The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has endorsed the historic agreement between the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church, proposing it be named the ‘St Margaret Declaration’.
The declaration, which committed to a ‘decisive and irrevocable statement’ of friendship, had already been approved by the Bishops Conference of Scotland.
Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrew’s & Edinburgh welcomed the name suggestion on behalf of the Bishop’s Conference, noting his personal admiration for St Margaret.
Archbishop Cushley called the declaration ‘a consciously new approach to ecumenism, an attempt to re-imagine the path of Christian unity.’
“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,” he said.
“Do I expect our two old institutions to be perfectly aligned and united any time soon? I suspect that may be a task for another generation.
“Nevertheless, I believe that by acknowledging all the good that we hold in common, we can walk and pray together as friends, deepen our affective unity, and be a more authentic Christian witness in the land. The rest will come in God’s good time.”
In a conversation with Archbishop Cushley ahead of the General Assembly, Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields said he ‘grew up in a very divided Scottish Society’ and was ‘a product of that divided society’.
“I didn’t understand why it was divided, but it was that society has changed immensely over the last 50 – 60 years and I think this is indicative of not us catching up with society, but as affirming together something that is fundamentally important to us, to our faith together, and hopefully to Scottish society,” he said.
“I would want people in Scottish society to look at the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church and to take away one of those excuses I’ve often heard – ‘well, if you’re agin [against] one another, what’s it all about? Well, we’re not.
“This is a Declaration of Friendship between us and I hope that that would say something powerful to the non-Christian constituency of Scottish society.”