Friday, 22 February 2013

His Grace Archbishop Philip Tartaglia President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland


His Grace Archbishop Philip Tartaglia
President of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland

His Grace Bishop Philip Tartaglia

“I was very surprised, as we all were, to hear the news. My immediate thoughts were that I would miss him enormously. On a personal note he was the Pope who appointed me as a Bishop, first in Paisley and then last year he asked me to become Archbishop of Glasgow.

“While I was Bishop of Paisley, I had 15 minutes alone with him to present my five-yearly report on the life of the local Church and I remember being struck by his great kindness - he was so gentle and humble, preferring to listen to me rather than speak himself."

“When he came to Scotland, I had the privilege of seeing him off at Glasgow Airport. He was clearly pleased, and a little relieved I think, with the first day of his visit to Great Britain and he took my hand in his, and said, in Italian: “Si vede che quì laChiesa è viva” - It’s clear that the Church is alive here. That was as much aprogramme as it was a statement - we need to pray and work that the Church will be fully alive in Jesus Christ, for only He gives the Church true life."

“His contribution to the Universal Church was to turn us all towards the person of Jesus Christ in every circumstance. He did this in his homilies and addresses in the most insightful and thoughtful and creative of ways. He is, I believe, a latter-day Father of the Church in the footsteps of great saints like Irenaeus and Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine, and his writings will nourish hearts and minds for decades to come."

“As we look to the immediate future we recognise that this is an unprecedented time for the Church. No Pope has resigned since Celestine V in the 13th century. Pope Benedict will cease to be Bishop of Rome and Successor of St. Peter on 28thFebruary. He has indicated that he will dedicate himself to a life of prayer thereafter. We have no more detail on that, nor as to where and how it will happen. All we know is that God will continue to provide for His Church, as He always has. "

My prayer today is for Pope Benedict XVI and for the man who will succeed him, and I would ask all Catholics to join with me in that prayer. God bless our Pope.”

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