Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,visited Scotland 14-16th June 2013 to deliver the prestigious Cardinal Winning Lecture at the University of Glasgow.
The Archbishop who heads the Vatican department charged with promoting and safeguarding Catholic doctrine has a long standing relationship with Scotland and has visited many times. For ten years he was Bishop of Regensburg, which is twinned with Aberdeen, and has visited as the guest of both Bishops Conti and Moran on a number of occasions. Prior to delivering the lecture, he visited a Catholic Primary School, delivered a spiritual reflection to clergy and celebrated Mass in St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow.
Pope Francis asked Archbishop Müller to convey his “greetings to Catholic teachers and to those preparing them at Glasgow University and good wishes for the success of the Saint Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic teacher education.” The Pope also asked the Archbishop to “greet warmly all the Catholics of Scotland, especially the priests whom you will meet during your visit. Aware of recent challenges and of the crosses they have patiently borne.” (see letter attached)
In the course of his lecture at the University of Glasgow, Archbishop Müller said: “It is opportune at this present moment, amidst the rapidly changing state of society, of higher education generally and also of the Church, to reflect on the nature and distinctiveness of Catholic Education and on the challenges it both faces and also presents.”
He proposed that: “the State has the duty and responsibility to facilitate the wishes of Catholic parents to educate their children according to their desire to pass on their faith to their children.”
Commenting on the, “overarching secular tone of society today” and a “growing acceptance of a relativist stance with regard to truth and morality”, Archbishop Müller warned against the assumption that “human freedom essentially entails creating one’s own truth and moral good.” Adding that there are “logical absurdities in the relativists position: first – in asserting as absolutely true that there is no absolute truth; second – in maintaining that each person’s truth is as valuable as another’s; and third – in asserting that each person’s morality is as good as the other’s. The first represents the collapse of reason; the second and third, if pursued to their logical conclusion, would lead to the breakdown of society.”
Archbishop Müller concluded that, “In the midst of so many diverse and at times bewildering versions of educational aims and processes, the Church has a rich and vital vision to proclaim.” Adding; “May this new Institute play an important role in the study of this vision, its dissemination for the formation of Catholic teachers, and support of the schools in which this vision becomes realised.”
Scottish Catholic Media Office, Thursday 13 June 2013