Archbishop Leo Cushley, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh delivered the Time For Reflection in the Scottish Parliament today, ahead of the feast of Scotland's Patron, Saint Andrew on Thursday.
Commenting on the legacy of St Andrew he said: "the university town, his name, and his flag, all remind us of something that's been here, doing a lot of good for a lot of people, for many centuries: and that is the civilizing influence of fair laws, of just courts, of a belief in objective truth, of standards of behaviour, of mutual respect, of helping others who need a hand."
"No matter your beliefs, there are still one or two of these things that we can all agree are worth holding on to."
Commenting on Archbishop Cushley's reflection, Anthony Horan, Director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office said: "As we approach the feast of St Andrew it is fitting that Archbishop Cushley be invited to deliver the Time for Reflection. It is important that as a society we honour our saints and there is no doubt that St Andrew has a special place in Scottish hearts.
"I am personally delighted to see our Catholic bishops in the Scottish Parliament and I am extremely grateful to the Presiding Officer and his team for their warm welcome and kind hospitality. It is also a fitting opportunity to thank all those politicians who work for the common good of our society, particularly our Catholic MSPs who commit themselves to loving service in an increasingly testing environment."
The full text of Archbishop Cushley's Time for Reflection follows:
Time for Reflection by Archbishop Leo Cushley
As we all know, 30 November, just around the corner, is St Andrew's Day. It's our national day, just as the English choose to celebrate St George, the Irish St Patrick and the Welsh St David. The Welsh found a local lad to celebrate as their national patron; the English have an Armenian soldier, popular among the Crusaders of the high middle ages; the Irish chose a Briton, maybe even from what is now Scotland; and the Scots have a Galilean fisherman.
Who got the best patron? Well, the English picked someone brave and chivalrous; the Welsh picked someone holy; the Irish picked someone fiery and outspoken; and we picked… a fisherman. Why a fisherman? Well, I have a theory, and it's nothing to do with smokies: so, get comfortable, because here it comes.
You see, the English used to have St Peter as their national patron, and he was the first Pope. At that time, the Scots had St Columba as their national patron; good local choice, but not quite up to competing with the first Pope; so, the Scots changed their national patron to St Andrew. Now, Andrew wasn't the first pope, but he was the first man to be called to follow Jesus. And in the middle ages, that counted for something…
Over a thousand years ago, his relics were brought to the town known now St Andrews, and the kings and people of this country built a cathedral in his honour there. I'm told that, for centuries, St Andrew's Cathedral was the largest building in the whole of Scotland, and pilgrims came from all over Europe to visit it.
Today, we're still proud of Andrew, but in a vague, distant way. Yet he, the university town, his name, and his flag, all remind us of something that's been here, doing a lot of good for a lot of people, for many centuries: and that is the civilizing influence of fair laws, of just courts, of a belief in objective truth, of standards of behaviour, of mutual respect, of helping others who need a hand. And that's probably the best thing about having Andrew as national patron: no matter your beliefs, there are still one or two of these things that we can all agree are worth holding on to and that are good for us all.
So, St Andrew, patron of all Scots, pray for us!
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