First Minister Alex Salmond
Cardinal Winning Education Lecture
University of Glasgow, Saturday, February 2, 2008
Your Eminence, Your Grace, My Lords, Reverend Fathers, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honour to be invited to deliver this year’s Cardinal Winning Lecture. I am also delighted to be able to join you in your celebration of Catholic Education Week.
Education is at the heart of your work and your mission as a Church. And it is the foundation of my Government’s mission to build a modern, compassionate and just society in Scotland. A society where we not only meet our immediate needs, but ensure that all can share in the benefits of prosperity. And a Scotland that is ever conscious of its global responsibilities – promoting peace, supporting international development and protecting our environment. Building this society and instilling these values in our population requires the highest standards of teaching in our education system – and a strong ethical dimension.
Tribute to Cardinal Winning
Cardinal Winning devoted his life to creating this society and community – not just within Scotland, but globally. Education was at the heart of his work. In his thirties Tom Winning went to Rome as the spiritual director for the Scottish College, and also gained his doctorate in Canon Law.
As an archbishop and latterly as Cardinal, Thomas Winning was President of the Commission for Catholic Education from 1977 until his death in 2001. And during this time there was no better or more passionate advocate for the role and values of Catholic education within Scottish society. Archbishop Winning’s outstanding contribution to the Church was rightly recognised when, in 1994, he was elevated to Cardinal – becoming only Scotland’s second Cardinal since the Reformation. Those of us who knew Thomas Winning would remember not the ceremony for his elevation – but the delighted, streetwise manner with which he accepted it.
And I have a particularly happy memory of a BBC programme showing the new Cardinal anxiously listening to commentary of the League Cup Final – Celtic were playing Raith Rovers – and assuring reporters that his appointment could only help Paul McStay’s ability to score a penalty. I believe I am correct in saying that while papal infallibility is assured, the doctrine of the Church says much less about the infallibility of Cardinals. And even less about the infallibility of Paul McStay!
I also recall that having fought hard for the creation of a Scottish Parliament, Tom was not overly impressed by its early track record. Having been invited for lunch at The Oaks, I recall Tom’s sceptical look at the bottle of Scottish Parliament Whisky I had brought with me.
“Why have you brought that?”, he asked. “So that you can say that something good has come out of the Scottish Parliament after all.”
Thomas Winning was ably succeeded by Mario Conti as Archbishop of Glasgow, and by Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien. And Cardinal O’Brien has told me that his elevation proves that – in one respect at least – Scottish Cardinals are like buses. One has to wait for four hundred years, only to have three arrive in succession!