Newsletter : Newsletter25Feb18.doc








 Subject: Meeting with the Archbishop position paper and collated notes from the meeting
Reply-To: John Cudlipp via Campaigns by You <>

Dear Friends, 

In August lay people were surprised and angered by the closure of key diocesan assets without warning, lay employees losing their livelihoods and the dismantling of successful pastoral resources. There was almost total silence at parish level about these major reforms. No pastoral letter was issued, despite the fact that every aspect of our faith lives would be affected. Against that backdrop six hundred and sixty people signed a petition protesting the reform.

On Thursday 25th January four representatives of those who signed the petition met with the Archbishop. The meeting’s agenda was severely restricted by Archbishop Cushley to the reform of the Curia. He would not engage on our financial concerns, the closure of the Gillis Centre or of Cafe Camino.

We had no choice but to accept those terms or the meeting would not have taken place at all. Priests who had asked for similar dialogue were told the matter was closed. The Archbishop also determined the date, which was much later than hoped for.

The half hour the Archbishop originally offered for the meeting was extended to an hour and ten minutes during which time he listened and revealed some of his thinking.

We thank the Archbishop for the meeting, and we hope he accepts our request to continue to dialogue. We have many ongoing and serious concerns.

Please share our notes of the meeting widely. We will post our response to the meeting, highlighting concerns, as soon as possible.

The Archbishop has also been invited to send a written response to our position paper which is attached.

We invite you to respond too. Please post your thoughts and reactions or message privately.

The Archbishop is on the verge of dismantling parishes in the diocese without giving any response at all to the cluster reports. He will soon meet with the council of priests then then the axe will fall. The Laity have a responsibility to ask him to respond to the reports first before taking action. This is another example of no collaboration with the Laity.

Meeting with Archbishop Cushley 25 January 2018
Summary of Areas for Dialogue

The Church is always in transition. That sense of transition certainly characterises our Archdiocese at present. Our hope for this paper and the associated meeting with Archbishop Cushley is that we might contribute to this transition being fruitful.

In the Archdiocese the interpretation of recent changes made by the Archbishop and others in authority has generated tension to the point that a petition seeking dialogue gathered more than six hundred signatures. This paper has been written by members of that group, following a number of gatherings, in order to inform that dialogue which will take place at the meeting hosted by the Archbishop on 25 January.

Three events led to the creation of the petition – closure of hospitality at Gillis, the reorganisation of Pastoral Resources and the closure of Cafe Camino. These events led to a sense of injustice, a need to honour those who had lost their livelihoods, and a sense of loss around the outgoing pastoral agencies. We concluded that our Archbishop should to be told of the impact of these changes.

In this paper we present a summary of our reflections, and of our concerns for the future. We focus on the reform of the curia. Longer papers have been written which explain our understanding and concerns around these issues and these will be sent to the Archbishop. All these documents, and the responses from the Archbishop, will in due course be published.

In our experience, the reform of the Curia has been neither communicated to the people nor explained to them, so that the vast majority of them are unaware that the reform has taken place. This is in spite of the effect that it will have on the life of the Archdiocese. Those who are aware of the changes, but lack any explanation, may interpret them in ways that are unintended. This situation might possibly lead to a loss of mutual trust.

Would the Archbishop please explain the rationale that is behind this lack of communication?

The changes have been made in a manner that is in notable contrast to the consultative initiative Now Is the Favourable Time, aspects of which have now been substantially dismantled. The Archbishop’s model for change seems to be one of imposition, rather than consultation.

Individual lay people writing to the Archbishop, both in response to these events and more generally, often receive no meaningful reply; consequently, the now usual cursory acknowledgement leads people to ask:

Is correspondence to the Archbishop reaching him?

These considerations have led us to look at the role of the laity, and its perception by the Archbishop, in the next part of this paper. 

Role of Lay People

Before Vatican II the role of lay people in the Church was characterised by passivity, rather than by the maturity and responsibility called for by their baptism. Since the Council, with its ecclesiology of the People of God, we value our baptismal vocation. We understand our rights and responsibilities as lay people to participate in the governance of the Archdiocese.
A pastoral letter from the Archbishop outlining the importance, source and scope of the apostolate of the laity would go a great way towards healing the current strains. Such a letter would also help to form lay people further in their vocation.
Would Archbishop Cushley be willing to issue such a letter?
The reform of the Curia appears to suggest a narrow view of the role of lay people in the Church.
How does the Archbishop reconcile that apparent view with the teaching of Vatican II and with solemn statements issued since then, such as Christifideles Laici and Evangelii Gaudium, and with the current pressures on the priests of the Archdiocese?
We will be offering, in associated papers, ideas for facilitating the appropriate involvement of lay people in discernment, in ministries and in reading and responding to the signs of the times. On no account are we seeking lay leadership which would replace priestly leadership. Rather we are answering Vatican II’s call for lay people to contribute cohesively, together with the clergy, to building up the Church’s inner and outward life.

