Faith and freedom. 1500 years of catholic Scotland


‘This exhibition centres in a clear and well-documented manner on the various stages in the life of the Church in Scotland and on the Scottish people; a story of faith and freedom, of cultural testimony and martyrdom. 1998 marks an anniversary, the 400th of the birth of Sir Oliver Cromwell. What is more, in recent years interest for Scotland has been on the increase – cultural, historical, artistic, tourist and political interest. An increasingly more common subject of conversation is that of Celtic cultures and nations. Little is however really known about this country whose history is marked by a long struggle for freedom against centuries of expansion by its powerful English neighbour, but above all by a struggle for the defence of its own cultural and religious identity against centuries of persecution: Libertas Scotiae et Libertas Ecclesiae. Scotland, a country already defined when the Romans invaded Britain, gave Europe many of its evangelising monks during the Middle-Ages, theologians like Duns Scotus and Richard of Saint-Victor, crusader knights who for centuries left the mists of the highlands to answer the Pope’s appeal and risk their lives on the burning sands of Palestine. Scotland was also among the first countries to experience religious persecution, the essential aim of which was the destruction of the Libertas Ecclesiae; ever since, each revolution, each attempt at establishing a totalitarian and arbitrary regime would make those same persecutory attitudes its own. The enemy is always the Libertas Ecclesiae because wherever the Church is free, free to carry out its mission – to move with Christ towards mankind – so human beings are inevitably free: ‘Truth will make you free’. The exhibition unwinds along a journey that goes from the first evangelisation of Scotland right up to the rebirth (in the second part of last century) of a Scottish cultural and religious identity, represented by two symbolic events: the Pope’s visit in 1982 and the recent referendum on independence. Amid these two events are centuries often marked by persecution and martyrdom (like that of the Jesuit John Ogilvie): from the ferocious Calvinism of the preacher John Knox to Cromwell’s “utopian Republic” project; from the Jacobean uprisings to the deportation of Catholic clans to Canada and Australia. The exhibition also gives an implicit answer to all those schools of anti-Christian thought (above all New Age) which, through a partial and deformed reinterpretation of the reality of the Celtic people tend to separate their culture from their Catholic identity.’


23 Agosto 1998 - 29 Agosto 1998


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions