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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Specialis Filia Romanae Ecclesiae


Scotland, so dear to the Holy See, and in a special manner to Us, has its place in Our care and solicitude... We have constantly sought to promote the welfare of your nation, which is naturally inclined to embrace the truth. The terrible storm which swept over the Church in the sixteenth century, deprived the vast majority of the Scottish people, as well as many other peoples of Europe, of that Catholic Faith which they had gloriously held for over one thousand years. It is most pleasing to Us to revert to the great achievements of your forefathers on behalf of Catholicism, and also to allude to some of those, and they are many, to whose virtue and illustrious deeds Scotland owes so much of her renown… This was the faith of St. Columba; this was the faith kept so religiously and preached so zealously by the monks of old, whose chief centre, alone, was rendered famous by their eminent virtues. Need We mention Queen Margaret, a light and ornament not only of Scotland, but of the whole of Christendom, who, though she occupied the most exalted position in point of worldly dignity, sought only in her whole life things eternal and divine, and thus spread throughout the Church the luster of her virtues? There can be no doubt she owed this her eminent sanctity to the influence and guidance of the Catholic Faith. And did not the power and constancy of the Catholic faith give to Wallace and Bruce, the two great heroes of your race, their indomitable courage in defence of their country? We say nothing of the immense number of those who achieved so much for the commonwealth, and who belong to that progeny which the Catholic Church has never ceased to bring forth. We say nothing of the advantages which your nation has derived from her influence. It is undeniable that it was through her wisdom and authority that those famous seats of learning were opened at St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, and that your judicial system was drawn up and adopted. Hence We can well understand why Scotland has been honoured by the title of "Special Daughter of the Holy See."