We are concerned that only a few lay voices will be heard through the reformed Curia’s Commissions and Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. Moreover, at present there are no mechanisms at any level in the Archdiocese through which ideas such as we are proposing, and the concerns of lay people, can be raised and discussed by lay people and clergy together.

Will the Archbishop create structures for collaboration between clergy and laity?

In particular, will the Archbishop initiate Archdiocesan synods?

We further propose that a structure should be set up for Scotland as a whole to provide for collaboration with clergy and laity.

Pastoral Outreach
We are concerned by the abrupt decision to dismantle the Pastoral Resources Centre. That decision brought into focus many of the concerns explained above. We believe that the Centre was successful in forming, training and empowering individual lay people in their mission. It also encouraged and enabled them to disseminate new knowledge and understanding in their parishes.

The loss of the Centre will adversely affect the apostolate of the laity in the Archdiocese, and will add further to the burdens on priests as described below.

Loss of central provision and support The Pastoral Resources Centre provided for formation and training of lay people. This included discussion and sharing of ideas between the Centre and parishes, the provision of resources, and accessible full time support for those in lay ministry across the Archdiocese.

How will these needs of the laity be met, now that this responsibility has been transferred to priests who already have a full-time ministry, often with further commitments?

In future how will professional expertise, equivalent to what was formerly given by the Centre, be provided across the Archdiocese to lay ministers and to those receiving their ministry?

Effectiveness of the new structure: The introduction of a team of Vicars Episcopal, each with a Commission, has reverted to a previous model. When tried in the past this model struggled, despite higher numbers of clergy and laity and better financial resources.

How can lessons be learned from the past? How will the new structure be evaluated and the evaluation shared?

Effect on the centrality of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation: Catholic Social Teaching was consistently promoted by the outgoing Pastoral Agencies. Nevertheless, our response to the refugee crisis has been poor. We have two concerns. Firstly, we welcome a Vicar Episcopal for this role but we have concerns about what level of support he will receive. Secondly, and more fundamentally, the structure might indicate that JPIC are but one domain of activity among others.

In the model proposed, what support can we now expect for this Commission?

Is JPIC a driving force at the heart of the new structure? Do financial and expenditure decisions reflect this?

Effect on Youth: The outgoing Pastoral Agencies used an inter-relational model for Youth Ministry with a focus on Catholic Social Teaching. It aimed to build community and mutual support between youth leaders and between young people across the Archdiocese. It encouraged leadership by young people at all levels.

Given the importance of our young people for the present and future of the Church, why does the reformed Curia not include the appointment of a Vicar Episcopal for Youth Ministry?

Instead of such an appointment, it would appear that the new Youth Initiative, composed of priests, has taken on that role, guided by the influence of the Faith Movement and with a focus on catechetics.

How will a balance be achieved between teaching about the Faith on the one hand, and inter-relational spiritual growth with an active concern for the disadvantaged on the other?

Archdiocesan Vision and Direction
We are concerned by the imposition on the Archdiocese of the vision of one small, seemingly exclusive, group, the Faith Movement. The appointment of a Vicar Episcopal for Catechetics who is a member of the Faith Movement corroborates growing concern that the Movement has a disproportionate access to and influence over the Archbishop, concentrating power in a small number of clergy.

Will the Archbishop explain the role of the Faith Movement in the Archdiocese?

Will he moderate what is perceived as a disproportionate influence of the Faith Movement within the Archdiocesan administration?


As concerned, faithful, active Catholics, we desire unity, so necessary to the common good of our Archdiocese and to our mission and the development of our lay apostolate. We understand that the Archbishop had his reasons for making the choices he did, but we nonetheless look to him to make them clear. They have contributed to a sense of confusion. This paper is offered in the hope that both causes and symptoms of the current unease in the Archdiocese be named and addressed. They will naturally worsen if not treated. We believe that these difficulties would be greatly eased by ongoing communication and dialogue which we now seek. To this end, we invite the Archbishop to respond in writing to our concerns.

