Friday, the Scottish Cabinet held a public meeting  in Kirkwall, Orkney. The meeting was chaired by the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in the absence of the First Minister Alex Salmond, and had been arranged by the Scottish SNP government,  to  give  members of the public an opportunity to put  any questions they wished. 

 I was impressed with both the  meeting itself, and the fact that members of the public were able to speak personally with Ministers after the meeting had ended.

My  reason for attending was to voice opposition to the ‘same-sex marriage’ legislation, which the  government  plans to bulldoze onto the statute books, in spite of strong and widespread  opposition from the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, many Evangelical and Protestant Churches, many in the Church of Scotland , and tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of individuals of other faiths or none.

The meeting , which lasted from 12.30p.m. to 2 p.m., was scrupulously fair in that  open questions were invited  from any person present. I was able to raise  a question concerning mis-representation by the SNP government concerning the percentage of Scottish residents opposed to ‘same-sex ‘  marriage as revealed by the numbers who actively voiced their opposition in writing and by ‘petition’  to the government; and the fact that these  views had been   ignored and over-ruled by the SNP government  in spite of earlier  assurances that this would not happen.  Another question was put by a lady teacher who raised the question of future criminal liability, if in her capacity as a teacher, she refused to teach children about same-sex marriage.

Nicola  Sturgeon replied to both my question and that of the teacher, or rather I should say that she appeared to reply but what she said was not the answer to my question, it was rather the same official line that the SNP politicians have been posting all the time, namely that fairness and equality to everyone would be enshrined in the proposed legislation, and the government would ensure that religious organisations would not be under any threat to act against their faith/conscience in any way!

Once the Minister had replied to a question it was not possible to put any further questions, so the final word was always with them! 
A young man in the audience demanded that  the government  take appropriate action  to protect young people of homosexual inclination, whom he alleged, were continually bullied and threatened , particularly in faith schools,  making their lives a misery! He spoke  loudly, aggressively, and accusingly,  which I suspect did not endear him  to the Cabinet.  He received noticeably short thrift from the appropriate Minister, being reminded that there was already adequate legislation in place to protect minority groups, and the Minister made a point of endorsing the high standards set by Roman Catholic schools in Scotland to protect all their students against bullying and hate crime.
After the meeting we were fortunate to be able  to talk briefly to Fiona Hyslop,  Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs,  also to the Deputy First Minister,  Nicola Sturgeon. 

Both were charming as one would expect from eminent politicians, and both seemed happy to listen.  The answer I received from Fiona Hyslop deserves to be saved for posterity, and rather sums up the mind-set of  politicians who refuse to face reality,  shutting their minds to the serious implications  of legalising so-called 'same-sex marriage'.  
Fiona’s reply was simply, “Well they’ve done it in Portugal , and the sky’s not fallen in!”
I must admit that this reply took me by surprise, and my undoubtedly feeble riposte was not  in the same league! 

I then had a brief opportunity to speak to  Nicola Sturgeon, repeating  my fears  regarding the proposed legislation and emphasising that I was but one of a huge number  of people holding these views.  Again the Minister reeled off the party line, viz. protecting religious freedom, need for full equality, etc. etc.
My friend Michelle who also attended the meeting, was able to make  some telling  points to both Fiona Hyslop and Nicola  Sturgeon , and I strongly recommend her excellent post:-  please read it, she writes from the heart!  

We have it from good authority viz. the Christian Institute,  that the battle against ‘same-sex marriage' legislation can be won. There are many potential pitfalls for this proposed legislation, and for God's sake and for the sake of the dignity and humanity of mankind, made in God's image, the fight must go on.
Grateful thanks to Cardinal O’Brien for his leadership, courage, and unequivocal condemnation of this proposed legislation. The Catholics of Scotland respect this outspoken Shepherd, as I’m sure do many others of different faiths and none. As the Cardinal said in his recent letter to Catholic churches, it is necessary to speak out loudly,  clearly,  and fearlessly against this evil legislation. 
We know that with  God’s help  all things are possible, without it we can do nothing.

Since the ‘Canonical Erection’ of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (F.SS.R) community on the 15th August by  the Bishop of Aberdeen, it has been a pretty busy last two weeks here in Stronsay.

