Saturday, 17 January 2015

Free Church Moderator Elect welcomes strong stance of Catholic "brothers and sisters"

The following letter was published in Hebrides-News at the end of 2014. It was written by Rev David Robertson rated one of the top 100 influential online Christians in the UK in Archbishop Cranmer's Top 100 list. 

The Jim Murphy Catholic-Secular Scotland story is one thing,  but what I found most significant was the Moderator Elect of the Free Church of Scotland no less, referring to "catholic brothers and sisters". I think it is probably the first time such an attitude to Catholicism was espoused in public by someone at this level in the Free Church of Scotland. I may be wrong.  But I give you said letter in full anyway. 


I was intrigued to read Alistair McBay's critique of myself and the Free Church.

Mr McBay belongs to the National Secular Society (not the Scottish Secular Society - the secularists are apparently worse than Presbyterians when it comes to forming different groups) which does conduct an aggressive, militant, fundamentalist campaign against all religions in general and Christianity in particular.

For the record I have never made a personal comment about Mr McBay, other than to question his loyalty to Dunfermline FC! 

I do however reserve the right to challenge the increasingly strident and intolerant attempts of the atheistic secularists who are seeking to impose their philosophy on the whole of Scottish society.

The recent spate by the Scottish Secular Society, a tiny Glasgow based pro-independence, pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia and anti-reglious group, in which they accused Jim Murphy (Leader of the Scottish Labour Party)  amongst other things of being a 'militant, Pope Benedict loving, Catholic fanatic' is sadly all too typical of the kind of bigotry and sectarianism which has blighted the Lowland West of Scotland in particular.

Mr McBay argues it is hypocritical for me to complain about this bigoted extremist language because of 'the Free Kirk's well-known attitudes to Catholicism.'

It would help his cause if, before he went in to print, he did so on the basis of fact and not gossip. It is not without significance that in the area where the Free Church is strongest, that covered by your newspaper, anti-Catholic sectarianism is virtually unknown.

The Free Church in fact, whilst we disagree with some very important aspects of Catholic theology, nonetheless welcome the strong stance taken by our Catholic brothers and sisters in support of traditional Christian values and morality.

I recall that in my first charge in Brora, the Catholic church was built in the Free Church manse glebe.  

We abhor any kind of sectarian bigotry and are somewhat disappointed that it is the Secular Societies who somehow seem to think that calling a politician a 'religious Catholic fanatic' is somehow acceptable in today’s Scotland.

David Robertson
St Peters Free Church
4 St Peter St 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Social Media Hypocricy

Pope Francis is absolutely correct to refer to the "terrorism of gossip".  It isn't the first time he has correctly highlighted the gravity of some of our social interaction which we too easily take for granted such as gossiping or judging our neighbour.

Our social interaction often anticipates a conversational style which is not far away from fitting both these descriptions. Too often it fits exactly. These days social media, whilst having its merits, is often the root cause of much of this "terrorism".

Some of our Catholic social media commentary isn't exactly edifying either. It can be down right nasty.

It has made me wonder what benefit these media actually have for me? I feel the best use I can have for them at the moment is to give them up and return to them during Lent as a penance! Although forty days of enforced using Facebook and Twitter again does seem a rather extreme!

Give me a cilice any day!

Time for a break, at least a revaluation.

(Apart from the fact I am going to have to share this post on Twitter.) 

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Bliadhna Mhath Ur!

A bit of a re-post this one.

A clip from the film Whisky Galore based on the book by Catholic convert  Sir Compton MacKenzie.
Not a jot of a link to any Hebridean Hogmanays or  New Years!


Bliadhna Mhath Ur! Happy New Year!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Pluscarden Abbey Retreat

“Profound the peace of Pluscarden
As if the pine-green closing hills
Shut in the grace
Of God and all his Holy Saints

The Lauds and Matins of the past,
In that calm place,
Still seem to linger on the air,

Half-hearted, half-dreamt, so wholly felt
There is no time,
The soul is raised above the now;
Beyond the the then. Eternity
Of Faith sublime
Outlasts all the moods of fate
And savage treacheries of man.
To rise again
Triumphant from defeated stone,
And draw within its sanctuary
All human pain.”

From the book Pluscarden Abbey

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Before I got up this morning the electricity in my home and indeed the whole of the Western Isles had gone off and I got up to candle light only. 

Thankfully, for the Office of Readings and Lauds, I almost always use a small battery operated reading light which clips to my breviary so there was no problem. Although Offices by candle light are nice and atmospheric I need the brighter lights as my main source to be comfortable.

As we had been advised not to travel I worked from home today (when the power was on and the internet was working). At least I got to admire the power of  the waves roaring into the bay in front of our home. 

The thunder and lightening added to the drama.

BBC News and Sky News are reporting on the storm, along with the fact that the North of England has 50mph winds. A mere breeze. As it has been here most of the day but as I say when it freshens up it is lively enough to be dramatic sometimes awesome.

Without being flippant about the dangers of extreme weather, days like these are as beautiful as any summer day. Nature is at its finest at both ends of the spectrum.  I can't help but think of the Psalmist telling us that the voice of the Lord thunders! (Psalm 28(29)) 

[2] Bring to the Lord glory and honour: bring to the Lord glory to his name: adore ye the Lord in his holy court.
[3] The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of majesty hath thundered, The Lord is upon many waters.
[4] The voice of the Lord is in power; the voice of the Lord in magnificence.

As the darkness comes in we will be left to rely on sounds of wind, rain and thunder to try and put together a picture of what is going on outside. This will add to the sense of awe and twinges of concern, yet safety and security in our homes, as it rages over our heads.

Tomorrow I expect I will awake to a normal day. At least it is forecast to be more normal. What a shame.