We intend to publish our reflections with any response from the Archbishop, in the hope that they will contribute to future progress.

Edinburgh 25th January 2018

Notes of Meeting with Archbishop Leo Cushley
at the Archdiocesan Offices on 25th January 2018 at 5.30 p.m.- 6.40pm

The meeting was attended by Archbishop Cushley, Vicar General Mgr Allan T. Chambers, Chief Operating Officer Mrs Elsepth Atkinson
and also by Mr John Cudlipp, Mr Dan Cronin, Mrs Anne Havard, Mrs Monica Thompson


The Archbishop was thanked for his willingness to meet with representatives, who were
concerned lay people who wish to contribute to the future of the Archdiocese. We welcomed what we hope was the first of many opportunities in a spirit of unity, transparency and peace, and hoped that the Archbishop was of a similar mind.

Reference was made to growing concern regarding the recent changes and the online petition which galvanised feeling throughout the Archdiocese. Consideration was shown as to how this may have affected the Archbishop. However the intention of the representatives was to work with the Archbishop using their talents and skills as lay people in the life of the local church.


In the middle of the last century the church was a fortress - a bulwark against communism and the dangers of the outside world. Inside the fortress the laity were safe, with the help of the sacraments, provided they observed the rules set by the clergy and religious. Put crudely we prayed, paid and obeyed. The limitations of this narrow interpretation of Christianity gradually became apparent, but it was only with Vatican II that the vision of a pilgrim church emerged, one in which the people of God collaborated and went forward together and engaged with the world.

Communication and Change
It was put to the Archbishop that the curial reform model favoured by him seems to many in the Archdiocese to be one of imposition, not of consultation. It was suggested the changes were poorly communicated to the wider laity, and that this lack of explanation or rationale for his decisions had fuelled a deepening sense of mistrust.
The Archbishop was asked if this was a false perception. The Archbishop replied by referring to the personnel issues involved which had constrained communication. Acknowledging the need for confidentiality on those Human Resources matters, he was asked to consider the need to articulate his vision for the future more clearly to the lay faithful. It was put forward that a clearer vision which inspired laity and clergy to build together would go some way to allay this sense of mistrust.
The Archbishop said he would think about that and went on to suggest the Archdiocesan directory be consulted as it now outlined the new curial structures. Representatives responded that the directory was perhaps neither available nor readily accessible to most parishioners in the pews.
The Archbishop then went on to describe the new structures, the provenance of the model and that it favoured the principle of subsidiarity by delegating out to deaneries and parishes. He said repeatedly that he favoured a ‘hands off approach’, that he wanted a ‘Vatican II Church’ and that he supported ‘collaboration between the laity and clergy’. However when pressed to identify what mechanisms the new structure would have to strengthen effective communication and collaboration with the lay faithful particularly, the Archbishop was non-committal.
Representatives shared that many parishioners had written to him on a number of matters over the past two years and have felt ignored and often rebuffed by cursory one-line acknowledgements. Effective communication involves an element of respectful reciprocity. The Archbishop responded that he welcomed parishioners writing to him, stated he has sight of all correspondence but that the burden of correspondence precluded replies.
The removal of the Renewal of Curia post on the Archdiocesan website was highlighted and the Archbishop asked for the thinking behind that decision. He responded that this was a decision by the Director of Communication due to a perceived ‘lack of traffic’ and could be reinstated if there was a demand for it.
The Archbishop said that, following the changes in the curia, he must give attention to the Archdiocese’s financial problems arising from the falling population and falling income, with the as yet unchanged number of parishes, churches and other buildings. In response, he was urged to take his people into his confidence about these matters. It was suggested that he write to them, first to explain the reasons for the curial reform and, second, to explain the financial difficulties. They are of as much concern to the people as to the Archdiocese. The Archbishop should ask for his people’s help and advice so that all that might work to finding solutions.

The role of the laity.

The Archbishop was asked how he saw the role of the laity in the church fifty years on from Vatican II. He replied that he certainly wanted a Vatican II church, not a clerical fortress, and repeated this several times. He pointed to various contributions made by lay people and said that the laity would have a role in the new structures he was setting up.

The new structure involved replacing competent lay people with clerics. It was suggested that could give the impression lay people were not valued. A pastoral letter setting out his vision of the role of the laity would go some way towards explaining his viewpoint. Would the Archbishop consider sending out such a letter?

