Catholic priest attacked in ‘modern, progressive, tolerant Scotland’

Catholic priest attacked in ‘modern, progressive, tolerant Scotland’

GLASGOW, Scotland, July 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Following an attack on a Catholic priest last weekend, the Archbishop of Glasgow will meet with the Scottish government to discuss the anti-Catholic hate crime.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and Anthony Horan, director of the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office, will meet Humza Yousef, Holyrood’s cabinet secretary for justice later this month.

On Saturday at approximately 5:20 p.m. after an early vigil Mass at Glasgow’s St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, Canon Tom White and some members of his congregation were subjected to anti-Catholic abuse as a parade of the Orange Order walked past.

The Orange Order is a worldwide organization formed to celebrate British Protestant religion and heritage. Long associated with anti-Catholic feeling, it celebrates the victory of the Protestant King William of Orange over the Catholic King James II of England at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Parades or “walks” with marching bands are central to the festivities, which take place throughout July.

Canon White told the BBC that, while it was customary for the Orange Order bands to stop playing when they pass places of worship, the silence outside St. Alphonsus was filled with anti-Catholic chants. When police officers accompanying the march were called away, the priests and other Catholics leaving Mass were left defenseless.

“They were called to another incident in Kent Street and it left myself and the parishioners vulnerable to an escalating incident which at that point I was enduring verbal assaults – Fenian scum, and worse, I was being called a beast and a pedophile,” White stated.

Someone spat on the priest, and when he turned around, his attacker spat in his eye.

According to a Facebook statement by the Archdiocese of Glasgow, White was “then further insulted and lunged at by a man carrying a pole before police arrived to restore some kind of order.”

“What kind of society is it that allows ministers of religion and churchgoers to be intimidated and attacked by a group which has a long history of fomenting fear and anxiety on city streets?” the Archdiocese demanded. “Why is the Orange Order still allowed to schedule its intimidating parades on streets containing Catholic Churches at times when people are trying to get in and out for Mass?”

The Orange Order denied responsibility, saying the young men involved were not part of their parade.

The attack has been condemned by members of all Scotland’s political parties and 75,000 people have signed a petition asking for an end to Orange marches in Glasgow. (More than 15,000 others have signed a petition asking that they continue). The petition will not be considered by Glasgow City Council, however, as it does not meet their “eligibility criteria.”

Anthony Horan of the SCPO released a statement saying the widespread condemnation of the attack on White was “heartening.”

“It is heartening to see so many people showing support and solidarity towards Canon Tom White and his congregation at St. Alphonsus Church in Glasgow,” he wrote. “Nobody should experience the vile abuse and violence directed towards them as they came out of Mass on Saturday evening during an Orange walk.”

He pointed out that anti-Catholic hate crime accounts for at least 50 percent of hate crimes in Scotland and is a “scourge on Scottish society.”

“ … This attack is not an isolated incident. Anti-Catholic behaviour is a sad reality of life in Scotland and, far from being a new problem, it is an age-old problem that just won’t go away,” Horan continued.

“In our so-called modern, progressive, tolerant Scotland, we have witnessed the desecration of a Catholic Church in Coatbridge, a priest and his congregation attacked as they came out of Mass in Fife, and the words ‘Kill all Catholics’ emblazoned on an iconic Glasgow bridge. These, and the attack on Canon White, are all examples of life in contemporary Scotland. They are not a throwback to the ’70s or ’80s. It is Scotland, here and now.”

The Scottish government has so far refused to acknowledge that anti-Catholic violence is a specific problem in Scotland, preferring to sweep the issue into a catch-all file marked “sectarianism” and to focus on churchgoers. In Scotland, 42 percent of churchgoers are over age 65.

Several more Orange parades are expected to march past Catholic churches in Glasgow this month. The next is scheduled to pass St. Alphonsus Catholic Church on Saturday, July 21.

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2 comments on “Catholic priest attacked in ‘modern, progressive, tolerant Scotland’

  1. Scotland politician: Gov’t must intervene to curb rising anti-Catholic ‘hate-crime’


    Police in Scotland launched a probe in February 2018 after ‘We Hate Catholics’ graffiti was found on a factory wall in Glasgow.

    Dorothy Cummings McLean

    EDINBURGH, March 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Member of Scottish Parliament is demanding more be done to protect Catholics after a report revealed that they bear the brunt of religiously-motivated hate crimes in Scotland.

    Roman Catholics comprise only 15 percent of the Scottish population but suffer 57 percent of all religion-motivated hate crimes.

