Following the news that there have been 28 new outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in Scotland, yesterday the Roman Catholic Bishops of Scotland asked each of the 500 parishes across the country to hold special services for farms. Meanwhile Bishop Peter Smith of East Anglia, chair of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales department of social responsibility and citizenship issued a statement recently expressing solidarity felt by Catholics for the farming community affected by the epidemic. He said: "There is growing anxiety over the foot and mouth outbreak which increasingly affects more and more people here in our own country and also in continental Europe. There is a real fear of ruin in many farming families and those associated with that industry. I feel enormous sympathy for them, and I pray for them. "Lent is a time when we turn aside from selfishness and express our solidarity with those in difficulty and distress. Let those involved in the crisis, either directly or indirectly, be assured of the support and prayers throughout the country."