Christmas Message to Scouts

World Scout BadgeThe good news that the holy angels first told to the shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem over two thousand years ago, is still the greatest story to be told.

Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

The Scout Movement spreads a message of peace across the world as it was asked to do by its Founder, Robert Baden-Powell OM,

To-day I send you out from Arrowe to all the world, bearing my symbol of Peace and Fellowship, each one of you my ambassador, bearing my message of Love and Fellowship on the wings of Sacrifice and Service, to the ends of the world. From now on the Scout Symbol of peace is the Golden Arrow. Carry it fast and far that all men may know the Brotherhood of Man”—B.-P. Scouting for Boys, Camp Fire Yarn No. 28.

Scouts all over the world are taking part in the Scout Messengers of Peace programme as part of the Movement’s aim to ‘Create a Better World’.

AMOP_enll over the world, Scouts are running projects that help people. They solve conflicts in school by preventing bullying, lead peer education programs, help the poor and the hungry, create solutions to environmental problems, and run countless other service projects. Messengers of Peace is the initiative that brings all of this work together.

As we continue to celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace and to follow His teaching, my brother Priests in the Fraternity and I pray that all Scouts and those connected to them have a happy and blessed Christmas and that the Peace of the newborn Christ Child will descend upon all and remain with us all throughout the year.

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“more fraternal than authoritative”: an epistle to the Corinthians

When we hear of an Epistle to the Corinthians, most people will instinctively think of the St Paul the Apostle’s Epistles that are in the Canon of the New Testament, however epistles were being sent from many early Christian leaders to each other all over the known Christian world. This continues to this day, in each diocese all over the world, bishops can and do send pastoral letters to their flocks.

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Clement I, Bishop of Rome and Martyr. While many will regard a letter issued by him to be a letter with the authority of a Pope as the Roman Church understands that authority now, this may not be the case. It has been suggested by some scholars that St Clement’s epistle was “more fraternal than authoritative” – that is that he was not necessarily claiming that Rome was anything other than primus inter pares (first among equals). This is often the position that those of us who are independent Catholics find ourselves adopting or believing. We acknowledge the position of the Holy Father, Benedict ⅩⅥ, but we take his words as we would take the words of another bishop.  Continue reading