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March 5, 2018 (The Christian Institute) – The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has criticised Government-backed moves to criminalise parents who smack their own children.

It warned against the state interfering in family life and noted the ban is overwhelmingly opposed by the public.

The Scottish Government has already said it will “ensure” a Member's Bill that seeks to ban reasonable chastisement – put forward by Green MSP John Finnie – becomes law.

State interference

Anthony Horan, Director of the Roman Catholic Parliamentary Office, said: “It is not the role of the state to interfere in how parents go about building a strong relationship with their children, except in the most exceptional circumstances.”

“Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights is relevant to the debate on criminalising parents for disciplining their children.

“It states that everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”, he added.

Public opposition

Horan went on to cite a recent ComRes poll for the Be Reasonable Scotland campaign, which showed strong opposition to outlawing smacking.

The poll of more than 1,000 Scottish adults found that three in four of those questioned thought smacking should not be made a criminal offence.


For more information on the campaign, which is being backed by The Christian Institute and the Family Education Trust, visit Be Reasonable Scotland's website.


The Roman Catholic Church's defence of parental freedom was attacked by Scotland's Children and Young People's Commissioner, Bruce Adamson.

And, despite the results of the Be Reasonable poll, a spokesman for the Scottish Government claimed that a smacking ban was “something backed by an overwhelming majority of public opinion”.

Published with permission from The Christian Institute.