    On March 15, Elaine Smith, the MSP for Central Scotland, outlined to Holyrood, Scotland’s devolved parliament, how Roman Catholics are being targeted more than any other religious group.

    Smith raised the issue during General Question Time after another MSP asked the Scottish government what it was doing to combat “sectarian-related hate crime.” Fulton McGregor, the member for Coatbridge, reminded the Minister for Safety and Community Affairs that the Blessed Sacrament had recently been “vandalised” in a Roman Catholic church in his constituency.

    Smith underscored that it is anti-Catholicism, not even-handed sectarianism, that is the problem in Scotland.

    “Is the minister aware that, although successive Scottish Governments have put significant resources into tackling the symptoms of sectarianism, there has been an increase in religious hate crime during that period,” she said, “with the latest figures showing that Roman Catholics were subject to more attacks than all other religious groups combined, and that that is an increasing trend?”

    Smith quoted Archbishop Tartaglia’s assertion that “our problem is not so much sectarianism as anti-Catholicism”, and asked what “targeted action” the Minister would take to “specifically address” discrimination against Catholics in Scotland.

    ‘No appetite for acknowledging the problem of anti-Catholicism’
    Peter Kearney of the Scottish Catholic Media Office told LifeSiteNews that he and other Catholics had raised these points many times with the government, but haven’t had a response.

    “There’s no appetite for acknowledging the problem of anti-Catholicism,” Kearney said.

    He said that the government’s refusal to target a specific problem was in stark contrast to other policies hoping to change public behavior. For example, the Scottish government doesn’t ask residents to “have good health”; it targets specific problems like smoking or drinking. Similarly, the police are not content just to ask people to drive safely; they target specific dangerous practices, like texting while driving.

    “Religious hate crimes are the exception,” Kearney said. The specific and very real problem of anti-Catholic hate crimes is blanketed by a general policy of anti-sectarianism.

    Urge Pope Francis to stand with persecuted Catholics in China. Sign the petition here!

    Smith said the SNP Government should “go out to the Catholic population and listen to their concerns.”

    The Minister of Safety and Community Affairs Annabelle Ewing replied that the government took “religious bigotry” very seriously and would continue to work with churches, faith groups and “others” to tackle sectarianism.

    Ewing’s response suggested that she thinks “sectarianism” is still a problem among rival churchgoers. However, according to the most recent Scottish Churches Census, there are only about 390,000 regular churchgoers in Scotland, representing just 7.2% of Scotland’s population. Approximately 42% of them are over 65 years of age.

    “Interchurch relationships in Scotland are extremely good,” Peter Kearney told LifeSiteNews. He doubts the perpetrators of anti-Catholic attacks ever attend church. However, he says he has very little evidence of the motivations of the perpetrators.

    Speaking anecdotally, Kearney said he believes that “residual identities are being misused.” Scotland suffers from the legacy of anti-Catholicism, which dates back to the banning of the faith during the Protestant Reformation, he said. Kearney compared this legacy to the legacy of American slavery, which was banned in the nineteenth century but whose effects can still be seen today.

    Scotland’s Shame
    Although their religion was decriminalized in the 1780s, the Catholic minority was marginalized in Scotland for the next two hundred years. When Irish migrants arrived in large numbers, tensions between Catholic and Protestants exacerbated. Until late into the 20th century, Catholics were very often denied professional advancement in white-collar careers and in established businesses because of their religious background.

    James MacMillan, a famous Scottish composer, openly denounced historical anti-Catholicism when he helped reopen Scotland’s Parliament in 1999. Popularly known as “Scotland’s Shame,” the speech failed to solve the problem of residual anti-Catholicism.

    Scotland’s football fans, particularly in Glasgow, have served as the Scottish government’s scapegoats for sectarianism, in part because of rivalries between historically “Catholic” and “Protestant” soccer clubs. However, soccer rivalries are involved in only 15% of anti-Catholic attacks. And, as Kearney pointed out to LifeSiteNews, Scottish anti-Catholicism predates football clubs by hundreds of years.

    Kearney said that official statistics on anti-Catholic hate crimes are “only the tip of an intolerance iceberg.”

  2. Horrendous. Nevertheless, my own correspondence with one Scot trad (not on AQ) taught me that these Highlanders can be an egregiously coarse lot, on both sides of the religious divide.
    He “unfriended” me years ago after I objected to some needlessly tendentious statement that, if I recall, he himself did not even make! Just as well. If one must actually need to talk oneself into trying to be a social media “friend” with anyone every other time he posts, it’s time to move on, anyway.
    Regrets to Canon White and others beset by the Orange beasts.

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