*** DEBUG END ***

Kirks and Roman Catholic Scots celebrate their common heritage

27 May 2022

Ecumenical friendship marked with the St Margaret Declaration

Church of Scotland

The RC Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Leo Cushley (left), shakes hands with the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Revd Dr Iain Greenshields, at the meeting in Edinburgh on Tuesday

The RC Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Leo Cushley (left), shakes hands with the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Revd Dr Ia...

THE General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has agreed to endorse the St Margaret Declaration — an ecumenical statement of friendship with the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland.

The declaration, which had already been approved by the RC Bishops’ Conference in Scotland, was welcomed by members of the Kirk General Assembly meeting in Edinburgh on Tuesday. A similar statement of unity between the Kirk and the Scottish Episcopal Church, the St Andrew’s Declaration, was signed last year (News, 3 December 2021).

The St Margaret Declaration recognises the joint ministry of the two Churches and the ecumenical work that has been done “to repair what was broken and to restore mutual respect and friendship”. It also celebrates the shared beliefs and faith of the two Churches, and their common heritage.

On past divisions, it says: “We repent and ask forgiveness of one other. We also recognise that, even in more recent times, much could have been said between us more kindly, written more magnanimously, and done more charitably, to promote pardon and healing and friendship among Christians in our land.”

While some disagreement remains, it promises “to commit ourselves to continuing our pilgrimage towards greater unity. . . We therefore pledge ourselves to live as sisters and brothers in Christ, in public and in private, in life and in mission; to pray with each other and for each other; to be good neighbours, both to each other and to all people among whom we live, of all faiths and none; and to work together for the common good of the nation, as it is given to us to see it.”

The Convener of the Ecumenical Relations Committee, the Revd Alexander Horsburgh, told the General Assembly: “We are declaring a friendship which already exists, which has existed for a long time, and we want everyone to know about it and understand it. By saying out loud that the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church in Scotland are friends, we contribute to changing, not only the narrative of our Churches, but the narrative of our country too. There is no going back.”

The RC Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Cardinal Leo Cushley, who named the Declaration after the 11th-century Scottish queen venerated for her missionary Christian faith, said: “Instead of listing our problems and points of friction or grievance, old or new, the Declaration chooses to focus on what we have in common, and to underline that we treasure and hold, together, so much that is inspiring, ancient, and profound.”

On Monday, the General Assembly voted to allow its ministers and deacons to marry same-sex couples in church.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available


Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)