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, His Lordship Dom Hugh Gilbert OSB  Bishop of Aberdeen, accompanied by Very Rev Dom Benedict Hardy  OSB , Prior of Pluscarden Abbey, and Very Rev  Cuthbert Madden OSB, Abbot of Ampleforth Abbey, stayed  at Golgotha Monastery, Papa Stronsay, the home of the F.SS.R , during the week of the 20th August.  On the 22nd  Bishop  Hugh  officiated at the 'Public Profession of Vows' by Fr Michael Mary  (Superior ) ,Fr Anthony Mary (Rector),  Br Yusef Marie , Br Jean Marie , Br Magdala Maria, Br Martin Mary, Br Nicodemus Mary,  and Br Gerardo Marie . 

Absent  were Br Paul Mary , Br Dominic Mary , Br Xavier Marie, all  currently in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Br Alfonso Maria  in the Phillipines. 
The occasion as befitted such a joyous and historic  event, was  one of solemn splendour, after all it is several hundred years since a new religious order of monks was founded in Scotland .

The ceremony lasted about two hours after which the Bishop, priests, brothers and congregation , all retired to St Magnus house adjoining the Chapel, for  delicious  refreshments and a most convivial evening.
I must say how beautiful ‘Our Lady’s Chapel’ looked for this unique occasion. The altar top had been enlarged,thereby creating room for a beautiful new tabernacle to be put in place. This tabernacle, together with three magnificent statues, one of  the  Boy Jesus, one of St Anne and a young Our Lady, and one of St Joseph with the Child Jesus, had all been brought up to Stronsay a few days earlier by Fr Anthony, Brothers Yusef Marie  and Jean Marie,  from the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, where the monks lived prior to moving to Papa Stronsay. 

In Our Lady’s Chapel, a throne had been erected for the Bishop which would not have looked too out of place in a Cathedral, and the whole chapel was filled with flowers. It  looked truly magnificent!  There are some excellent photos of the occasion on the Transalpine Redemptorists blog-site ........

                      Our Lady's Chapel, Stronsay.


On the Saturday 25th August in the evening, we had the annual bonfire on Papa Stronsay to which all the residents of Stronsay were invited. 

Happily the weather was kind, being dry and mild, with just a slight breeze, the bonfire was awe-inspiring, as usual, and the superb barbecue and generous selection of tasty  food and drink was  more than adequate.  The bonfire was lit by Brother Seelos who celebrated his 21st birthday that same week, and the occasion was a rare opportunity for many to meet and chat with the Fathers and Brothers of the Community.

We took the opportunity to visit their splendid greenhouse with its impressive display of nectarines, apples, grapes, strawberries, and other fruit and vegetables, and which included  two massive pumpkins, the pride and joy of Brother Jean Marie!

We were also shown the brand new  chicken-house, a luxury  home for the 'monastic' chickens, built very recently by the monks,  and I can truly say it is the most impressive chicken-house that I have ever seen! Solidly constructed of concrete blocks and wood, strengthened with metal sections, it is divided into three main compartments, dry and weather-proof, with access to an area of fenced open ground which itself will be opened-up for the chickens to roam free-range once they have become fully settled in their new home. The whole building was spotlessly clean with fresh greenery covering the floors. The chickens looked eminently comfortable and at home on their various roosting bars, and the whole place was  so  clean, dry, and sweet-smelling, that  I would have been quite content to sleep there if adverse weather conditions  had suddenly struck, preventing our return by boat to Stronsay! 
By the way, do look (and listen) at the blog-site of the Traditional Redemptorists for a  ‘mind-blowing’  version of the bonfire spectacle  ---  superb!!
Weather-wise, we on Stronsay might not have had a very good summer, but event wise it has been truly memorable, with innumerable graces and blessings from Almighty God.
May Our Lady of Aberdeen guide and protect the 'Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer' (F.SS.R) community, and may She cast Her protective mantle  over our Bishop and all priests. religious, and  faithful in our Diocese.


                Diocese of Aberdeen - Coat of Arms

        God bless our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. 


Michelle Therese said...

You have two blogs! I didn't know this! What a good find :-)

umblepie said...

Thanks Michelle,stops me getting lazy! Kind regards.