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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Cardinal points to use of prayer
Cardinal Keith O'Brien
Cardinal Keith O'Brien called for religious solidarity
Scotland's Catholic leader has urged the country to celebrate its different faiths and include prayer in schools.

During his address to the Church of Scotland's General Assembly, Cardinal Keith O'Brien called on all denominations to embrace Christianity.

He also used his speech to call for an end to global warfare and to help asylum seekers.

Remembering Scotland's patron saint, St Andrew, is also important, the cardinal told the assembly.

Cardinal O'Brien, who is archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, was promoted by Pope John Paul II at a ceremony in the Vatican last October.

We must ensure that relationship to God in prayer is at the root of everything which goes on in our schools, Catholic and non-denominational
Cardinal Keith O'Brien
He told the Kirk: "We must go back to both the teaching and the praying example of the Christian Church down through the centuries when Scotland was indeed very much a Christian country.

"If we are to be truly in communion with each other, we should celebrate our difference and the richness they bring.

"I think we must reach out also from our Christian gatherings to those of other faiths."

The cardinal said no-one would forget the tragic events of the terrorist attacks in New York on 11 September 2001.

'A praying people'

"Sometime after that, I was with other Christian leaders and other peoples of good faith in a mosque in Edinburgh," he said.

"We united in prayer with our Muslim friends, realising that we were all creatures of an all-powerful creator and we needed the solidarity of one another."

He called on the assembly to support him in urging Scots to be "a praying people".

"We must ensure that relationship to God in prayer is at the root of everything which goes on in our schools, Catholic and non-denominational.

"We must be aware that our peoples celebrate the great Christian festivals as of old, especially Christmas and Easter and remembering also the feast days of our great saints, especially St Andrew, our Patron."

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