CARFIN, Scotland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Scottish bishops will consecrate Scotland and the Scottish Church this Sunday to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Forty days of spiritual preparation for clerics and laity is culminating September 3 in a most solemn consecration of Scotland's Church and country. Speaking Wednesday on this historic event from his cathedral in the Paisley diocese, Bp. John Keenan explained the bishops were simply responding to the incessant requests by the laity for them to consecrate their country to Mary's Immaculate Heart. "The background to this was repeated insistent requests of the laity, of the ordinary people, of Scotland that we consecrate Scotland to Our Lady," said Bp. Keenan.
He stressed that each year the laity would send a petition to the Scottish bishops' conference to make the consecration. "Well this bishops' conference decided that it would be appropriate to do so because we have reached the centenary of Fatima, he said.
The bishop explained that the consecration of the country, that would occur on Sunday at the Marian shrine in Carfin, Scotland, would impact the nation's uncertain future. The question of Scotland's future, he noted, was "much more than a political question." It was essentially a "spiritual question" as her problems were "deeper than the ability of politicians to answer." He related that spiritual answers were needed for the nation's spiritual problems and such answers could only come from spiritual leaders. His hope is that this consecration would bring the grace to inspire such leaders to step forward, which would result in the country's being "reconstituted on Jesus Christ and on the Gospel."
The consecration was also for the Scottish Church to bring about its conversion from secularism, consumerism, materialism and relativism, he said. "The consecration to Our Lady is to bring about the conversion of the Church in Scotland. ... Our people are secularized, our people are attracted by material things."
The problems in Scotland, said the bishop, were not merely a problem attachment to material things but more so a problem of worldly ideas making inroads into the hearts of the faithful. He's hoping the consecration will inspire Catholics to wage war against such ideas so prevalent in the culture. "What we're asking Our Lady to do as we consecrate ourselves to her is to bring about the conversion of the Catholic Church in Scotland, to see that we turn away from worldly views and worldly ways," said Bp. Keenan.
When Mary is at the heart of Catholic devotion then Jesus would be at the center of Catholic life, he said. "We can then go out into our country and really engage in the battle. There's a battle going on in Scotland just now, a battle of ideas, which is really a battle for hearts and minds and lives of people. He listed three crucial subjects over which this battle was fought:
This consecration was made most solemn by forty days of spiritual preparation by clerics and laity leading up to it. Days were set aside for fasting and abstinence. Every day was set aside for special prayers. On Saturday night, there'll be a prayer vigil to beseech the Blessed Mother to hear the consecration and present it to her Son. On Sunday, the bishops themselves will hear confessions Holy Mass will be offered followed by the consecration, which is made by all the bishops.
Bishop Keenan said this is Scotland's moment. He was most thankful to the laity for their part in calling for the consecration. "Congratulation to the lay faithful," said Bp. Keenan and "for their devotion to Our Lady" and for their continued desire to consecrate their country, which "was put in their heart by the Blessed Mother."