When we were preparing to celebrate the great jubilee of the birth of Jesus Christ some five years ago the late and much loved, Pope John Paul II asked us to consider our own various jubilees. I'm reminded of some of the great teachings of the Second Vatican Council, produced over 40 years ago the statements made at that time formed the basis for many changes and new developments in the Church. The establishment of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund and our Justice & Peace Commission at that time came from a new concern for social justice, human rights, peace, development and the integrity of creation. The strength of the Catholic Church's commitment to interfaith dialogue is one that is increasingly recognized in our own country with our Church being a member of the Scottish Interfaith Council. I see this, and other movements throughout the world, as a key to peace in our troubled times. Of these faiths, the Second Vatican Council stated; "The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions". As the year ends and we inevitably assess our priorities for the future, I believe; the Church must continue to have a concern for all peoples in the world, especially the poor, the Church must reach out to those of other faiths, the Church must cherish the Word of God in Sacred Scripture, aware that God still speaks to us, we must also remember that our sharing in the Liturgy of the Church nourishes our Christian way of life. Consequently, let us consider just where we are in our own journey this Christmas and let us hear and respond to the personal call that goes out to us from God. May God indeed bless you all and all of your families at this Christmas time. + Keith Patrick Cardinal O'Brien Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh
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