Faith and Politics: Speaking Truth Unto Power
Laura Seggie to Scottish Parliament, 13 May 2014
Presiding Officer, Members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for your kind invitation to address you today.
At this time of year, many of my fellow students face important exams determining their future. However, through my experiences at Strathclyde University’s Catholic Chaplaincy, I have found that not only do these young people rely on books and endless hours of studying in order to pass their exams, but increasingly they also look for spiritual support.
Through my involvement at the chaplaincy and other youth groups, I have witnessed a great deal of young people embrace their faith despite social pressures. This faith journey is one that does require a great deal of courage, since at times religious faith is portrayed as something negative. But it is a journey which brings so much joy and meaning to people’s lives.
A recent message from Pope Francis resonated with my experience. Using Twitter he said: “It is not easy to follow Jesus closely, because the path he chooses is the way of the cross.”
So often we find that in some way or another everyone has a cross to bear, be it poverty, loneliness or illness; and central to the Christian message is that we should have a willingness to help people with their cross. For many of us we bear our cross for the sake of serving those around us, and being as Christ to them. So much of the work of political life is in fact taking the problems of others on your own shoulders.
That spirit of service for the common good is the heart of the Christian message. It means loving God and treating others as we would wish to be treated ourselves.
I am therefore convinced that Scotland still has much to benefit from the Christian faith. My hope for the future is that more people do find the courage to embrace and express their faith.
And I hope that you, as members of our Scottish Parliament, continue to show courage in the decisions that you make to legislate for the people of Scotland. Be assured that you are in the prayers of Christians nationwide.
Finally, I would like to end with the words of St John Paul II:
True holiness does not mean a flight
from the world; rather, it lies in the effort
to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life,
in the family, at school and at work,
and in social and political involvement.