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John Peter Photography
Scotland Assembly.jpg
John Peter Photography

Church of Scotland apologises for 'witch' trials

by Sophie Drew

The Church of Scotland has apologised for capturing and burning supposed witches from the 16th to 18th century. 

Although the persecution took place hundreds of years ago, the Kirk has now issued an apology as part of the General Assembly meeting this week. 

The Scottish Government previously addressed the matter, apologising for partaking in the renaissance torture. 

The attacks disproportionately affected women, and the church now recognises that some may have been showing signs of dementia or mental illness, instead of meddling in witchcraft. 

Rev Dr Sue Brown is the former minister of Dornoch Cathedral - the last place to see a "witch" trialled.

Now the converner of the Faith Impact Forum, Rev Brown supports the apology, saying it's only from recognising our past failures that we can improve. 

She said: "It's really accepting that we are recognising that the way we treat our people needs continually to be carefully done.

"So that we respect, and treat with dignity, those who share this world with us and we didn't do that - we failed to do that in the past - and by recognising that we're committing to, in the present and in the future, doing our best not to fall into the same trap.

She continued: "The point of apologising is is not to revisit it, and there's nobody we can physically apologise to. 

"What we can apologise for, is the way that other people were treated, and we say 'we're Christians and yet we didn't treat people with respect and dignity. 

"We didn't love them as Christ calls us to love them.

"That needs to be said clearly in order to ensure, as Christians, that we do as Jesus asks us, which is to love our neighbours."

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