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The “Reformation Parliament” met in Edinburgh and made the celebration of Mass in Scotland illegal; the pilgrimages which had been such a significant part of life were also forbidden; priests were not allowed to be in the country at all. These and similar measures introduced over the next 150 years were known to Catholics as the Penal Laws. How had such a revolutionary change come about in our country whose unity had been strengthened by the unity of Faith? New ideas about religion had been arising on the continent and came quite late to Scotland. Some were in reaction to abuses in the Church which were not being dealt with effectively. Some were a way of watering down beliefs or practices which some found too difficult to explain: the Eucharistic Real Presence, the place of Our Lady in the life of the Church, the authority of the Successor of St. Peter, priestly celibacy and others. The wealth and power of the Church in Scotland, which had been responsibly accrued as an unintended consequence of its hard work, aroused jealousy and greed. The photo is of St. Andrews Cathedral, an outstanding building known throughout Europe, which became a victim of the Reformation.

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