My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

If slogans could change the world then the world would indeed be a
better place.

In the midst of the covid pandemic we heard the slogan: Build Back
Better. Expressing the desire that, when we come out of this, we don’t
want to go back to the way things used to be, but we want to make
the world a better place. Many charitable organisations prefer the
slogan: a Just and Green Recovery. A reminder that, for a better
world to be achieved, all people need to be treated justly and fairly.
“Green”, of course, reminds us that the environmental crisis we faced
before covid still remains to be dealt with.

In order to overcome the coronavirus we have had to make changes
to our lifestyle which a year ago we would not have thought possible.
Now, as we work for a better future, we have to recognise that the
way we have lived our life in the past has to change, if we are to see
that people are treated with justice and that the world we live in is
treated with care.

As we begin a new year and as we celebrate the day of prayer for
justice and peace, we need to ask ourselves: how prepared are we to
make the changes necessary to our own lifestyle? Otherwise our
desire for a better world remains but a wish. Society cannot live the
way it lived before and expect that the hungry will be fed, that the
homeless will be housed, that refugees will be welcomed, that
weapons of war will be put aside, that grievances will be settled by
discussion, and that peoples and nations will live in peace. And, of

Today is a day of prayer, for we need to pray. For the better world
begins in each of our hearts. May God touch our hearts and deepen
our love for the brother and sister we do not know and have not met,
yet who needs our help. May God help us appreciate the gift of
creation that he has given us. A gift to be shared by all God’s
children, whether in this generation or in generations to come.
Many people in Scotland are engaged in the work of justice and
peace because they recognise that to change the world for the better
is not a solo effort – we need to work together. We need to encourage
others, including those who govern our country, to be concerned for
the welfare of all our brothers and sisters and to be committed to look
after our common home. We need to encourage by our word, but
above all by our example, so that together we do build that better, just
and green world.

With my prayers and best wishes for peace and justice in the coming
year,

+William Nolan
Bishop of Galloway

President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

Justice and Peace Commission

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