This past Sunday, the Catholic faithful in Scotland was called upon to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first ever papal visit to Scotland. Archbishop Conti of Glasgow seized upon the opportunity to deliver a heartfelt sermon to encourage the faithful of his diocese to defy the mounting trend of secularism in Scotland.
Conti gave the sermon at Carfin Grotto in Lanarkshire, Scotland on the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit in 1982. The message of Conti's sermon was very similar to the themes addressed in the talks given by John Paul II so many years ago.
The Herald quoted Conti's sermon, "At a distance of 25 years, we need to reflect on the Holy Father's words: In so many areas of life the most fundamental principles of our Christian life are not only questioned, but ridiculed and threatened with sanction. Individualism has come to predominate. The growth of the quest for individual rights has taken precedence over what is right."
Conti referred to abortion, euthanasia, same-sex unions and "repeated attacks on our Catholic schools, unjustly accusing them of fostering sectarianism" as some of the dangers that must be faced by the faithful in today's society.
According to The Herald, Conti reiterated many of the same warnings first given in John Paul II's 1982 sermons, "We find it harder to follow Christ today than appears to have been the case before. Witnessing to him in modern life means a daily contest. As believers we are constantly exposed to pressures by modern society, which would compel us to conform to the standards of this secular age, substitute new priorities, restrict our aspirations at the risk of compromising our Christian conscience."
"Things abhorred a generation ago are now inscribed in the statute books of society. These are issues of the utmost gravity to which a simple answer cannot be given; neither are they answered by being ignored."
Similar to John Paul II, Archbishop Conti addressed his sermon to all the faithful but in a special way to the youth of the land. Such an outreach goes hand in hand with last week's nationwide Christian effort to ensure that Christian values were recognized and included in the new curriculum being designed for Scottish schools. This effort was enacted to combat a bitter campaign by secularists to eliminate faith-based education on the grounds that it is divisive.
This is not the first time that Archbishop Conti has taken a public stand for orthodoxy over the secular forces of his country. Just last year the Archbishop openly defended the Scottish firefighters who were penalized for refusing to hand out pamphlets at a Pride Event.
In 2003, the archbishop wrote a newspaper column on Remembrance Day commemorating the heroic sacrifice of the men and women who gave their life for their country in war. He also wrote, "However, I cannot refrain from pointing out that another loss continues, every day of the week in our land, a sacrifice of silent victims: The victims of abortion."