By Lydia O’Kane
On the occasion of the opening of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Discernment, Scottish Bishops, John Keenan, Brian McGee and William Nolan on Tuesday paid a visit to the Dicastery for Communications. This visit followed last week’s meeting with Pope Francis which covered a number of themes including nuclear disarmament and the safeguarding of minors.
Safeguarding of Minors
Speaking about their recent Ad Limina visit, Bishop John Keenan of Paisley noted that the first theme that was raised with the Pope was that of the safeguarding of minors. “It is an issue so important; so dear and for us as Scottish Bishops has been for the last number of years and we wanted to point out to the Holy Father, we had worked ever so hard, from the heart to try to ensure that there was a culture where children and young people and minors felt safe in the Church,” he said.
Synod on Youth
One of the key themes of this Synod on Youth is that of vocational discernment. Asked whether the sexual abuse crisis is having an effect on vocations and if the faith of young people is strong despite the Church’s trials, Bishop Keenan said, that certainly, the issue of the sexual abuse scandal will be there at the Synod. “It’s there in the broader sense of how trustworthy is the Church, and trust is something which is so important for young people”.
In an age of technology and social media, the Bishop pointed out that young people are looking for a Church that is close to them. “I think if we can be friends of the young people, be close to them, be friends, fathers, brothers, it’s in that context that we can lead them to Christ who is the real friend that they seek and that they need.”