The CMRS, Conference of Major Religious Superiors in Scotland, was established in 1958.
The general purpose of the Conference is:
- To promote the welfare of Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life in Scotland while respecting the autonomy, nature and spirit of each.
- To effect a closer co-operation with one another, with the Conference of Bishops and with other organisations whose missions seeks to foster Consecrated Life in the Church.
To provide a proper and official representation with constituted authorities both ecclesiastical and civil.
Throughout the years communication, collaboration and mutual respect have been seen as priorities. There have also, over the years, been varied responses to the needs of the times. These include:
- Active involvement in the first discussions on the question of ecumenism. Abbot Mulcahy the first President, was one of the imitators of the ecumenical movement in Scotland.
- Organising regular meetings of religious for prayer and reflection.
- Supporting the establishment of a Counselling Service under the leadership of Fr James Christie SJ
The organisation of the Conference has always presented a challenge. Although Scotland has its own Episcopal Conference and its own distinctive pastoral characteristic, the majority of Religious orders do not have a Scottish province or major Superior resident in Scotland.
Throughout the years various attempts have been made to address the difficulties of this situation including:
Revision of Statutes in 1996 – Conference now known as the Conference of Religious in Scotland (CRS)
Discussion on possibility of becoming an Association of Religious in Scotland in preference to a Conference of Religious.
A proposal was presented to the Holy See but, where a country has an Episcopal Conference, it is necessary to also have a Conference of Religious.
2005 Annual Meeting– STARTING AFRESH- re-launching of Conference.
Today the CRS has a membership of 70 delegates representing their respective religious congregations. It is felt that in the context of changes in the Church and Scottish political life the aims of the CRS formulated in 1958 are still very relevant for our life in ministry in Scotland today.