The Archbishop said that he would consider doing that. He went on to say that when he arrived in the Archdiocese he perceived an imbalance between the clergy and the laity which he had now sought to redress. He thought that it was incumbent on the pastors of the church to be responsible for the various ministries which had become the preserve of lay people in the Archdiocese, and that he could not allow the pastors to shirk their responsibility. He acknowledged the extra burden this would place on priests who were already had very heavy commitments, but said they would have the help of lay people. He also acknowledged that the change might cause some difficulties, and possibly not work, but in that case another model would be tried. He had in mind a trial period of two years.

It was pointed out that the structure he was implementing had already been tried some years ago, when the Church locally had better resources and was in a healthier position than at present. Even then it had struggled. The lay people who had been in role until recently were highly competent.

The Archbishop said that the priests were not incompetent. We had to accept that it was a hierarchical church.


Pastoral Outreach
The Archbishop was asked about the overly clerical model with five Vicars Episcopal and selected lay volunteers replacing the professional Pastoral Agencies Team. How did he feel that this approach would effectively engage and empower lay people across the diocese?
The Archbishop indicated that the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council would be the mechanism for ‘getting things going’. When urged to elaborate, he admitted that it would be ‘messy’ and ‘things may go wrong’, but nevertheless he was keen to adopt this approach.
It was observed that the Faith Movement may have an undue influence across the Archdiocese. The Archbishop was asked if, by appointing priests to key posts in his administration who had a long association with the Faith Movement, he was effectively endorsing it. He replied that he ‘found’ this movement in the diocese when he arrived here and felt that there is ‘nothing untoward’ in it. He went on to say that he met Patrick Burke while in Rome, was introduced to this movement through him and asked that Patrick Burke return with him from Rome as he knew the diocese. He went on to indicate that priests in the Faith Movement were not in prominent positions in previous administrations and he felt this was an opportunity for him to give them prominent roles. He went on to comment that he was not concerned about the perceived secrecy of this closed organization or about its age-group restricted meetings; that it had a lively website and that he had been invited and attended some of its meetings.
The dialogue then moved to discuss youth ministry, catechesis and the Faith Movement. The Archbishop indicated that when he called a meeting of 50 or so lay youth workers, no-one turned up and this, together with the reluctance of some priests to engage with young people he decided to lead this ministry by way of the new Youth Initiative. He went on to observe that in his experience young people were orthodox, tended to be conservative and inquisitive about Catholic doctrine and that the Faith Movement may therefore appeal to some.
When asked about the role of the pastor, especially with regard to marriage and family life, did he not feel married people were better placed to lead on this important ministry?
The Archbishop acknowledged that lay people had a role, but the sanctity and sacramental dimensions of marriage had to be upheld and so the primacy of the priest ‘s role must not be abrogated.

A paper outlining these and other areas of dialogue was left with the Archbishop.
He was asked if he would respond in writing to the outstanding issues in the paper to which he agreed. The Archbishop was cordially thanked for his time and willingness to dialogue and asked if he would engage in further such opportunities. He replied that he would consider this proposal. for updates


John Cudlipp





Primary 3 First Reconciliation (Confession) will take place in St Martin’s on the 13th March 2018 at 7pm and St Gabriel’s on the 14 March 2018 at 7pm. 

Primary 4 First Holy Communions will take place in both parishes on the 3rd June 2018 – St Martin’s at 9.30am Mass and St Gabriel’s 11.30am Mass.                         



Please give plenty of notice for the
                             Celebration of Marriage  -- 6 months usually.
                             Baptism -- 3 months.


Do you recognise any of these situations?

1.         Husband and wife come to Mass. One of them is not Catholic, but would like to share in our Faith and become Catholic. Is this you?

2.         Do you know of an adult or are you that adult who would like to take the first step to become a Christian Catholic, but you are not quite sure how to find out more?

3.         Are you a baptised Christian and now want to share in the other Sacraments of our Faith?

4.         You may be a baptised Catholic, but over the years, have drifted from the church. You may now have a desire (that little voice that speaks to us in our hearts) urging you to return and be refreshed.

5.         Your friend may be a Catholic and you admire him/her for what their Faith means to them. You often think, I would like to be like him/her. If so, do something about it. It is never too late.

Whichever of these or a similar situation, you need to contact us soon. Call Father Jim on 01875 610232, speak to a member of the RCIA, or e-mail Father Jim at







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